I have a great admiration for people who scratch a living by virtue of a special skill to make beautiful things out of wood or glass or even paper.
I have to give a special mention aswell for those who’s living depends on creating artisan bread or pretty cup cakes, and also those clever folks who can model marzipan or who are experts in sugar craft.
You’ll find them every week-end at Craft Fairs around the Country, patiently sitting behind a table, talking the talk to some boring people who have no intention of buying anything, but have simply come in, out of the rain.
One thing I can never understand is why you have to pay to enter a Craft Fair, because if you have paid a tenner to cross the threshold you might be less inclined to spend any more once you are in.
I have a sneaking regard too for farmers who turn out in all weathers, in order to cut out the middle man and produce their own brand of sausages or whatever. I have little time for farmers who grunt and moan about their lot due to over production, but make little effort to diversify.
There is a place in Norfolk called Wroxham Barns which is a kind of permanent Craft Centre which is made up of tiny units and workshops where clever people can showcase and sell there wares directly to you and me, although nowadays I’m sure they have developed a lucrative internet market aswell.
It was established as far back as 1983. It used to be a working farm, and in fact in the Gents Loo there are some photo’s above the urinals that show what it used to look like. I can’t say whether the Ladies are offered the same entertainment!
The good news is that it costs nothing to enter, parking is free, it is open 7 days a week, and as they say in their blurb “ It is great for kids and it’s great for grown ups”.
Since 1983 it has been a permanent shopping facility for different crafts, and today it has developed into a centre for family fun.
Among the most special craft units and among my favourites are Coastal Stained Glass, Tricia Francis Pottery and the Norfolk Cider Shop. (Surprise – Surprise).
The Gallery Gift Shop sells a selection of Chutneys, Preserves and Local Tipples, and Courtyard Confectionery persuaded my lad to part with a tenner for a three for two offer on some delicious home made fudge.
Wroxham Barns have recently added a Junior Farm, where the kiddies can groom and cuddle ponies Totty and Pepper. Collect eggs from the hen house and hand feed rabbits, goats, sheep, donkeys, pigs and hens.
Other recent kids attractions include ride on tractors, face painting, craft tables and a very special Piggy’s Play Sty for soft play for the very little ones.
For the more mature there are traditional fun fair rides and an 18 hole miniature golf course.
In addition to these lovely attractions, the Norfolk based Foolhardy Circus make seasonal appearances throughout the year.
I have been to Wroxham Barns several times over the last 10 years. Sometimes we will stay for hours. Other times we will stay for minutes. Either way, every time it is an interesting and enjoyable experience.