We walk across the parkland of Hatfield House estate and head towards a circle of marquees corralled around a field. I’ve enjoyed many craft fairs since moving to St Albans. As I never came to events like this while growing up in London, I find them fun to explore as they represent a slice of country life, a place where the community can share its gifts and talents.
It’s a bright and breezy day, I take in the festival atmosphere and breathe in the scent of freshly cut grass. There is a wide variety of merchandise from handmade teddy bears and leather-ware to ceramics and knitwear.
We enter the first tent. The sound of a wooden flute catches my attention and I’m drawn to a small crowd listening to music reminiscent of Native America. I think of an old school friend who reached Grade V for her flute playing at school and how she’d love to play this beautifully crafted piranha pine flute; I take the designer’s card.
It’s wonderful to have so many designers all in one space. A Chinese artist showcases his fine art prints of calligraphy, I admire the pretty strokes and swirls of the decorative ancient characters.
While trying on a selection of fascinators I am approached by the milliner who explains which style she thinks would suit me. The bold flamboyant Philip Treacy styles don’t work that well and we try on a variety of the smaller hats with feathers and netting. I find the perfect look for a wedding I’m going to in June.
The specialist food and drink stalls are a delight and I taste as many things as I can. The pork and leek sausages are amazing but so are the tomato and chilli ones. I let my husband decide, being a northerner he knows his sausages!
I’m drawn to the chocolate peanut butter. A guy next to me is all smiles as we dip into the butters with our crackers and have a taste; we end up chatting about which is our favourite. I’ve never tasted anything so delicious and whip out my purse and buy a jar.
We hear loud folkloric music and step outside to see lots of children dancing around a maypole, holding ribbons weaving in and out of each other as a pretty woven pattern forms around the pole. The sun has come out and we feel uplifted as we witness this rural celebration of the arrival of the Spring.
It’s been a relaxing afternoon. My husband has wandered off and is in deep conversation about marquetry so I step outside. I notice a sign “Throw a pot for £5.” I put on my apron introduce myself and the next thing I know I’m sitting at the potter’s wheel my hands covered in clay. It’s such fun and within minutes I have produced a perfect little pot. I look forward to decorating it with some bright red acrylic paint.