Miniatura was absolutely wonderful. I would have written about it sooner but the unexpected aftermath, nothing at all to do with the show, has floored me.
The OH, unpredictable and difficult, took himself off to Italy for a week, the week before the show. I had refused to go with him, precisely because of the unpredictable and difficult, so he booked the week months before and flounced off. He was met at the airport with valet parking, which he assumed would be available 24/7 upon his return.
On his first full day there he disturbed my considerable peace and quiet with a tale of the awful thing that occurred.
Arriving after a lengthy flight, upon being handed his room card key, he charged a couple of drinks or several to the room and then made his way upstairs to the room he had read off the card as 108, only to find the card would not work. Several passes failed to turn the light green and click the lock open. However an experimental push on the door opened it, revealing an elderly couple getting ready for dinner and wearing nothing.
The OH instantly slammed the door shut.
He then knocked gingerly upon it.
After a pause for pants the door was opened a crack –‘yes?’
‘What,’ demanded the OH, ‘are you doing in my room?’ (You do see now, don’t you, why I won’t go on holiday with him?)
An argument ensued, lengthy in nature, due to the OH never being wrong. He was, however, eventually persuaded by a semi-naked pensioner that the room card read ‘105’ and a flourish, though he did not believe this until he retrieved his spectacles, and, having done so used them to read the card himself. After speculation as to the nature of writing and hefty condemnation by himself of the writing skills of foreign hotel staff and – belatedly – an apology, he made his way to his room, number 105.
A mere week later, after the first day of the Min, Saturday night, when I had already gone to bed, I received another phone call. The parking people were not around and he had no way of getting his car, what was I going to do about it?
I fired up the computer to discover that all the help lines for the parking company shut for the weekend at four on Saturday.
We then enjoyed a spirited discussion and, as I am getting the wisdom that goes with the long ears, was adamant that I, halfway up the country, in my pyjamas, having survived a hard day of post-major-surgical working with the public, was not going to solve a problem for someone in London who had just had a ‘stuff you’ holiday, inadequately researched. (And when I look at the broken handled soup bowl that was my ‘gift from Puglia’, inadequately packed, too.)
I then went to bed.
So I did not see the OH until Sunday evening, when he emerged from the house in a plague mask, having tested positive for Covid, which I duly contracted three days later.
My throat is as sore as if I have been snacking on saw blades and I sit up all night coughing. Covid is quite a trial and you can see how easily it killed off the unvaccinated. Vaccinated it does not hold a candle to having half your intestines chopped off, no contest. And blessedly I did not have the opportunity to infect anyone at Miniatura, as the house redesign (by me) gave me and the OH separate bathrooms and bedrooms. If I were doing it again I’d have separate kitchens too and never have to start my morning with a pile of dirty dishes which I did not leave in the sink, and, obviously, without Covid smeared on the taps.
None of which spoiled Miniatura.
Miniatura makes its own weather, is its own place, is a place out of time and a state of mind and getting better for practise.
At the height of the hobby it was up to three hundred stands, there were fairs everywhere and true hobbyists were getting pushed out by band-wagon jumpers and general traders. I see the same thing happening now with TV craft channels, some of the people are there because they see a licence to print money, rather than a desire to help crafters.
Miniatura has now shrunken to a hundred stands, which is a great number. You really can see everything and absolutely everything is of riveting interest.
I was exhibiting for the first time at the National Agricultural Exhibition Centre.
What a lovely venue! It is all on one level. The free car park is a two minute walk from the car to the door. The staff were so nice! On Sunday I had packed up my wheeled cases and was struggling to heave all six into the car. ‘I’ll help, you look tired,’ said a member of staff and he lifted all the cases into the car for me!
I never had to queue once for the toilets!
Lovely Dave, from Teeny Weeny Teddies, discovering I’d been poorly, kindly kept asking if I was OK and amazingly I was only one of three post surgical Janes at the show, and we all made it through the weekend.
There were some wonderful new exhibitors and some wonderful old ones and I did a bit of shopping.
And I met and chatted to some miniaturists.
And that is what I live for, really. I just love to hear how miniaturists are getting on with their lovely houses, their awkward relatives and their problematic lives. It is good to know you are not alone. To have it reconfirmed that life is not as advertised but that that does not matter as much if you learn how to put your love and effort into the positivity that is miniatures. Life is tricky but it begets art. It especially begets miniatures which cut life down to size, in the process taking the edges off and beautifying all that is, with skill, which can be learned and eventually makes heirlooms, even out of the recycling.
A lovely location, lovely people, lovely miniatures, a lovely weekend. Best of all it will all happen again at Stoneleigh on the 18th and 19th of March 2023.
Wherever you are in the country, if you can access the railway, you can be there. The nearest stations are Warwick or Leamington, either only ten minutes by taxi from the NAEC.
Once I’ve got rid of Covid I will visit a taxi rank and find out how much. Ticket information as always at www.miniatura.co.uk