at the craft fair I am working at for the last time today.
I take my own sandwich. I don't have the time or the money to queue and pay for food. I have about fifteen minutes to eat and be back on the stand. We all do and, for four days, I can handle that.
But, I do get an opportunity to observe what other people are eating in the area where you can sit and consume both food and drink.
Some people bring theirs from home but many people, well over half buy their lunch.
I was talking about this to my friend and came to the conclusion that it must be part of the "day out" experience. There can be no other explanation for it. The food available is expensive. It always is at that venue. I don't find the food very attractive either.
Yesterday a woman sat down opposite me with a serve of fish and chips. It came in a cardboard container - the way such things do these days. I suppose the food was considered to be fit for sale and consumption but I have seen - and smelt - much better takeaway fish and chips. These had been cooked somewhere else and then reheated. They had to have been. There is nowhere things like that get cooked at this venue. Perhaps that is why she needed two tiny packets of salt and one of pepper sprinkled over the top. I left rapidly.
I went back to the stall I am working on accompanied by another stall holder who works nearby. She was carrying a clear plastic container of fruit salad and a coffee. Although she lives in another state she always brings some of her lunch with her. The fruit salad?
"It looks nicer than it tastes," she told me, "But I didn't have time to stop at the market when I got here. It's expensive buying it like this."
I did not inquire about the price. I know what the price was a couple of years ago and it was very expensive.
Tea, coffee, hot chocolate? Very expensive - and in throwaway containers. Soft drinks? Again, very expensive.
So, I take my own sandwich, a piece of fruit and a drink. I consider myself fortunate that I am not an interstate stall holder who would find it much more difficult - although not impossible - to take food from home or from where I was staying.
But I did rather envy the woman sitting next to me who had a container of the most delicious looking home made salad.
"I like to cook," she told me as we watched someone else arriving with an over-flowing container of what had to be more reheated chips.
Yes, I suppose "buying lunch" is rather reminiscent of that once a term occasion on which we were allowed to buy it as children but I genuinely prefer to take my own.
And anyway, the money I have saved might buy a rather nifty ink pad I saw. I have a friend who makes cards and it will make the perfect birthday present for her.