if yesterday was any example.
There was yet another craft fair. We have rather too many at present. It would be better for all stall holders if these were consolidated. This time though there were more people attending because it was combined with a "Home" show as well - bathrooms and kitchens and curtains and so on.
Middle Cat had taken the Senior Cat out to a gardening meeting so I didn't need to worry about him. I had work to do but I knew I could take a few hours out of the day so I prowled off. I also had a voucher so I didn't need to pay to enter - another bonus.
I wasn't involved. My services were not required. The friend I help did not have a stall there. My knitting guild did not ask me for help. I went along yesterday - the final day - as a mere visitor. That in itself was a rare and unusual experience.
And all this meant I could people watch. Children under 12, if accompanied by an adult, were also free. It meant there were more children around than is usual.
They all appeared to be remarkably well behaved. I may be wrong about this and I may be wrong about the reason for it - but I think not. I suspect most of them were fascinated. People were doing things.
People were doing things most of them had probably never seen before. This particular craft fair had multiple workshop areas. People were using machines and tools. They were making things. Most of the things might be what I call "dust collectors" but they were designed to be quick projects to experience a product or technique or both. I wonder how many children have seen adults doing that sort of thing? It was obvious it was a new experience for many of them.
I went around slowly and came upon the lace makers...two doing bobbin lace and another needle lace. One of the bobbin lace women had something to show me - a piece of knitted lace she wanted to know about. I did my best and then watched her as, very carefully, she helped a young boy manipulate her bobbins several times. His concentration was intense.
I went on to the embroiderers. Again they were showing not just adults but children their craft and I heard one of them saying that yes, they do run classes for children.
But it was at the hand spinners and weavers that I found the little group of children watching awestruck as someone turned fleece into yarn. It was as if the spinner was turning straw into gold.
"I want to do it too" and "I wish I could do that" and "that is just so cool to be able to do that". The spinner showed them just how she was doing it and she answered all their questions. I think some of them would have happily spent much more time watching but they were eventually dragged away by parents on to the hand knitters and crocheters - my colleagues.
The spinner and I looked at each other though and agreed. There is just a little bit of hope for the next generation - hope that they will learn the manual dexterity necessary to make something for themselves and for others and hope that these crafts will not be lost.
And hope that they will want to create rather than destroy.