We spent yesterday in Torquay, at a trade fair for the gift industry. Torquay is a lot nicer than it is supposed to be, though claims of the 'English Riviera' are a bit much. But it does have wooded cliffs, white apartment blocks and a lot of palm trees, so I can see why they push it.
The trade fair was much as it sounds. There was a lot of old tat. T and I located some existing, and some potential suppliers amongst all this - some great ceramics, glass and jewellery. It's rather like meta-shopping. Although I wore a suit and T was smart, it is a bit 'out and proud' to have to go around a mainstream trade fair with a badge marked, in large letters, 'WITCHCRAFT', but everyone was pretty cool with it. One of the gift suppliers took one look and said 'Ah, I suppose your target market is more the Wiccan end of things.' And a woman from a very classy glassware company in Bath said 'Oooh! Are you witches? We love doing witchy stuff. We did Witchfest last year and we had so much fun.' Then she offered to produce some glass with pentagrams on it, so a trip to Bath is in the offing in the near future. Everyone in whom we were interested also supplies the Glastonbury Abbey giftshop but we are, kind of obviously, aiming at a rather different market.
One of the UK's main Celtic jewellery suppliers wants to consult us about a more Wiccan range; they've had some stuff with pentacles on it and got a lot of flak from some fundamentalist group in the US - they asked me to explain this. When I asked how they'd reacted, they said they'd just ignored it.
After the fair closed, we drove to Dartmouth and took the little car ferry over the river. Dartmouth is lovely - it's the south west's equivalent to a small fjord, and all the houses are painted in bright colours. It was one of Britain's main military ports at one point and we passed a house belonging to a man who had founded Newfoundland, like you do. We had a walk round an old fort, had a drink and then dinner in a 17th century pub. I haven't been to Dartmouth since the Milford writers' workshop was based near Torquay, and it was good to see it again.