Our schizophrenic summer..

A few weeks ago we were at the Hampton Court Flower Show. Our 7th or 8th time so we are old hands at it now. It’s amazing how times change and events evolve. The Gala evening used to be such an elegant affair, with the ladies in pretty dresses and strappy high heels, tottering around on the uneven varied floor surfaces of earth, wooden planks, matting and grass - what you would expect at a flower show in the grounds of a castle.
 I used to be bemused at how inappropriately the ladies came attired but benefited hugely from the fact that they never came prepared for the cold evening in their summer floaty numbers. Often the men would come rushing into the tent, credit cards waving and snap up our wraps and shawls to appease their shivering wives.
Three years in a row we had torrential rain in the evening (which was always forecast, as I was prepared with wellies and raincoat) but still the ladies persevered with how they imagined they should dress at a Summer Flower Show Gala with champagne picnic. That was a few years ago and the Gala isn’t such a smart affair anymore. Perhaps the visitors have learnt from experience and ruined shoes. I miss the glamour and their blind optimism for the evening and now regret my judgemental bewilderment. It is after all that determination to enjoy our summer, whatever it brings, that Brits are known for and thank goodness for it!

This year and for the past three years in a row, we have had monumental heat waves all through Hampton Court week starting as if like clockwork when we set up. For us stallholders, that is the worst possible scenario. We can prepare of course, I had four big fans aimed at me from every corner of my stand, but we can’t do anything about the visitors experience on the showgrounds. Moving through the crowds, every step they take in that oppressive mist of warmth wilts them to a state where they can’t think straight. Red cheeks, burnt shoulders, wet hair plastered faces. You can imagine how they feel looking at me surrounded by knits – albeit light weight summer ones so perfect for our climate, except on those days... I of course felt fine, comfortably wind swept and safe in my stand but there is no convincing some of the passers by who are convinced the minute the heat wave hits that it will stay for the summer! What a shock they must have had two weeks ago when winter set in again.

As usual our favourite staunch supporters saved the day for us, our customers who we love so much, who persevered and were brave enough to try on our new designs and colours, safe in the knowledge that they would be thrilled to have those coveted new pieces as quickly as a few days later when the hot spell passed. If ever there was a summer month that illustrates how perfect our collection is for the changeable climates most of us live in today, then this July was the poster child. Until you have worn our summer pieces, the rare comfort, breathability and perfect cover that our Spring-Autumn knits provide is hard to imagine and impossible to beat.
And as happy as we are for the sun to be heading our way again this week, long may our schizophrenic summers continue!

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