The Harting Festivities or HartFest as we on the committee have started to call it, being rather daringly modern, are over.

This, if you are not a resident of Deepest Sussex, is the day in the year when the village main street is blocked off and we have a village fayre ( as you can tell we are not all that daringly modern.)

I for my sins as they say, am in charge of the bookstall – and I want that name changed as well.

For, dear reader, this is not just a couple of trestle tables pushed together covered in dog-eared copies of Jeffrey Archers and endless variations of Aga sagas (this being Sussex), oh no this is much, much, more.

I won’t bore you with the full explanations of what you need to do to effectively run a HartFest ‘bookstall’ but suffice it to say you need to fill the event hall of the Legion Club with books – all in their topic categories, paperback novels in alphabetical groups so that yes, we can tell the small, frail customer where to search for her Nora James.

Filling, in this context meant about 110 banana boxes of books and if you are just about to think, ‘Well, OK, that is quite a few but let’s not go overboard on the numbers here,’ I would like to say to you, ‘ a) you try lifting that many books from where they are sorted to where they have to be – yes round the corner but still…and b) because, yes indeed, they are sorted that means we also took 10 car loads of rejects to the tip and that is hard work too.

Before I wallow in too much halo-polishing, I would like to say of course I don’t do this alone.

I don’t do it alone because I am rubbish at doing anything on my own and always want a group of people to be involved in anything I am, but also to do it alone would  take months and render me unable to do anything else all year.

So, a marvellous group of people helped sort, moved the books and ran the bookstall on the day and lest this turn into a badly written piece for the parish magazine thanking everyone all over the place, I will leave it at that.

But, I do think we need to call it something bigger than a bookstall.

Pop-Up Bookshop, maybe. HartFest’s Mini-Hay, maybe. Any bright ideas are welcome.

So, all this hard work pays off – this year we made £962 and half goes to village charities and half to Oxfam ( who, between you and I ‘donate’ quite a lot of good quality books.)

I am not a competitive person but snapping at my heels is the necklace stall.

The idea came from a great woman in the village who thrown herself into village life with gusto (and thank the lord, relative youth.)

The idea is that most women have necklaces they have bought, don’t wear and don’t want – but some other woman will.

We, on the HartFest Committee were asked to see what we could raise in terms of necklaces through friends etc etc.

I showed myself to be the archetypal Sussex housewife by approaching my Pilates teacher to see if I could put a notice in her studio, my hairdresser for a notice in her salon, my book group and a group of friends who regularly lunch to salute one of our brilliant friends who has died.

Well, dear reader, sneery though I may be of my housewife credentials, they did good and we got lots and lots and lots of jewellery.

The sign I made for my hairdresser said:
Do you have any necklaces you don’t wear – of course you do!
So, if you could have a clear out of those beads you bought in the Accessorize sale and have ever worn since… Please think of us.
And we will take bracelets too – infact any old sparklies.

Rosie, my hairdresser reported that one of her clients had said to her,’ Oh I’d love to help, I have loads of necklaces I don’t wear but I don’t think any of them came from the Accessorize sale…’

Perhaps it was her who donated the sapphire and diamond ring. This is Deepest Sussex as I keep reminding you.

Anyway, I had nothing to do with the stall except for collecting carrier bags full of necklaces from my ‘sources’ but those who did, made a fantastic display of colour co-ordinated necklaces, silver ones polished to glint in the sunshine ( it was nearly sunny), an old birdcage draped with lovely sparklies – lovely all round.

And this, their first year, they made more than £500. And I have to say, a little disgruntedly, I am a woman who loves jewellery, and necklaces are a shed load easier to store and move than books.

Dear reader, I am in the wrong HartFest job.


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