I managed to escape countryside for a few days (as if that’s something anyone would like to do!) for an exhibition in Birmingham. Hundreds of suited up people together, talking targets, return on investment and joined up thinking could be really wearing. Except when you are one of them. Then you kind of ‘get it’. It happens suddenly and does catch you by surprise. Especially if you are a country bumpkin like me.
My friend/boss and I arrived at the NEC on Monday afternoon all serious and businessy. Then the signs appeared. We squealed with delight. Yet again, the second year running, we turned up a few days before Crufts (the international dog exhibition and competition). We were going to miss the estimated twenty thousand dogs, who would start arriving on Wednesday but the doggie feeling was in the air. Even the hardened businessmen and women who were here to exhibit their healthy strategies and insurance products were passing around photos of their furry darlings..It was infectious.
I won’t bore you with the history and European tradition of International Women’s Day but I am proud to say that I did my best to spread the word and tell all who cared to listen, that the ladies should receive flowers on that day. That day was today – 8th March. I consciously complimented women on their clothes, shoes and hair and they in turn smiled, thanked me and complimented others. I explained about this to a lady promoting mental health programmes on the stand next to ours. ‘Oh good,’ she said, ‘so now I won’t feel so weird asking you what mascara you are using. It makes your lashes look really good.’
I don’t know if you have ever attended one of these events as an exhibitor, but I can tell you, it’s blimmin’ hard. You stand all day, smile at people, give them the spiel and try not to give away more details that they do. I must admit, just keeping my back straight for all that time was an effort. Let alone being nice to people.
Thank goodness for our beautiful, comfortable hotel with a spa. The heated stone beds by a large window overlooking the lake were a rare treat. All made out of, well, stone and tiled over, they are heated to quite a high temperature and you just wallow.
I should mention that within hours the people on stands near ours knew about Fred the dog, my chickens and even my husband’s acting career (it’s amdram, luvvie). I really missed them over the three days (I hope you are reading this, guys!).
Oh and by the way, my exhibition neighbour found a daffodil and brought it to me so that I wouldn’t miss the Czech International Women’s Day. I guess sisters are really doing for themselves..