So this is the last stall if the calendar year and I'm still here.  It's cold and sharp this morning but I decided that in for a week, in for the year.  There are fewer stall holders standing the market this morning but I'm here and set up.

But today I have a new entry to the set up of the stall - my Uncle has effectively retired from the book trade - he's going to concentrate on Islamic and Indian art - and so I have gained his residual stock.  This sounds like a small thing - but in fact it is a significant injection of 68 boxes of books.

She came to the stall early, and then picked up the vase - £3 said I. She ummed and aaahhed and put it down. £2? Something about the tone irritated me and I said sorry, £3 it is.  I was then asked for my best price and somewhat reluctantly, not wanting to take the vase home I conceded: £2.50 I said. She put it back again and walked off.

About an hour later she was back. Picking up the same vase she looked at me and said "we agreed £2 yes?" At this point, dear reader I was gently annoyed and insisted it was £3 but if she wanted it then £2.50 would suffice. Grudgingly she took out her purse and three coins tumbled into my hand, but before I said thank you I had to stop her and hand back one old pound coin and request another, which tutting at me she got from her purse. We exchanged pleasantries and she placed the vase in her bag and departed.

So last week I didn't get time to type up my weekly reflection - but that in and of itself was a good thing.  The market was busy, almost bustling, the weather held Ice and people browsed into town to seek the bargains we had laid out before them.

But one of the things I have learnt very quickly is that a busy footfall does not make for strong sales - indeed who buys and what they buy is a largely unpredictable feast.  You get there early and set up and then what happens will happen.

A new phenomena entered the game today down on Chesterfield Market. Christmas shopping.  Now it's obvious really but when it happened I was not entirely expecting it.

It is cold this morning. Very cold. And there is a wind chill.  This makes it very bitter.  But it also meant that the early morning (7am onwards) was very quiet. And then we hit 11am and a type of person appeared - these people wanted to buy. They were looking for gifts, and for home extras and they made a decision fairly quickly.  Within an hour what had started as a poor days trading had become a busy little spate of trading.

So here we are - Thursday morning and it's dark as we load the car, gradually the mizzle retreats and by the time it is 9am we are set up.  The regulars are already sweeping the market - looking for the same bargains we turned down last week, and they move around the stalls with speed and determined deliberation.

Today I have secured the same space as I have used for the last three weeks - it seems to work for me and I'm getting to know fellow traders who are regulars and always here.  Which brings me to the next big decision - whether to go for a fixed and permanent market stall?