The question every market trader dare not ask: will it rain? And this morning (whilst still dark) it was clear and almost warm. As we loaded the car to go to market the spitting mizzle started and by the time we had set up and prepare for the downpour - the clouds had passed and it was back to being nice again.

So whoever brought the threat of rain with them appears to have gone home and taken it back with them.  This is good.

But that brings me to who comes to market - who are these shoppers and browsers and merry folks?  Let me describe two people I chatted to this morning - and I may have been spun a yarn or two, but I don't think so.

The first is an older lady, tight coat, red poppy (November), small trolley, and presentable - but the shoes were very tatty, the handbag was very battered.  But from the trolley she produced five books and asked me to buy them.  From her late husbands collection, she said.  Now these books are not worth that much and to be honest I didn't need them but she wanted some money for them.  We had a chat and I bought them.  Grateful she walked on.  Now I stand on the market near much more experience stallholders than I and as she left, one of them came up.  I learn that this lady is all but homeless, clinging onto her flat, her dog and cats and selling her possessions to buy food.

The second was a man who comes to the stall every week, he picks up virtually every book in turn, he visits for periods of 20-30 minutes a time and come back time and time again.  He does this virtually every week.  He is polite but gently shambling, hunched and mumbles.  Today, after visiting every week, he paid me a sizeable amount of money for a particular piece of unusual porcelain that I had for sale.

In the course of see two encounters and transactions I was reminded of an age old lesson about not judging a book by its cover.  And that thing people say about markets dying - for many they are a lifeblood of food and produce, of bargains and hobbies, of social interaction and against loneliness. Whatever education I have enjoyed, standing here week after week on my stall I am learning, revisiting and reaffirming all my instincts about society, about being positive and constructive and about social justice.  

Enjoying your own company is one thing, but markets are about people and fundamentally I like people, I like the environment and I love the interaction.