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 now I'm sitting here reflecting on the fact that the sun has appeared and driven off the wind chill, that Christmas is almost here and the bloke singing outside of Marks and Spencer is pretty good and adding to the town vibe.

And so I'm now looking at my stock, at my stall, at my layout with a new pair of eyes - I need to be ready for those Christmas shoppers who are much more fleet of foot, who look for what they like and make an immediate decision. They are savvy enough to barter but will pay an honest price based on what it's worth.

It's a fascinating old business, because the other grimmer side of the Christmas barter is that this late morning I have had more people coming to the stall selling items - nothing wrong with that. But these sellers are overwhelmingly elderly old ladies looking to raise a few extra bob. Where I think I space shift it on or it fits with my stall I will help out - but otherwise you have the small heart wrenching "sorry not for me" to deliver to these folks who it feel like are trying to make ends meat.  I enjoy the market, I learn a lot every day and each week - but the insight into the economic underbelly of the town is perhaps the most revealing.

Right, back to the stall.