It was touch and go as to whether the Winter Fair at Our Yard at Clitterhouse Farm was even going to go ahead; as the Met Office announced their Level 3 warning for cold weather, everyone involved was asked whether they wanted to cancel – but despite the forecast for temperatures, unseasonably cold even for two weeks before Christmas, enough agreed to go ahead.
And the warmth of the mulled wine, hot chocolate, food stalls, braziers, organisers and visitors – not necessarily in that order – were more than enough to counteract the chill in the air.
For the first hour of the Fair, a band – taking the one interior location available – played some easy listening classics, while visitors browsed the craft stalls, bought warm food and drinks and stopped to chat to children’s author Jason Korsner in his book corner.
When the guitar and singer duo finished, Jason took over the microphone and began reading his books to the children who gathered around him.
This was the first time he’d used a microphone for one of his reading events and it turns out that when one hand is holding the book and another is turning the pages, holding the mic is almost not worth trying to do – if you can speak loud enough.
As has been the case at previous reading events, What Can You See? encouraged the younger children to run forward to point to the various elements of Hannah Rounding’s illustrations, while I Like To Put Food in My Welly elicited belly laughs from primary school children, entranced by Max Low’s images of someone swimming in a cup of tea and wiping their feet on a cat, among others.
Jason found that the biggest problem from the cold was holding the pen to sign the books he sold. “This is so cool,” cried one girl as she ran back to her mother with her signed copy of I Like To Put Food In My Welly.
“It was such a lovely community feel,” said Jason of the Winter Fair. “I loved sharing my books with people who’d come from all around northwest London to brave the cold and support the efforts to regenerate Clitterhouse Farm for locals and visitors from further afield.”