Over the course of the summer we have taken a stand at a number of Rural shows across the East of England to promote our Wheel Wrighting Business . Great fun and we have met some lovely people.
As you will discover when you work at shows, you end up having the same conversation several times a day. That’s fine at least it shows that people are interested, and you end up developing a patter which can then tailored to suit the audience.
A couple of times a day I will be confronted by a 7-10 year who wants to know what I am doing, and so the spiel changes slightly, explaining in simple steps the process of making a wooden carriage wheel, turning a hub, making the spokes, fitting the felloes ( wooden rims) and finally heating up the steel tyre in a fire and slipping it over the wooden rim. I then mention, assuring them that as a reward for working hard we roast Marshmallows over the fire. We never have but the children believe it. They all agree this must be the perfect job and leave convinced they will become a wheelwrights apprentice when they grow up. Their parents smile benevolently and everyone’s happy.
This has worked well all summer until last Sunday when I was helping the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights at the London Livery fair. Confronted by a 7 year old boy I decided to customise my presentation, and departed from my usual script. As I described the process I inserted the phrase ” then we had a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit” between each step even getting a little bit of audience participation with his parents and older sister joining in after a few repeats.
I was feeling good until I got to the end. When I ask – “so do you think that’s the job for you?” Expecting an enthusiastic nod. What I got instead was – “it depends what type of Chocolate Biscuits do you have?” I had mistakenly come across North London’s Chocolate Biscuit Expert ( luckily he was up against Norfolk’s expert) and we had a serious discussion as to how good the biscuits would have to be before he would be prepared to come and work for me when he grows up. I fully anticipate he will turn up in 10 years time and demanding Mc Vities Chocolate Orange biscuits. I don’t remember being that confident at 7.