Things To Do In Birmingham When You’re Dead (Tired)…

Having a jolly good time in the UK right now. The Spring Fair is going well and we’re meeting all sorts of lovely people with posh accents. I love it.

As for the title of this blog, in order to get to the happy place I’m in today we had to power through some grueling stuff. Packing up the NY show, jumping on a flight from JFK to Heathrow (or Newark to Birmingham) and then up to Birmingham in one day. Not much sleep on that flight as it arrived in the UK when it was about 12:30 at night for us. Onwards and upwards! After a short Virgin Trains ride up to the Midlands and immediately set up our booth here. Yes, we set the walls as well as the product on little to no sleep. That’s my excuse for the unique look. 🙂

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After setting up we headed out into Birmingham’s Bullring Mall (ok, it was the next day, we did manage to get a few hours sleep the second 24 hrs we were up) and promptly tried some Fentiman’s soda. Can’t say we’d repeat the process, but the Dandelion and Burdock was… interesting. The Bullring continues to amaze me with crowds as big as any in the US – on Black Friday! Only, it was just a Sunday here. Wow. Hope that proves the economy is recovering all over the world.

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The first day of the show, fantasy artist Josephine Wall stopped by. We managed to get some photos and she was nice enough to autograph a few copies of the journals we have with her artwork on the cover – including the new Crystal of Enchantment Journal. Sweet!

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That night, our colleagues from White Pebble International (who function as Peter Pauper Press, UK) invited us out for a proper pub dinner. We went to The Boot Inn in Warwickshire. Everybody had a blast (or a ball) with some lovely local pints of Pure UBU Amber Ale, followed by fish and chips, and various other scrumptious morstles. Thank you to Adam, Susan, Claire, and Craig. Many a laugh was had that night and recorded for posterity on John’s 20 pound note.

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On Monday night we ventured forth into Birmingham proper, with a trek to Lasan for some exquisite gourmet Indian food. YUM! They served us some gratis amuse bouche of some sort of salmon cake, and entertained us with elegant wipes (ok, we all thought they were mints before the waiter poured hot water on them and they expanded into wetnaps.) I highly recommend this place.

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The inner history geek in me had to rejoice that while I was here it was revealed the that skeletal remains found at Greyfriar’s church were indeed Richard III. Wow. Amazing what they can prove with DNA these days.

Cheerio!

Jolly Good Time in England

Over the Labor Day weekend I was working, but I enjoyed it. Yes, that's right. I was on my feet for 9 hours each day — but I was in England! Birmingham, to be exact. Sure, it's known more as an industrial city northwest of London, but there are quite a few things to see, do, and eat! This was our second year at the Birmingham Autumn Fair.  Peter Pauper has a UK branch run by White Pebble International, with a warehouse in Chichester, West Sussex. 

To make things easier, we stayed at the Crowne Plaza NEC, which is literally across the lake from where the Autumn Fair is held. Breakfast at the Pendigo Restaurant on the lower level makes things even easier. After that quick walk around the lake, it's off to the show. Aside from our constant Metric vs Imperial measurement issue, things run pretty smoothly during set up. So much so, that we had an extra day to explore the city of Birmingham. I did venture forth my first night and have dinner at a Gordon Ramsey-recommended establishment called Lasan. Absolutely loved it. Great modern Indian food, if you "fancy a curry." I relished every bite. 

We trekked into the Bullring on Saturday to take a peek at a U.K. shopping mall. Holy cow! It was as crowded as the U.S. malls were back in the 80s — for Christmas! That was great to see. Not sure how many people were actually shopping, but the food places were certainly doing business. There were some interesting sights in that mall. Had lunch at the tasty Handmade Burger Co.

The show was a success! And a new journal and bookmark combo was the hit of the show. More about those — later. 

Thanks for the hard work done by all of our UK agents, plus Adam Ash, Susan Fairley, Claire Evison, and Alice Jeffries from White Pebble. See you at Spring Fair in February!

P.S. — If anyone in London is interested in becoming an agent for us, that territory is currently open. 

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