If a day doesn't start with a coffee, it's not worth living in my eyes. Sometimes an indulgent Mocha, sometimes a cheeky Latte but always bought from one of the gorgeous independent cafes in and around Kensington Gardens. Once I enter the brighton silver building which is half my home, my heavy bags are stored, my coat is hung and my coffee is sipped with one hand, whilst I wander around the workshop and tweak things with the other.
10am finally comes around and I fling open the creaky front door, the breeze gradually swirls in and the day begins. Setting up brighton silver is a lot like a massive life sized jigsaw puzzle on wheels. The jewellery stalls are put on their brakes, tessellating and aligned. The sounds of clanking metal, rickety wheels and faint sounds of traders chatting fills the freshly sunlit cobbled road.
As the market owners and workers bustle about busily either side of the pavement, pedestrians wander aimlessly, like content ghosts through the middle of us. You can almost see their brains working. 'What shall I have for breakfast? Am I even hungry yet?', 'I'm going to be late for work, but this coffee is the temperature of the sun, so I'm going to walk super slowly so I can drink every last drop before I walk into the office', 'Did I turn the straighteners off?! Of course I did!......Did I???' and the list of made up captions goes on..
As the stalls creep onto the stones, the pedestrians turn into intrigued magpies, pecking and flapping at the newly uncovered treasures. The faint chatting gradually evolves into elated giggling and exclamation, traders exuding charm and elegance as they proudly display their wears to the world. Discussions erupt, usually consisting of vaguely late nights with a bottle of Whiskey, unusually healthy breakfast choices to make up for the Whiskey and what brand of Whiskey they are intending to 'accidentally' purchase later that day.
The day from here-on in, is a wonderfully colourful blur of talking to exceedingly individual individuals, some well timed people-watching (of course, I mean who wouldn't people-watch on Kensington Gardens?), gently badgering away at our growing website, eating all the food from Iydea (if you don't know Iydea, get to know them. Right now), drinking instant coffee with far too much sugar and polishing, cleaning and merchandising beautiful silver jewellery.
If Ronel is here, the day is welcomingly broken up by extremely excited people streaming in and out of the workshop, beaming with joy at their newly mended or made finery. Nudging their loved ones who are normally on the phone, as they saunter back from which ever way they came, encouraging them to appreciate the glory of their new piece. Ronel does increasingly fantastic work, which has an equally fantastic soundtrack which illuminates the stall's atmosphere. From the sharp, direct clangs of metal hitting metal, through the grinding buzz of the electric tumbler, to the dull, blunt 'SMACK' of the leather mallet against flat silver.
Although I love all of my customers equally, similar to a mother and her children (although I wouldn't feed you all, my food is mine), I do have a favourite type of customer. It is, unusually, the customer who hasn't got the faintest idea of what they are looking for. To me it is particularly fascinating to watch someone peruse the jewellery stall, their eyes darting around the different style rings and back to their own hands. It is wonderful to watch a person go from not knowing what they will buy to being so in love with something that they can't walk away from it. And that is why I do what I do.
When the clock hits 5.45pm, it is time to clear the giant jigsaw away. The stalls go in, the lights come down and the chatting slowly quietens once more. The faint sounds of chatting now spill from The White Rabbit pub six doors down the road. The day is done and I layer up with my warm coat, fling my bag over my shoulder and lock the door. I say my goodbyes to my friends along the street and make my way home. Until tomorrow.