I am exhausted. My whole body feels like someone smacked into me with a truck, then reversed back over me.
Working on markets is usually only physically intensive at the start and end of the day - on our stalls at least - I see Billy running round at Alnwick Market all day, carrying sacks of potatoes for elderly customer who can't lug them back to the car themselves.
Saturdays have taken on a sinister new twist though, as I drop Chris in Alnwick with his stock, load the van up again, then drive to Berwick to set up my stall... then at the end of the day pack up, back to Alnwick, drop off stock, collect Chris and his stock and on the never ending bloody day goes.
So yeah, it's a busy day. Busy enough, bearing in mind between all the physical stuff there's all the customer engagement, which requires though, concentration and a good deal of mental arithmetic.
But today? Today was something else. Gusts of wind clocking in above 30mph tested our market stall gazebo beyond its limits. Two of the legs repeatedly collapsed, with springs triggered by the force. Shortly after noon I was packing up stock to reduce the risk of items exposed to the elements. I abandoned the upper shelves of the displays and restricted the range, which is usually arranged to show almost 100 different Pop figures at any one time. Once done I had to take the biggest gamble of all: to remove the gazebo entirely, while still trading.
With no shelter at all, at least members of the public were safe, with no risk of the gazebo's front end dropping onto their heads. All was well for a time.
A short time.
Before long I, with the help of fellow traders and kind members of the public, found myself picking up scattered Pop figures, Fabrikations, Yu-Gi-Oh cards, price signs, plastic bags and packets, stock boxes. One plastic box lid whipped up into the air - off the box it was clipped to! - and narrowly missed a man, another still sliced between parked cars, landing on the main road, where car after car ran over it, shattering it to pieces.
Every single thing took 3 times longer than usual on this deceptively bright and sunny day... and by God did I pay for it!