I have a story to share with you that many will not believe, in fact I am not sure if I would believe it!
When people see our worry beads they are surprised how nice they are even though many of them have seen pictures. We therefore decided that we need to get ourselves and the worry beads into the public domain. I live close to Hollowell which holds an annual steam rally, one of the biggest in the country with 45,000 visitors across 2 days. A friend was also launching a new business venture and we agreed to share a stall. We also agreed to share the pre-rally work. He booked the pitch and we organised a gazebo and tables to show our wares. He is not the most reliable of people however everything was done and we agreed to meet a few miles from the site the Friday evening to see where our pitch was and to test the gazebo. I was duly anxious whilst waiting for him to arrive when I got a text message stating he would be late. It was only 15 minutes before he arrived and we set off for the site.
We checked in and to my confusion the pitch was just booked in his name and The English Worry Bead Co was not mentioned. I tried to dismiss this as being because there was only so much room to list the stall holder. We went to our pitch and it was Ok, not the best but we were in a line of other stall holders so we should attract a good number of visitors. We decided where the gazebo, tables and the car would go and as a storm was predicted for that night we decided to leave the set up until the next morning. It was only when we decided to take a walk around the site that the “bombshell” was dropped. My friend casually dropped into the conversation that he had booked the stall in his name and after receiving confirmation the notes stated that a site could not have a sub-let which is effectively what he had made us. My worry beads came straight out of my pocket! The damage had been done and my friend had not intended to put us in this impossible situation.
To explain why this situation was far more stressful than it might be is that I have a condition called Asperger’s syndrome, in addition to my depression and anxiety. One of the features of the condition is that you have a very high “moral compass” and the thought that I was going to be running a stall against the conditions of the holders was completely unacceptable to me. We packed up and went home for a good night’s sleep before the show the following day. My wife calmed me down by explaining that we would run the pitch as if it had been booked correctly and if we were challenged we would explain the mistake and pay any monies the holders felt appropriate.
The following morning we had agreed to meet close by and go in together as we only had one pass to enter the showground. You cannot imaging the stress I was under when I got a text stating he was running late and would be there shortly. We had to get set up for the opening time so we decided to try and get into the ground without a pass. I explained to the nice man on the gate that the other car was running late and he agreed to let us in as I knew the number of our pitch. A few minutes later my friend arrived with his family. We quickly set up the gazebo and tables and it seemed sensible to leave my car behind the pitch as the equipment would need to be packed away into it. I was rushing as we had already lost 15 minutes of our 60 minute set up time. I then became aware of an issue going on around me. My friend had parked his car close to the front of the pitch so that he did not have to carry his stock very far. The issue was that he could not find his car keys to move his car to the car park. All four of his family and a couple of mine starting hunting in earnest for the missing keys. The opening time for the fair came and went and the car had not moved. Eventually it was determined that the keys had been locked in the boot and his particular car had no remote boot release.
I sat back in my camping chair and stared at the BMW parked across our pitch and my heart rate climbed to soaring heights. I had intended showing how worry beads worked but that was far from my mind, I needed then to try and get back into control. If it is possible to wear out English Worry Beads then they would have been as the hours passed and the car did not move. The breakdown service was 3 hours 30 minutes but before they arrived my stress levels had another twist. I did not think it could get any worst watching potential customers walk the other side of the car for hours on end but then two marshals asked us to move it. They explained that the main steam engine parade came passed where the car was stuck. As steam engines are not very good at manoeuvring the car had to go. My friend had decided to take a walk as there was not a lot to do at the stall but would he answer his mobile, aaahhh! All this was happening while I have in the forefront of my mind that our stall was selling worry beads and my friend had told the organisers he was selling cleaning products.
He eventually came back and the car was pushed in front of another stall, much to the disgust of the stall holders. They diverted the steam engines around the car and we settled down to the wait again for the rescue service. My worry beads had been invaluable and got a very hard work out but the worst was over. The rescue service arrived and could not get into the boot. My friend was dispatched to his home some 30 miles away to get the spare keys. Only one problem, his house keys were on his car key ring. Alarmingly the rescue service engineer broke into his house in a matter of seconds but the keys were retrieved. All this messing about meant my friend only had 2 hours on his stall but the sun was so hot most traders were reporting very few sales.
Now the plus points of the day. Yes it was amazing that my worry beads had calmed me down and enabled me to cope with the very unusual situation but that was not the best thing to come out of the weekend. It was so nice to chat with people who had or knew others who were suffering with severe anxiety. They were interested to hear my story and were very appreciative that a set of tools had been created that should help them. If ever I have any doubts as to the work and money we have invested in getting The English Worry Bead Co started they will disappear very easily with the thoughts of others who will benefit from our creation.
We intend doing many more shows starting with the Earls Barton Steam Rally at August Bank Holiday but the Hollowell show has shown us that face to face interaction with anxiety sufferers is a must for us. I hope to see many of you at that show or other shows we shall book as seeing the worry beads in the flesh is far better than any photographs we can take.
The English Worry Bead Co.