I leave here tomorrow morning for the BFFI - by far the best flyfishing fair in the UK. The van is full of goodies for the discerning flyfisher.
Unfortunately I won't be able to attend the Danish Fly Fair in Kolding this year. It used to be easy when there was a ferry from Harwich. The last few times I have driven all the way from Machynlleth to Kolding, but it is a heck of a long drive. And this year the fair is very early so I wouldn't even have the prospect of good fishing to look forward to.
I have not made a decision about either of the big game fairs - The Game Fair and the Midland Game Fair. I have not booked either, and have talked to the organisers of both about the difficulty and expense of taking a large stand. At this stage neither have come back to me, so I have to doubt their interest in having a high quality book stand at their events. I'd like to have a presence, but have decided that I no longer want to subsidise these people - if they want me there they have to show some flexibility.
The Scottish Game Fair is a similar problem. The organisers have absolutely no interest in having a bookseller there, so I stopped taking my own marquee several years ago. However, I enjoy going north to meet my friends and customers, so recently I have been taking space in the Flyfishing Marquee. This year we hope to be launching Stan Headley's new book - Reflections on Loch Fishing at Scone.
I WILL be at the West Country Game Fair and at both of the Irish Game Fairs. The organisers of these fairs are realistic, understanding the work and expense of carrying a bookshop around the country. They are also expert at the kind of mutual promotion, through competitions and sponsorship, that is good for all of us. And if I have to spend most of June in the west of Ireland, then so be it! And I will be back in Galway for the Irish Fly Fair in November - with another major book launch planned!
I have attended every Falconry Fair for over 25 years. Unfortunately it has now been absorbed by Countryman Fairs and last year's event was merely part of one of their country fairs, with hardly any real falconers in attendance. Charlie Heap's northern event clashes with Ireland, and Jemima doesn't seem to be doing anything this year, so it doesn't look as though I will get to a serious falconry event in 2019.
I will be at the Grayling Society Symposium as usual, and I will try to get to some of the small tackle fairs during the year - though that may depend on the organisers' enthusiasm for having a book stall.