Saturday, 9 June 2018

Talk is cheap (but remarkably effective)

Loquacious. Verbose. Garrulous. Gabby. Gobby. Can talk the hind leg off a donkey.
Have you met me face to face yet?

I talk all the time, to pretty much everyone. Actually, I talk to non-people too. The animals (obviously) the plants (Aren't you doing well! good on you), the appliances ("Don't you DARE burn my bagel, you rotter"), the timer ("Oh, belt up, I heard you the first time!). 
I started as a chatty toddler at an extremely early age and haven't shut up since. This can be useful, friendly, charming, wearing, crass, irksome or bloody annoying depending on one's mood and temperament.

On Thursday, my Best Woman SJ, my Very Ace Mate Kirsty and I went to the RHS Show at Chatsworth. The sun was shining, the flowers and gardens were glorious, the picnic was extensive and delicious. It was an absolutely wonderful day - as are all my days out with SJ. 

There's always a section of food and drink stalls. For the last 5 years gin kiosks have been A Big Thing. (Before that flavoured vodka, before that whisky, and the “new” thing on the rise is rum).  As usual we have a fair few tiny samples (Mason Gin from Yorkshire does a lovely Lavender gin, and I don't generally like floral stuff. There was a lovely baked apple and almond moonshine as well.)

Moving ahead of me as I tasted a mature cheddar (a bit dull), Kirsty called me over to see the product on a stall a few metres along.

It was a Scottish gin in a really beautiful ceramic jug. Lovely stoneware, a real heft to it. I went to look, and a couple of women already there were making a purchase. They told me to definitely try it, it’s lush.
I said it was the gorgeous bottle that attracted me, and we chatted a bit about the things we'd sampled while the seller got the card payment ready.
Paying for their gin, they were offered a free empty bottle “to use as a vase or make a lamp”
They said No
I asked the salesperson “how much is it for one of the empty bottles?"
She did a snooty face.
“One is free when you purchase a bottle of gin” (you ghastly peasant)
Oh, ok.
My new gin-tasting friend said “I’ve changed my mind. I’d like an empty, please!”
As the salesperson passed it to her she said “I’m sharing the happiness “ and passed it straight to me, smiling broadly.
The salesperson looked like she’d sucked a lemon. I was chuffed to bits.

When I showed it to Kirsty she started laughing. "How does this happen with you? This never happens to me, and it happens to you all the time!"

She's right, it does.
I talk to people. I chat away, all friendly and open. Sometimes it's annoying, sometimes people are abrupt or ignore me, but mostly people are friendly back. On the whole, I think people like an opportunity to connect. Sure, not everyone likes an extrovert but enough people do that it's worth being friendly.

I also got a photo with Joe Swift, my absolute favourite of the Gardener's World team. (They were filming for a segment on the programme.)
We saw him around and about while we were enjoying the show.
Clearly the RHS aren’t a selfie crowd, but lots of people were taking surreptitious photos.
A little later we saw him by a stand, waiting while the crew were sorting the technical bits.
I said to him and the production assistant “while you are still setting up, could I possibly have a quick photo with Joe? Would you mind?”
She said “no problem “ and Joe said “what do you mean?”
I took that as a yes.

(Of course I did!)
She used my phone for a photo. Joe said “OOOOOOHHHHH. Setting up! Of course! I thought you said ‘sitting up’ and thought I’m not that old, of course I can sit up!”
I laughed and said, “while you can hear me, Hiya Joe, I’m Jay and I’m delighted to meet you.“
“Lovely to meet you too, and enjoy your day”
As I rejoined Kirsty and SJ I noticed some people in the crowd shooting me funny looks - it seemed a bit "how dare she," or at least "how rude." But heck, I saw a nice person I wanted to meet, he was standing at a loose end for a moment and I asked politely.

Y'know, using my words.
And that worked.

Chatting. It's an under-appreciated skill.

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