My surprise visitor
Usually when someone as important as my visitor comes to the gallery, they are flanked by body guards or a phone call precedes the visit.
I was aware that the Prime Minster of Canada was on an official visit to the Island and Photos of his visit we in the local papers.
His visit to the gallery was a total surprise, I peeped outside to see if any police were around, he must have observed my surprise and he remarked that he just wanted to be alone to have a look around Bridgetown and the gallery was recommended.
Perhaps the local Prime Minister was impressed when he bought his shirt jack and matching pants for the opening of the house of assembly.
He spent about half an hour in the gallery, we had a cordial conversation, he knew I was recently back from England and the gallery was a new addition to the Bridgetown landscape.
At the time I had never visited Canada so there is little I could say about his country, but he was the first person to let me know that the cold in Canada was very different from the damp cold in England.
My first encounter with thieves.
A group of 4 youths entered the gallery and pretended to be interested in records to distract me from the intended thieves who were interested in the shirt jacks and trousers.
I was fortunate to see one of them placing an outfit in a bag he was carrying and as he was about to exit the gallery, I shouted to him to put it back, he ran out of the gallery with me in pursuit, Luckily my wife was there to keep an eye on the gallery.
The youth must have been shocked at how fast I was able to run, because I caught up to him and walked him to the nearest policeman I could find, who marched him off to the courthouse and charged him with theft,he had no way of knowing I was the number one sprinter for my College in England.
After giving my statement I asked for my items back and was told they had to keep them as evidence for the court hearing
When time came for the court hearing, the case could not be heard and the reason given was the stolen items could not be found, They must have been stolen from the police custody.
I never heard from the police or the court and my stolen items were never returned.
Apparently there was an established gang who went around small retail establishments where there are limited staff on only one attendant. One group will engage your attention of the owner or staff member while the other group will steal and slip away unnoticed.
An opportunity to promote the gallery was offered to me by a hotel manager whom I befriended. This opportunity was a Godsend and a blessing.
There were three hotels under the same management; the arrangement was to set up a pop up shop around the pool deck where there was a bar and restaurant service. The pop up shop was operated once a week at a different hotel each week.
Mostly I would attend to the pop-up or I would hire someone on a commission basis based on sales.
There were invitations from several other hotels. I welcomed the opportunity, as there were no overhead costs other than my time or that of a staff member.The hotels saw it as a service to their guests,and it also encourage them to stay on the premises and spend more of their dollars in-house
My most memorable occasion that will remain stamped in my memory involved a now deceased British movie star; he was sitting alone at the pool bar while all the other guests were scattered around the pool or on the beach.
The movie star who I preferred not to name approached me and asked how much money I make at one of my popup shops; when I inquired why he was asking; he offered to purchase my most expensive sculptures if I would close the popup shop and sit with him at the bar, he will also buy lunch and drinks.
That was my most successful popup shop and It was not even opened. My host got so drunk on champagne that the hotel manager had to call a taxi to take him back to the hotel where he was staying.
The sculptures were shipped to his address in the UK, he said he would have kept one for himself and give the others to girlfriends.
I often wondered if he remembered purchasing the sculptures when they arrived; or where there are today.