Sunday, 14 October 2012

Banbury Canal Day

Autumn has arrived. Here in Banbury the first Sunday in October is always Canal Day. Sometimes it rains. All day. Sometimes, like last year, it is so hot you just want to sit in the shade and enjoy a long, cool drink. But this year was perfect. No need for a coat, the autumn sunshine provided enough warmth. First stop, the canal. Obviously!
Bubbles all round but the dog was unmoved!
Canal Day is a favourite and the day being fine there were lots of people. This part of the canal is always busy with boats but for today they have been dressed in all their finery.
We wandered along the canal bank, looking at the boats and soaking up the atmosphere. Our next stop was Spice Ball Park - lovely name for a park, don't you think? One day I may even try to find out why Spice Ball. One day!The easy way round the park?
DSC02556 This is where the children came to play. Bouncing was a favourite.
And well over in the far corner, a sign that autumn has arrived. Tony was visiting the Amateur Radio tent when I took this. Somehow, amateur radio just doesn't excite me. I don't know why!
These feathered friends were entirely unimpressed by the impression they were making. Fir Tree Falconry is found just outside Banbury on the Warwick Road. It is on a beautiful site, on a hill, surrounded by fields. They also have a lovely campsite. We took Eva and Maia there one day during the summer and they loved it.
This tiny little one was lovely. Perhaps he was a little awed by the occasion.
From Spice Ball Park we made our way to the car park where we found a number of stalls, some representing local charities, some food and some crafts. On our way, we passed this unusual hanging basket.
And then the first of the food stalls. DSC02567
The Advanced Motorists stall didn't seem too popular. I wonder if that is a reflection of driving skills in Banbury - we are so good we don't need to bother with advanced motoring skills???
Continuing on through the car park we arrived at the continental market. These two tall gentlemen were having a great time. They talked non-stop and kinda funny and were loved by one and all. In spite of the umbrellas that turned into water pistols when any young person, especially female - they screamed louder - happened to get close enough.
Sadly, we had already eaten. These prawns looked delicious. DSC02577
Biscuits anyone?
DSC02582 Perhaps some salami for later?
I hope these suckling pigs enjoyed their apples.
Waiting for customers and enjoying their day.
This couple came from Brittany. They part-bake the bread before they leave and then freeze it and store it in their van ready for a finally firing before it goes on sale in whatever town they are in that day. (Must be quite a van they have!)
Selling Creole style food. I wish I had bought some. DSC02587
Lots of tinned food specials.
And finally, soap from Provence.
Back along the canal, here's one of my favourites
Whoever was working the lifting bridge was having a busy day. This was one of two boats that were giving free 20 minute rides along the canal. The bridge had to be raised and lowered each time one came along. Incidentally, I found out later that there was an hour-long queue to get on!
And then the business of turning the boat in a small space.
On the other side of the canal, in another car park, was the Craft Fair. It was excellent this year, the quality high and the priced reasonable. I'm afraid I didn't think to take photos until after we had visited. Here is a photo taken from the tow path.
DSC02596 This was the end of the day and not so many people around.

Mirrors made from driftwood and the carcasses of dead birds. I don't think many were sold - they had to have been the ugliest things I have ever seen.
Another view of the canal, the boats and the tow path. The footbridge in the distance leads from a car park to the shopping centre. I always think it is one of the nicest ways to enter the town. Whatever the weather, whatever the season, there is always something new. In summer there are the most prolific hanging baskets on the bridge. Enough to lighten anyone's spirits.
Until finally, to The Mill, our local Arts Centre, where a folk concert was being enjoyed in the courtyard.
We ended the afternoon at The Mill, with a glass of wine. Canal Day over for another year.

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