Banbury Canal Day
For us the Banbury Canal day, held on the first Sunday in October, represents the last outdoor trading event of the season.
A bit of history
We would dearly love to attend on our boat but as any boater will tell you, Banbury is two big watersheds away from our base on the Staffs and Worcester and is therefore too far away to be a credible destination for a one day event. Maybe one for the future...
And some pomp
So for now its an event we attend in the car and if I am honest its one of the easiest, even if it is an hour's drive from home. The dawn trip down the M40 is almost a joy and when we arrive we can pull up alongside a pre erected stall and hey presto all the stock is ready for sale.
The crowds show up
Banbury has just celebrated its 11th anniversary under the leadership of the local town council, ably supported by a management committee made up of all the interested parties. The end result is a well organised and well attended event attracting over 35 boats, 110 stalls and an estimated 20,000 visitors. This year Nutfield and Raymond were in show adding an extra depth to the boating dimension, which was great.
But of course its not just the boats which make events like this special. Banbury gives us an opportunity to see old friends who live south of Braunston. People like the Hebie's, Maffi, Bones to name just a few and then there are the repeat customers who come and see us year after year.
However, all is not entirely rosy in the garden and there is often some rough to balance out the smooth. This year the downs included the stinky drains which were so bad that customers complained, and then the inexorable rise of the charity stall which destroys the interest factor of the market as surely as they do on the high street. And then there was the enthusiastic outcry approach from a young helper at the next door stall - "four tickets for a pound, sweets a pound a bag" she screeched out every 15 seconds for a straight two hours. The amazing thing was that this technique actually drove customers from their stall, and ours. My guess is it cost us 10% of sales.... Grr.But tat said the other traders saw sales down a bit of fine weather. Hey, that's the way it goes sometimes.
It takes all sorts!
So that's it for outdoor trading season - Droitwich to Banbury in five months with a lot of fun along the way. See you all next year.