Welcome to family, friends and visitors. Here you will find interesting (hopefully) pictures of my part of the world, news of our household and probably, long ramblings about anything that catches my interest.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Barnstaple Fair.

It's Fair time again, a tradition that goes back many hundreds of years. Originally the fair was a 'hiring' fair and a livestock show spread over 4 days. Nowadays we have a carnival, fun fair and fireworks. The appearance of a white kid glove on a pole emerging from a window of the guild hall signifies that the Fair is officially open. We still have a lot of pomp and circumstance with the presence of the Mayor and other dignitaries having their chance to parade around in their chains of office.
The doorway below the glove is decorated with fresh flowers for the occasion. The fun fair opens in the week and all my children will visit the fair at least once. Today, being Saturday, there is a large carnival which is happening as I type. I have been part of the carnival several times when my boys were part of the sea cadets who always enter the carnival with a tableau on the back of an extremely large lorry. I used to be one of the volunteers who walked along collecting money in a bucket. It is traditional for the spectators to throw money at the carnival lorries as well as depositing coins in the collecting buckets. Peter and I will be going back into town shortly so that we can walk over to the fun fair and watch people enjoying themselves on the rides. Apart from the dodgems we're a bit too fragile to go on the rides and they are horrendously expensive anyway. It is just fun to people watch and of course I'll have my trusty camera and spare battery. When it gets dark there will be a fireworks display which everyone gathers on the bridge to watch. After that families tend to take their tired children home and the fair becomes the haunt of the youngsters.

Butchers' Row, on the left is the side of the Pannier Market and on the right a line of shops which were converted from stables many years ago. In the 19th C these were all fresh meat shops but now there are several bakeries, delicatessens, green grocers and whole-food shops as well as some butchers. Despite not going to bed till 5.00 (silly me) I was in town by 9.00 this morning for a relaxed time browsing the shops. I needed to have some chill out time and it was lovely to meet up with my friend for cappuccinos and cheesecake (raspberry & white chocolate this time), at our favourite patisserie. I tried on trousers, shorts and shoes (shame your feet don't get smaller) but only bought bits and pieces. I liked the fact that I still keep picking up the wrong size clothes and have to come out and get a smaller size.

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