Though Banbury Canal Festival was only here for one day, on Sunday last, the character of the Banbury Waterside for the whole of this week so far has been transformed.
The crowds at Banbury Lock on Canal Day
Before the weekend was upon us all the moorings outside the Castle Quay Shopping Mall were suspended to visitors, having been booked previously by trading boats and others relevant for the coming festival. So those like us, patiently awaiting work to be carried out by Tooley’s Boatyard, had to be moved to the fourteen day moorings to the south of the lock.
Banbury Canal Day
Furthermore since the dry-dock at the yard has been suspended to accommodate the ‘Theatre in the Dock’ for single performances on two separate nights this week, it too has been out of commission all week in preparation. For the purposes of the Canal day in fact the whole of Tooley’s Yard was opened to the public as part of the Museum, so very little work has been done at all.
Both our ships were moored originally at the Castle Quay but to avoid the inevitable rush for the limited fourteen day moorings when the time came for everybody to move out for the festival, Sharon and I shifted the boats very early on in the previous week. Sharon, in the absence of her sister, who was temporarily in Newark, took command of ‘Roots and Wings’ and very competently navigated her through two turning points as well as Banbury Lock to arrive at the new moorings. To add to her record she also took on fresh water and emptied the cassette toilet for the first time without any assistance from anybody.
Since both boats are awaiting either work to be carried out or concluded by Tooleys it has been a quiet week for us. But because Janis and I volunteered to help prepare for ‘Theatre in the Dock’ for my friend Kate, who is producing it as well as performing, our week has been quite busy. Nonetheless during this period I’ve had time to recollect my thoughts and feelings of our wonderful and memorable Summer. Even though we are well into Autumn the weather remains fine, the Sun shines during the day and the air is warm during nights that are becoming longer as Winter approaches. However these remaining vestiges of Summer hang on encouraging my thoughts.
After a cruise that must have been very unforgettable Sharon left us last Wednesday to fly home to Australia leaving Janis and myself on our own once more. She was a helpful crew member and we shall miss her.
Tonight is the last night of ‘Theatre in the Dock’. Immediately afterwards we shall need to dismantle the stage and return all the chairs and tables to the town hall, ready for the dock to be refilled with water in order to take in its first floating customer tomorrow morning. Things will then rapidly return to normal I feel and we shall go back to the moorings adjacent to the yard in due course to await our turn to be seen to. ‘Roots and Wings’ goes into the dock on Monday while ‘Futurest’ awaits the conclusion of her engine service.