Karen and me posing by the Herb boat on Saturday
Before I start writing up the last few days I must clear up a couple of mistakes on recent blog entries. I had originally said that this year’s Fairport Convention – Cropredy Festival was the 50th and then changed that to the 40th. Apparently, it is 50 years since the band’s first gig and 37 years since their first festival at Cropredy.
Wednesday was a day of calm before the storm as all the last-minute preparations were made around the village and the festival site. It was a miserable day weather-wise and, as with most of the last couple of weeks, I spent most of the time resting my back with short strolls around the village in between.
We wandered down the towpath at one point to see some of the trade boats but they were all shut up as it was raining.
The Hippie boat
Cakes on the cut
More trade boats shut up because of the weather
Over the weekend the weather was better and it looked like they were doing a good trade.
On one of my other walks I came across a road called Cup and Saucer which is one of the many odd names of the streets in the village, like Cream Cup Lane.
Half way along the road is a large stone on the verge which looks like a cup and saucer with a teaspoon in it.
Karen got home early as it was our wedding anniversary and, after dinner, we popped to the Brasenose Arms for a drink with Mike and to listen to one of the fringe bands. I’ve probably said before that we like going to the pubs and listening to the fringe bands and didn’t really fancy going to see the bands in the festival itself as there were none on the bill that really took our fancy.
On Thursday, Mike and Lesley popped round first thing and as we were standing on the pontoon chatting I heard a girl on the other side of the canal call out, ‘Hello Neil’. The sun was in my eyes and I couldn’t see who it was and then realised it was Issie and Mike. We first met them over the winter a couple of years ago as they were continuously cruising the same area as us. They gave up their jobs a year ago and are now cruising around the northern canals but came down by train to camp at the festival. We’ve always liked Issie’s boat as it is an unusual lemon colour and also called Black Sheep which I suspect is linked to the fact she was/is a shepherdess. They have kept both their boats so I would be interested in finding out how they single hand two boats through narrow locks together – I must ask next time we meet up.
In the evening Gill and her friend Clare came over and we went for a drink at the Red Lion whilst waiting for Karen to get home from work and come and meet us. Gill has a river cruiser called Yogurt Pot and we spent some time locking along the River Avon with her and Carl several months ago and have kept in touch ever since.
At 11 o’clock in the evening we drove to Banbury to pick up Joanna; she had come down on the train from Edinburgh and was staying with us for a couple of nights as she was going to a wedding in Lichfield on Saturday.
The main event on Friday was to find somewhere to have breakfast. The villagers club together to provide breakfasts for the festival goers over the four days at various venues. They are open between 7 and 12 and we just got to our chosen venue, the village hall, just in time!
One of the breakfast venues – the canoe club - we are moored the other side of the willow tree
During the festival, the villagers construct scarecrows and place them in their front gardens. The idea is that visitors vote for the best scarecrow and make a donation to charity. We spent a lot of the afternoon walking around the village finding all the scarecrows so we could judge them for the competition which is called Scareport.
I won’t include the pictures of the 40 odd scarecrows that Karen took but have included a couple. Karen wanted to take a picture of me and put it in a montage of scarecrow pictures to see if anyone spotted that I wasn’t a scarecrow 😊 Our favourite was the Queen of Tarts and not just because she was holding a box of free jam tarts!
|The Queen of Tarts|
|Most people at the festival are old enough to remember this era!|
|The village squire|
|Apparently a reveller started playing these at four o'clock on Saturday morning|
|A version of Marge|
On Saturday morning, we ran Jo back to Banbury so she could get to the wedding at Lichfield and then we met up with Mike and Lesley to watch one of the fringe bands at the Brasenose.
|Saying goobye to Jo at Banbury station|
Everyone enjoying a bit of sun in the pub garden
As we drove to Banbury we went out of the village on a road we hadn’t walked along before and Karen was most upset as there were a couple of dozen more scarecrows that she had missed!
In the evening, we went to the main festival for a few hours.
|On our way out|
We saw a band called Marillion who I quite like and they played a good set. They were followed by a Scottish acoustic folk singer and then the main event was Fairport Convention who were on for three hours until midnight. We listened to the first couple of their songs and then came back to the boat – their music isn’t really to our taste. I know it’s strange coming to a festival where the music is based around a band we don’t really follow but the atmosphere is great and the fringe bands tend to be good.
We will probably stay here for a couple more weeks to watch the village return to normal. The canal is going to get really busy over the next couple of days as all the boats leave – there must be a good two miles of moored boats. A dozen boats have passed us already this Sunday morning and it’s only nine o’clock!
|Finally, Buddy enjoying Fairport Convention|