Sunday, 20 June 2010

Watery ways

A saturday off is a rare treat in my diary, so I took the opportunity to pop into town to check out Waterfest, a local community event to celebrate our wonderful waterways. My pals Jo and Lucy were involved in organising the day through their work on the Reading Borough Council events team.

When I arrived the day was in full swing, with lots of stalls set up in the Forbury Gardens raising awareness of Environmental Issues, and charity stalls and crafts along the canalside. There was a lovely atmosphere with entertainers walking around on stilts, bunting blowing in the breeze, bands playing and deck chairs set up for the audience to relax and enjoy the ambiance.

Along the waterfront, there were so many lovely little narrowboats lined up with boaters who had come to support the event, take part in a boat parade, and were happy to chat to people about their boats and show people around their homes.

I have always fancied setting up home in a little narrowboat and love all the cheerful traditional styling like the rose and castle decorative details that you see painted on shutters, watering cans, buckets and planters. I would love to spend some time on a barge to see if I could live with so little width! I think it would be really cosy and I love the idea of being so close to nature.

After a little walk along the canalside, checking out the boats and the charity stalls, having a rummage through some jumble I stopped to enjoy a band playing on chocolate island, and headed back to meet friends. The sun even came out for a little while and blue skies poked through the grey clouds as "La Mort Subite" took to the stage. These guys are a great little band with a beguiling mixed heritage and a rousing eastern european sound that really appeals to my gypsy soul!

Unfortunately, we missed their second set to go on a boat trip, which was delayed by the rubber duck race fiasco (the ducks floated upstream rather than down stream defying the laws of physics and we had to wait for them to show up before we could go on our little journey round the local canals). I snaffled some rather scrummy rum and raisin, and butterscotch fudge, as our boat pootled along the waterways around Reading. The windows were wide open which I love, and the boat seemed rather low in the water so we were almost at eye level with Mallards, Canadian Geese and Coots who swam alongside us hoping for some meagre morsels. It was lovely to see all the lush foliage along the canalside, to see little ducklings swimming with their mums, and to spot birds nesting along the way.

It was a really lovely relaxed day spent down by the waterside, a cheap family day out and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. I certainly did and fully intend to check out either a narrowboat holiday or at the very least hiring a boat for a day so that I can get a feel for whether I would enjoy living on a boat. Watch this space.

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