Monday, September 10, 2007

Slough Canal Festival

At last, a warm sunny weekend at a festival. No rain, no mud, no hassle - lovely. What a change to be able to sit out in the dark without feeling chilly.

The Slough festival is as I expected not much more than a village fete in size, but on the Sunday in particular, local people turned out in large numbers to enjoy the events.

I guess the aim of the event is to make more people aware of the local canal and its value as a wildlife park and a healthy recreation resource. I'm sure it worked too as most people took a stroll along the bank looking at the boats, or going for a boat trip , or taking advantage of the free fuishing tuition from professional coaches. Dozens and dozens of kids had a go and most of them caught fish, including Jacob who caught nine in about 20 minutes.

Quite few people asked us about narrowboating as we sat outside Herbie, and we gave a few guided tours of the inside of the boat, including one for the deputy mayor! Kath's recycled plastic bag bunting was a great success and I think was the reason so many came up to our boat. I fear we may feature in this week's Slough Observer as we were photographed and interviewed by them.

Entrance to the festival was free thanks to the sponsorship of ICI paints who have their factory half a mile away, and most of the stalls and displays were run by local charities and wildlife and waterways groups. The local residents association were doing a roaring trade in samosas.

The arena entertainments were surprisingly good. I didn't expect to be impressed by a King Fu demonstration, but I was! The complexity and grace of the movements is a sight to behold. Whether it is any use against an attacker I'm not sure, but it sure looks pretty. They also did a Chinese Lion dance. Amusingly, the bloke on the Tannoy wasn't sure whether he was announcing Lion dancing or Line dancing.

The only disappointing thing was that only 15 boats showed up. Surely we can do better than this. There must be over three hundred boats moored within 5 miles of Slough. I know the canal is narrow and shallow but that's no excuse. Its still a lovely cruise. Those who did make it included old deep draughted working boats and a huge Dutch barge. I'm going to make a point over the next year to encourage other boaters to come.

No comments: