Monday, 22 June 2009

Dipping into Water Fest

The River Kennet bustled with brightly colored canal boats and the occasional bellow of a steam whistle Saturday during one of my favorite local events -- Water Fest.

People crowded the walk along Blake's Wharf and up through the abbey ruins, browsing booths and jockeying for a spot to watch the activity on the water. I really love the canal boats -- the long, lean craft are designed to go through narrow passages and to be somewhat homey. Many have flowers and other homey touches, and the insides of at least some had stoves and places to sleep. I'd rather like a long cruise on one. If there are decent facilities for when nature calls that don't require some gross tank-cleaning procedure, that is.

The booths included fairly professional stalls offering food, clothes and crafts, to flea-market type stands run for various charities. Many of these offered several tickets for a quid to try and win a variety of items -- mostly also flea-market type stuff, but it was still fun to play. I won a bottle of chardonnay that my husband thought was awful yet drank anyway, a tiny teddy bear, and a couple of kid's toys I left for the next winner to take. There were also a few costumed people making the rounds, including the two women on stilts that "swam" through the crowd.

We also took a ride on a little boat with a green pavilion on top. I don't know what you'd call it, as it wasn't a canal boat and just held a few passengers. I loved the view of familiar sights from the water, and noticed a few things I'd never seen before.

All in all, it was a fun day that I wish came more than once a year.

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