So what else happens in Middlewich during the year?” I asked a customer last weekend.

Not a lot“, was the amused response.

I’m not sure I believe them. The town has always had a friendly and welcoming feel, whenever we’ve visited.

This was our fourth Folk and Boat (that’s where the FAB comes from in case you didn’t know) Festival in Middlewich. And it was full to the brim of magic and music – oh and of course quite a bit of trading by The Home Brew Boat and Funtastic Facepainting!

There were get togethers along the towpath, and much merriment from Thursday to Sunday frequenting The Narrowboat for ‘The Pastry Shoes’ and a jamming ‘open mike’ session, The Boars Head for ‘Earl Grey and The Charwallas’, and Middlewich Narrowboats for two USA bands Billy Lee and The Swamp-Critters and The Roamin’ Jasmine.

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It’s been a hectic few weeks for me – nothing new there I hear you thinking!

Maybe it’s recently felt even more so than normal, or the intensity’s increasing as it’s our busy trading season – and this year I’ve an additional three voluntary roles with the Roving Canal Traders Association to keep on top of.

In the course of the past few weeks my elderly Mum’s ability to care for herself has diminished somewhat. My three sisters and I have, for the past four years now, done our best to support dad and mum by one of us being with them for a couple of days each week. After dad’s death in February 2015, we’ve continued this presence to keep her spirits up. It may have been a good plan to move her nearer to one of her daughters, but she was adamant she wished to stay in her home, as is her absolute right. I spent the majority of time for the two weeks prior to our Floating Market in Fazeley with mum, doing my utmost to secure as much support for her as possible. Read More

Having taken up the invitation of a trade mooring at Mercia Marina in the winter of 2015, we got to know the office staff there quite well. Barry more than me which is just how it is while I’m a regular member of the ‘sandwich’ generation and consequently often absent from Areandare.

Once we left in January 2016, the idea of holding a ‘Floating Market’ there was postulated. Tony Preston and I chatted amiably about how if could work, but it wasn’t until it actually happened that we could highlight the challenges and the possibilities.

This year we were the only trade boat who returned – for a variety of reasons. A number of traders chose not to go back because of the narrowness of the ‘finger’ pontoons. They felt unsafe in there precariousness. And two boats had traded from one pontoon which made it more challenging. Read More

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