May Day

I’ve been a little down recently and wasn’t particularly looking forward to the bank holiday weekend. My ex was around and I could see myself staying in for three days – again. Happily, it didn’t work out that way.

First of all, Ben came up from Oxford on Saturday. Among other things, we managed to convert the washing-machine-shaped table I’ve had for two months into a fully plumbed-in cleaning applicance, which is excellent. In return I introduced him to the comedic wonders that are Green Wing and Team America: World Police 🙂

Mum phoned me on Sunday morning to ask if I was going with her to the Cavalcade festival in Little Venice – the canal basins of Paddington. My initial reaction was somewhere between ‘no’ and ‘I’m asleep’, but she talked me into it. Dad was already there on our narrowboat, so we joined him at lunchtime and stayed until Monday evening.

Cavalcade 2006

Cavalcade’s a free canal festival that’s open to both boaters and the public. There are plenty of stalls set out along the towpath, with a surprising number of organised events. I ate this:

Strawberries, marshmallow and chocolate

but not these:

Simply Olives

saw a human fruit machine:

The Human Fruit Machine

and watched the parade of illuminated boats:

Illuminated Boat Parade

I’ve many more photos; I’ll try to put them onto Flickr tomorrow.

I’ve been to a fair few boat festivals, and they have a definite charm. Cavalcade was pleasant enough, but I felt it was slightly marred by some of the stalls. There was a Scientology tent offering ‘free stress tests’ (likely quick e-meter readings) and trying to flog as many copies of Dianetics as possible. I don’t think this is ok; Scientology’s actually rather unpleasant and demands large amounts of money from people it hooks in with the standard religious promises of answers/happiness/meaning. Their stall was purely for the purpose of ensnaring the unsuspecting public, and it proved surprisingly popular1. I also thought that the stalls selling magnetic therapies bordered on the offensive; ‘miracle health cures’ and car-engine efficiency-increasing magical magnetic doohickeys are stupid enough, but displaying scaremongering newspaper articles regarding mobile phone emissions and children’s health (that are, incidentally, completely unfounded) and then trying to peddle ridiculous magnetic ‘cures’ is despicable, and I’d implore the organisers to take a stand against it.

Apart from the above irritation, however, I had a fun time 🙂 There’s a decent blog roundup here (update: updated with link to this year’s festival – oops :-)).

Overall, the May-day bank holiday was far superior to Easter!

  1. see this recent Rolling Stone article for a complete debunking of L. Ron Hubbard’s cult []