11 October 2009--Travel day...but it's only about a half-hour drive to Banbury, if you go directly,
so I don't. Instead I head south to Chipping Campden, a handsome Cotswolds market town built almost entirely of beautiful
golden limestone. It must be nearly incandescent in early morning or late afternoon sunlight. None of that today--it's
damp and drizzly. That does nothing to deter a group of Morris dancers in the market square. I spend a good while
photographing the town.
I pass through another pretty town, Moreton-in-Marsh, on my way to Banbury. On arriving, I wander around a while before finding my B&B. My greeting there is rather abrupt, in stark contrast to Pascal's in Stratford, and I begin to feel a little uneasy about the place.
I find the town hall, thanks to directions gotten in a local pub, the Olde Reindeer, draped with banners proclaiming it to be a sponsor of the Banbury Canalside Folk Festival. The last events of the weekend are taking place at the hall, and I buy a ticket that will allow me to see old favorites the Battlefield Band a little later. Then back to the pub to express my gratitude by having a pint.
The Batties perform a fine set to close the festival, and I catch up with them in the ad hoc bar that has been set up in a room adjacent to the hall. Pints had been for sale for £2.50 earlier, but have been marked down to £1.50 in an attempt to empty the casks. I've just paid when I hear someone say, "He's with the band!" It's guitarist Sean O'Donnell, and he's pointing at me. I'm given my money back, and do what I am able to help drain the barrels.
Reminded that I'd last seen the band last year in Reeth, in the Yorkshire Dales, keyboardist Alan Reid arches an eyebrow and asks, "Have ye no' been home, then?" I have to think about that a moment. It's starting to feel like a long trip.