The picture above was taken in Buckingham Market on Saturday 11th April at about 11:15am. I had been employed by the Town Council to entertain the people passing through the market. It is part of the council plan to attract more people to the town (and support the traders) by offer free entertainment each week. They have a selection of bands, dancers and novelty acts (me!)
It was different from the events that I have done for the Town Council before. Normally I am working at a specific occasion like St George's Day, Christmas or Bonfire Night. This was just your average market day (all be it Easter Bank Holiday Weekend) - the weather was miserable (no change there then! - It seems every time I don my Cap'n'bells for the Town it rains or remains gloomy and overcast for the duration) Sometimes it feels like Mother Nature does not have much of a sense of humour and appears to like making me work even harder in order to try and put a smile on peoples faces.
My day in Buckingham started at 10:30am. I had left plenty of time to arrive and park. It is one downside of good ol' Buckingham. The parking is a long standing issue and not one that can be solved with ease. However, today was going to be a good day, I got a parking space immediately. I did not have to play the game where you slowly stalk pedestrians as they leave the shopping arcade and head toward their car, creeping up behind them with your engine ticking over quietly in the hope you don't alert other potential parkers to the fact that a space may become available. It is the wholly selfish (and wholly British) act of - I spotted them - their space is mine! Sometimes it backfires horribly and you follow someone all the way back to their car only to realise they are not leaving but just dropping shopping off before they continue their wander of the market. So, despite the weatherman being against me, it seemed the Parking God was on my side.
I wandered up to the town centre attracting the usual looks that Gold and Claret silk and jingling bells only can. (Although, there is another chap in Buckingham with bright orange trousers, a top hat, dyed hair and equally yellow shoes that does attract some attention too! - I have heard one young girl remark "Is that man the other Jester" upon seeing this resident) - I started the morning by having a chat with some of the local market traders. It was the first time I had spoken to many of them. What a lovely crowd they turned out to be. Laughing and Joking about the weather (mainly because if they did not, it would be tears every Saturday) and how more people are bound to come along soon. (Which they did, thankfully) - It was really nice to see the community spirit amongst the people that were shopping and the people that were trading. Everything from Fruit and Veg (the old market classic) to DIY and bulk buying of home stuff (Like Costco in a tent)
They really appreciated the efforts of the Town Council to set up the entertainment to draw people in and thus I got a warm welcome from them all. When the Town Council camera packed up before a shot of me in the market could be captured, one of the traders took the photo on his phone and promptly text it across to me. Only too happy to help. (It is the picture at the start of the post, by the way) - I started to wander and make balloons for the passing children, presented them with mini Easter eggs and generally attempted to provoke mirth. On the whole I feel it was pretty successful.
The Buckingham and Winslow Advertiser came along and got some shots of some children spinning plates with me, it seems that the local media are keen to promote the market in Buckingham too. Quite right too! It is a lovely little market and it is very useful to the community, especially the older ladies and gents that don't want to trek out of the middle of town to go to Tesco or don't have the ability to do so. Flowers, Honey, Jam, Fruit, Veg, Cleaning stuff, Bread, DIY. Pretty much everything you could ask for is there, all under one long row of canvas.
So please, do come along to Buckingham Market, support your local traders - they have so much competition with the large shops like Tesco and the like swallowing their trade, Milton Keynes shopping centre dragging people away from the town itself and the miserable weather keeping people indoors. If you don't use it - you will lose it. Simple as that. You might even see a Town Jester wandering the streets. Come and say hello.