Monthly Archives: May 2009

The week in Pinner: fair and foul

This week saw the annual Pinner Fair; a single day where the normally sleeply, suburban corner of London turns its main streets over to the fairground. Unlike the more varied Rickmansworth Fair we visited a few weekends ago, Pinner’s offering is very much concentrated on rides, games and fun for the teenagers of the area and they come out in their droves.

Bridge Street during Pinner Fair
Bridge Street during Pinner Fair

Pinner Fair has struggled financially in recent years, if the headlines of the local paper are to be believed, with organisers struggling to raise funds to hold the event. Unfortunately the weather didn’t assist, with the morning of the fair being something of a washout, unlike the rest of the week which largely enjoyed fine summer weather. Who know’s how this’ll affect the future of the fair but the local youth certainly weren’t thin on the ground, braving the weather in the morning and filling the streets as the weather improved in the afternoon.

The High Street during Pinner Fair
The High Street during Pinner Fair

The event doesn’t receive universal support, as Twitter comments on the day attested. I must say I prefer the nature of Rickmansworth’s ‘Ricky Week’ which brought the town’s community together with a range of activities (Pinner sees more of this on the likes of St George’s Day), however I’ll certainly not begrudge the local young-folk a day of fun in what otherwise must be a less than enthralling surburban surrounds.

Defeat snatched from the hands of Victory

A few weeks ago the local paper, the Harrow Observer, covered the unexpected closure of the Victory pub, one of central Pinner’s four hostelries (this excludes the fine Vintage Wine Bar, of course). At the time it was reported that the pub would likely reopen within a couple of weeks, however we noted this week that the rear windows and doors of the pub have been boarded up with rather sturdy metal covering, although ironically and I assume for asthetic reasons the frontage appears unchanged. Reopening in the near future, therefore, is now looking unlikely.

The boarded up Victory pub in Pinner
The boarded up Victory pub in Pinner

Similar to the Fair, local opinions of the Victory are varied with it often regarded to as Pinner’s chav pub. I’d suspect its demise therefore will be less than universally mourned. Nevertheless with pub closures well publicised, I find it sad to see their loss and moreover another empty business in Pinner. It’s a fine, historic building and I hope it sees use again soon, perhaps in a more appealing form.

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Chiltern Open Air Museum: Romans vs Britons

We made the trip to the Chiltern Open Air Museum on Sunday for the first time to check out their Romans vs Britons day. The day was the hottest of the year so far and the sky was unbroken blue. This made it a touch warm to be sat out in the open but the entertainment made it all worth while and factor 20 sun cream saw us alright.

The Romans vs Britons event was held by the Vicus re-enactment society and they did a fine job, first with a series of informative tutorials about period weapons and culture, culminating in the battles we had all come along to see. The Romans didn’t keep the strict, close formations they’re renown for, leading in what we thought were rather more mixed results to the battles than would have historically been the case. Nevertheless it provided great entertainment and involved hurled cabbaged amongst other warring techniques.

Here are a few of the photos from the day:

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The return of the shared experience through Twitter

The fragmentation of audiences due to modern multichannel and multiplatform media has lead to a decline in shared experiences. In times past, much of the population would have watched the Morecambe & Wise Christmas Special. This created common cultural experiences for a nation; reference points, shared feeling and identity.

These days, the population has grown but most programmes struggle to manage a few million viewers. Viewing habits are diffused; it’s more difficult to share experiences and feel a common identity as a result. Yet while technology may fragment audiences, it also holds the potential to rekindle these shared experiences once more.

Yesterday was Eurovision day; not a high-point of musical talent perhaps but it still draws significant audiences. It’s the first Eurovision contest since Twitter really hit the mainstream and a huge number of users simultaneously commenting on the event was clearly in evidence. A sizeable chunk of my Twitter followers were commenting with celebrity Tweeters such as @wossy creating a lot of activity.

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Rickmansworth Canal Festival

This weekend sees the Rickmansworth Canal Festival; two days of music, activities, stalls, rides and dozens of canal boats. We went along on the Saturday to see what was going on. It’s an impressive event for a town of some 14,000 and the festival was suitably heaving with people. It was fine to see many local groups present and greater range and variety of stalls than normal present as these type of events. Although there was a period stand with an archery demonstration we would have fancied the chance to have a go ourselves, or other traditional fare such as a coconut shy. Still, those with a destructive streak could have had a go on the crockery smashing stall, pictured below. The festival certainly provided a good day’s entertainment for us and had we chosen we could have stayed late into the evening with a number of music stages and beer tent to provide entertainment.

Here are some highlights of our day at the festival, mostly from around the canal area, which offers a feast of sights, scenes and shapes for the camera lens (click thumbnail to view full-size photo):

Other bloggers have also been talking about the festival:

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Period costume week in Pinner

This week has seen no end of traditional fayre and period costumes in Pinner with the St George’s Day festival last weekend and a May Day medieval festival today. The historic surrounds of Pinner seem to well suit these brief returns to times past. Here are some highlights from the last week: (click images to view larger version)

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