Ride a cock Horse!

I wanted to write a little post this morning to big up my town. Banbury, for those of you who don’t know, a market town in rural Oxfordshire just of the M40. It sits in the middle of a triangle of far more exciting places: Oxford, Stratford and Northampton (although i feel there will be many who will beg to differ about my description of the latter!) and feels sometimes, like the land that time forgot. People frequently slate it on social media and it always seems to be the last to get or do anything. To be fair, I frequently bemoan the place wishing it were ‘more like Edinburgh’ or ‘had some flair’ etc (I’m sure my vocabulary has been far more decorative!)

It’s so well suited in its location but if you are looking for anything remotely zero waste (for example) we seem to be in a void. In fact, most things I seem to want to find are external to about a 30 mile radius from Banbury!

But in recent months there has been a slow change. Banbury always has had a good market, small, but fresh fruit, plants, bread, sometimes meat and fish and every three weeks now, a zero waste pop up shop run by Nothing but Footprints. I was so pleased to see refills of household cleaning stuff as well as a small but well stocked amount of pantry goods. They have a big range of bathroom things such as toothbrushes, toothpaste tabs WITH fluoride (sorry this is the reason I’ve been avoiding them, I’m afraid I want to have the fluoride in my toothpaste. I don’t have a filling and wish it to remain that way -( I’ll hear your debates, but it won’t change my mind, there’s a reason dentists recommend it!), soaps and the usual culprits, but also the Turning the Tide on Plastic book and menstrual pads. I was pretty impressed! I had a great conversation with the owner who said they are looking for premises but probably on one of the industrial estates as one of my biggest bug bears for zero waste shops is that I will have heavy jars and bags and need to have somewhere close by to park my car and it is clearly the issue of others too. He mentioned that they want to maintain a presence for the ‘curious’ shopper too though, so perhaps that can be done by also having a stall on the market every third Saturday? So watch this space!!

As I went onto my next errand, I was reminded about an article I read in the BGuardian this week and that the parks in Banbury are installing water fountains again. There will then be no excuse for people to buy water in single use bottles!

Walking down Parson’s Street to my next errand on the list I was acutely aware of how hard Banbury retailers are trying: we have several really lovely restaurants including Japanese and Turkish, there are a couple of independent antique/second hand shops that look so inviting. A couple of weekends ago my son and I noticed a new vintage shop had opened which looks promising and recently the tattoo shop I use has moved premises and has now got a fab coffee and juice bar attached which….as of today, sells their juice freshly pressed and takeaway in JAM JARS! These will be returnable as soon as they have their deposit scheme in place apparently, but for now, wash them and return them or reuse them yourself at home. Well done BLEND!

We also have great events going on: People’s park this weekend, the Banbury Festival in Spice Ball Park, a food festival each year in the market place and Canal day in October. We have the Mill Arts centre that offers a range of workshops and classes (I’m off to do a silver bangle making day in September) as well as many gigs and we are soon to be offered Lock29. I am very excited for this new food and drink space.

So I really felt the need to get on here this morning and give a shout out to our little town in it’s attempts to keep up with the big guys!

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