During a rare few hours of dry weather we went into Bath to wander round the Christmas market. It grows larger year by year, losing character as it spreads up Milsom Street and out from the centre. I like it best where the stalls are huddled around the Abbey creating the atmosphere of a medieval fair. The city of Bath is beautiful whatever the weather, but especially so when highlighted by rays of sunshine.
Mounted police were on patrol by the abbey entrance, no doubt keeping an eye out for thieves and pickpockets. The horses were handsome creatures, impeccably behaved as people came to stroke and admire them.
We aimed our visit for late afternoon so that I could photograph the dusk and early evening light when the market looks its best. I felt sorry for the stall owners, they had been battling with cold, miserable weather ever since the market opened.
Lights came on as the sky darkened
The gin stall was well attended!
and lovely choral singing from local schoolchildren.
What did I buy? A noisy stall holder was demonstrating his wares, a variety of small musical instruments, pan pipes and ocarinas and sound objects in the shape of animals. Surely there would be something here that our small grandson would enjoy. Various sizes of wooden frog croaked wonderfully when a stick was rubbed along the ridges of their backs, but they looked far too ugly to contemplate. The painted ocarinas were pretty but made of pot that would easily break. The stall holder blew on a penguin but the sound did not impress. "Have you got a hedgehog?" asked Himself, which started up a surreal British humour competition. While they amused themselves in bizarre exchanges a small audience gathered. I continued my search for something that could be enjoyed by someone age one and a half. "The cow looks nice," I said. "Blow up its arse," the stall holder told me. Well, dear reader, I had to buy it after that! And it makes a lovely noise.