I’m sure I’m not the first to have noticed that almost without exception behind every canal-side factory building, shoe-horned in between the back wall and the canal, there’s someone’s little piece of heaven; consisting of a tatty chair or two, a couple of wooden crates or an occasional makeshift table.

Workers on tea breaks; the odd angler; the starers musing at what fate has thrown their way; the romantics and the poets; the dreamers, the escapees and the seekers after a moment or two’s silence; they’re all there, staring into the canal over a mug as you pass.

Some speak, some jeer, some smile or wave, or simply accept you as a periferal part of a familiar tableau played out daily in front of them on their own very small piece of canal.

Again, I’m sure I’m not the first to do this, but I’m going to photograph them. Here’s a couple I caught below Banbury Town Lock last weekend…

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That wooden bench is evidently well used, but at 90 degrees to the canal, does it count?
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I wonder what’s the social relationship between the users of the bright circular table and the isolated green recliner just a few feet away???
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3 thoughts on “A place to sit and stare

  1. You’ve missed out the biggest users, the modern lepers, the smokers. I gave it up years ago but still feel the occasional twinge of pity for my brother (& sister) addicts. How soon the tattered robe and bell?

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    1. Graham, of course! You’re absolutely right. These places are indeed the smokers den too, as they indulge in what I guess is an increasingly illicit and often prohibited activity…

      best wishes

      Nick

      Like

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