Alton Regency Day

Strange weather, warm one day, cold the next. Yesterday warm in Guildford, today cold in Alton.

Had I not missed a bus, I would have caught an earlier train, and seen a steam train at Alton.

I would usually walk into Alton, but as a bus was about to leave, I hopped on the bus.

I had no idea what a Regency Day was, I had seen mention as I passed through on my way to Winchester earlier in the week.

At the far end of the town a pathetic farmers market already packing up and it was not yet three o’clock. And the stallholders were complaining they usually leave at two.

Then a few craft stalls, and that was it.

I saw a couple of soldiers but not as I expected to find, people in period dress, though the two soldiers were two more than I had seen at Aldershot Victoria Day the week before.

I learnt, had I been there in the morning I would have found people in period dress.

Cafe Plus I have never found open. I walked through the open door, to be told they were closed. As only a little after three o’clock I queried why they were closed. We close when we run out of food. But are you not a coffee shop, do people not pop in for afternoon coffee? We close when we run out of food.

The coffee catering supply coffee so not missing out.

It was then late lunch at little Italian coffee shop Bottega dei Sapori. Food fine, the service terrible, the coffee not good either.

I then had a little wander through Alton, but not through the water meadows.

I used to like Alton, an unspoilt little market town, but not any more. Many closed shops, too many indie places closed, the little wholefood shop, O’Connor’s Secret Garden, Brock’s Farm Shop, and now the excellent greengrocer has gone.

Alton once had an excellent food market, Hampshire farmers took over the running and destroyed it.

Wandering back through the town I saw people in period dress. With blankets and wicker baskets they appeared to be heading to a picnic.

I looked in the bookshop, at least it is still there. They were closed, but said come in.

Had I not popped in, I would have caught a steam train leaving as I approached the station.

Alton Regency Day is the start of a week of commemoration of Jane Austen, who lived at nearby Chawton.

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