Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Half-term trip to Oxford

This is becoming a regular fixture for us. My husband works in Oxford and so in the school holidays we drive over, spend an afternoon shopping and/or looking around and then meet up with him after work for something to eat.
Now the boys are older they like to go around by themselves leaving me the luxury of a couple of hours by myself to explore. I'm not really a shopper at all and feel very overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff in the shops and by the crowds of people. However I have found a small Fair Trade shop in Oxford (next to St Michael's church, Cornmarket Street) which stocks some clothes including People Tree and accacia (Anokhi and Chandni Chowk), jewelery, handmade notebooks and cards, baby clothes and loads of handmade gift items. I bought a summer top made from hand loomed cotton, made in India. I have mixed feelings about buying Fair Trade products from abroad as opposed to buying something made locally, as there is still the environmental cost of transport to be considered. I also wonder if small communities could become dependent on the trade for a major source of income and then should the market became unsustainable, because of rising fuel prices maybe and the market for their goods disappeared whether they would be in a worse position than before. For me the answer seems to be to reduce the total amount of things bought new, so reducing the amount of resources consumed wherever they come from, but when buying new, choose a source that acts responsibly towards the people it employs and the processes it uses.

After my shopping I had some time left and spent a while wandering around Oxford and trying to escape some of the crowds.

A few photographs of Oxford.

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