Sunday, October 13, 2013

Things I didn't know.

Here we lie, hunkered down against the buffeting wind and lashing rain outside, quite content to stay put until the conditions improve. That's the advantage of not being in a hurry. Currently we lie below the tiny village of Grafton Regis from which I took this picture of us moored here yesterday afternoon.

As you can see, it's in the middle of nowhere in particular, and yet, a long long time ago, Henry VIII spend loads of time here, hunting, lazing about and conducting important affairs of state. There was a palace here in fact. No sign of it now. A local sign board tells us that it was here that our 'enery finally decided and announced the split with the Catholic Church and said farewell to Cardinal Wolsey. Also it was the home of that White Queen lady that there was a tv series about recently (which I didn't watch because the trailers made it look too salacious.) anyway, I thought I'd mention this history stuff because I suppose that like us up until now, most boaters pass by without knowing about it. So there.

Before we came here, we stayed in Stoke Bruerne, which boaters do know a lot about so I won't bore you with its history. We were welcomed by Kathryn (owner of NB Leo No2 and champion of the Basingstoke canal) who now owns and lives in one of the cottages alongside the museum. She is a very clever lady in our opinion because she has used her imagination to create a fabulous pad out of a cottage with four, one room stories. Kathryn also introduced us to some of the local characters including Mike, the operator of the little trip boat that takes people into Blisworth tunnel and back, and the cheery and friendly staff of the Spice of Bruerne restaurant where we had a meal that was a cut above yer average Indian restaurant. Kathryn has only been resident in Stoke Bruerne for a few months but it's obvious that she is already becoming a pillar of the community. We had a great evening. Thanks Kathryn.

Coming down the locks yesterday morning I spied a white hat. Probably the best known hat on the canals, because it can be seen on the cover of most issues of Canal Boat magazine.

You guessed it. It was Adam heading North on Briar Rose with Adrian at the tiller. Unable to stop and chat because the short pound was full of match anglers, we agreed to try and get together when they come back down, which will be later today. Yesterday, I believe was Adrian's birthday. HBTY. HBTY HBD Adrian HBTY.

Now to once and for all destroy any semblance of regular chronology that this blog post might have had, let me take you back too our approach to Stoke Bruerne. It's been a while since we came through Blisworth tunnel and I had forgotten what it was like. I must say, after umpteen trips through Braunston and Crick tunnels over the last couple of years, Blisworth tunnel compares more than favourably. In fact I would go so far as to say I actually like it, despite it being 3076 yards long which apparently makes it the ninth longest canal tunnel in the world! I think the restored middle section is really good as the profile shape makes it so easy to see and makes passing oncoming boats quite easy. So next time, I shall actually look forward to going through.

I cant see us moving far, or at all, today. Milton Keynes beckons, but not all that strongly in this nasty weather.

Meanwhile my novel continues to fill itself with deathless prose. I'm up to 42,088 words and every one a gem. It's just that when I string the words together they don't look so good.





Leo No2 said...

I was lovely to see you both - and I really enjoyed your company.

No I have not been clever - I have had the help of a number of wonderful friends who have offered so much good advice. I have filtered all the ideas and have, what I think, is a lovely place to live as a result and I continually ask myself why I am so lucky as to have a lovely house, a beautiful boat and wonderful friends - I feel very lucky.

Thank you for coming to see me.

Leo No2 said...

Neil and Kath. I found out a bit more about Saturday's fishermen on SB flight this morning. It was something arranged by the Navigation to raise funds for MacMillan cancer care. They didn't realise the effect it would have on the boaters. Someone from the canal partnership is going to have a quiet word so it won't happen again.


Vallypee said...

I've been catching up with your posts, here, Neil. Don't even know if you'll see this, but never mind. I've been reading a few NB books lately, so some of the places you mention are making sense to me now (that and google maps). I laughed at your description of your book. You've got me very intrigued now. Every word a gem but no sentences and a possible Mills and Boon to boot. What a build up!