Monday 3rd to Sunday 9th October 2011

Monday was awful. Pat called to say Mike had given up the fight. I felt bad, so how must Pat have been feeling? Mike will be missed, his humour was rather special and there were things that he knew that very few others knew so he was always in demand especially on MOD subjects. Evenings on the boat sharing a plate and a bottle putting the world to rights won’t be forgotten. One particular night will stick in my memory – I won at cards, just the once.
Ever seen a paddle boat weed cutter? Neither had I until this morning.
weedcutter

Wansford was our next stop, it was quiet, no trains on the move and as we had arrived at closing time we wandered the station platforms with our ice-creams admiring the engines and assorted carriages.
This engine puzzled me until I realised it had a pointy front. As you can see I’m becoming a connoisseur.
steam

Carriages were closed so we couldn’t smell their insides. V took a picture of the one with a postbox so I took one of her taking one of it.
post box

But how are you expected to post a letter when the darned thing is haring along the track?

Jolly Fothers was our next stop, took the farmer 10 minutes to call for his £4 from the second I stepped ashore with the first rope. How does he know, and where does he spring from?
Bit disappointed to find all the souvenir hunters had nicked most of Fotheringhay Castle. The only bit left was behind railings. I couldn’t quite reach it with my hammer to get a sample.
Fothers

We wandered up town (town?) and marvelled at the buildings. So smart and tidy I wasn’t surprised to see that the conker trees had dropped their fruit into neat piles. We helped ourselves to a few and I’m afraid I kicked a couple across the road.
St Mary and All Saints was out of bounds because the decorators were in, Michael Angelo’s business cards littered the entrance. We did the gravestones tour instead.
st marys

Couldn’t capture the stained glass windows from inside so you’ll have to imagine how beautiful they look.
stained glass

A small paddock outside the church contained (but only just) a very frisky horse. Clumpity-clump it ran head-long across the small field to a low stone wall and only just managed to stop without leaping over it. Make a nice photo I said to V but would the flipping thing stand still? Twenty clicks later and this is the best I could do.

orse

Passed a lovely pad for those with an eye to quality. Lilford Hall was apparently unloved and unwanted until recently, can you believe it. Just look at those chimneys.
Lilford Hall

Thrapston was Wednesday’s destination, the moorings by the sailing club. Ping, ping, ping went the halyards on the masts all night. Must have been the windiest night ever. We moved to the Islip mooring further up river as soon as the weather improved.
Islip

Nine Arch Bridge is a quietish spot and really handy for the shops. I say shops but I mean shop – there’s only one I need to visit and that’s the man’s shop on the Denford road. Nuts, bolts, screws, wire, paint and glues, everything you need for farm and garden.
You can just get two 60 foot boats end to end on these moorings, and I proved you could turn without having to back out.

Saw some old friends (in both senses of the word) on Saturday. Penny and Graham dropped in on their tour of old haunts before returning to Brisbane. First met this couple when our David was in nappies. From what Graham was saying I’m living in the wrong country and have been getting paid a fraction of what I should have during all those years. I knew it but nobody believed me.
P&G

Sundays we try to rest-up but we had to leave because of EA’s 48 hour rule so we pottered up to Irthingborough.
This used to be called Rushden & Diamonds but it’s now getting used to its new name Kettering Town FC. The services are still completely shot because no one has sorted out who will look after them but why turn off the water? I thought that was unnecessary.

Small boy passing the boat this afternoon made us laugh – “Cor, look at that boat with that little door. How do you get out of there? No one is that small except my friend at school”.

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