I had no internet signal last night (Tuesday) so was unable to transmit what I have written below. I have published it tonight separately and hope that you can still enjoy it. Unfortunately because of the varied signal that I receive on my travels, this is likely to be a recurring challenge for both you and me I think.
‘Futurest’ and I arrived yesterday afternoon at the village of Braunston in Northamptonshire. Though there is only one Braunston shown on any map, in fact it consists of two villages entirely different. While the one sits serenely and rather haughtily, fronted by its Georgian looking manor house and tall spired church, along the ridge of a hill, as it has done for centuries, with its higgledy piggledy collection of brown stone cottages, the other has its feet firmly fixed in the valley below alongside and around the Canal.
I refer to the village consisting of hundreds of canal boats sat in serried diagonal rows in the large marina, like the bones of a giant fish, as well as the hotch potch moored alongside the canal itself. They say that no two humans are alike. This rule also applies to canal boats and looking around in Braunston only proves this point with great emphasis. In this small area in the valley is a whole industry supporting boating from boat builders and repairers through to chandlers, brokers and rope makers, painters and sign writers.
And though the sandstone cottages on the hill, unchanged for hundreds of years, still remain rather aloof, they too need, and are supported by, the itinerant population in the valley, who climb single-mindedly every day from Bridge number 1 up the steep grey footpath, with green paddocks of grazing sheep and horses on either side, to buy their provisions from the busy village shop and pubs, to have their hair arranged at the local stylist and to buy their meat at the butcher. While leisure boating remains so popular the village of Braunston will prosper and never disappear.
Earlier I had a text from my friend David, whom I am on my way to meet at Yelvertoft, to ask me to collect for him a tin of paint that he had ordered by phone. The chandlery was a short walk along the towpath and very convenient for me. I was glad to help him out. I also called at Tradline, the rope makers, situated in the marina who were able to supply me with a hank of 6mm cotton rope for my fancy work, a set of sail maker’s needles, all different, a reel of sail makers twine and a cube of beeswax, to wax the twine.
At the end of the day the Sun was glad to set I think behind clouds that had leaned heavily upon us throughout.
And all was quiet, dark and peaceful in Braunston.
Heavy clouds dusting the skeletons of Elms and Oaks
The Lonely Church of Lower Shugburgh
My first lambs of the season
The unique iron bridges at Braunston Turn