Thursday, July 8, 2010

Blog Day 55. Misery.

They are a miserable lot round here.

I walked from Braunston to Brinklow, 25.5 kms, on the Oxford Canal. 1528.5 kms so far.

Soon after I set out, I saw a narrowboat pulling out from the bank. This is really noticeable at that time, because most of the boat people don’t seem to crank themselves up until 10 am or so, and I start walking between 6 and 7. I recognised a boat. For a couple of hours yesterday I kept (I accidentally wrote “kep” there but had to change it in case you thought Dolly Parton is writing this blog) passing it. When I stopped to proselytise, it passed me. When I started walking, I passed the boat again. The “driver” did not look up. After several of these incidents, I said something banal like “We’ll have to stop meeting like this”. He said “You’ve done a few miles”. End of conversation. Today I stopped and reminded him that we had been passing and repassing for much of yesterday. I expected a bit of banter about this. What I got was “Yes”.

I came off the canal at Rugby to walk into the town centre for a coffee. This was a bit of a blunder. I hadn’t realised just how big Rugby is. At one stage I thought I would be adding many kms to today’s walk. But with the help of my Satmap, I managed to strike more or less due north to meet the canal where it swooped round Rugby. I rejoined the canal at Newbold on Avon, where the first thing I had to do was walk through this spectacular tunnel.

The day had started out with spits and spots of rain, as John Kettley used to say on the weather forecast, but turned out bright and hot. We are now parked up at the Bull’s Head in Brinkley. Mr and Mrs Septimus have just arrived. They are staying in the pub tonight and Septimus is walking on with me to Atherstone tomorrow.

Oh, the miserable bit! The man on the boat may not have been a local, but most of the people in Rugby seemed to walk past with their eyes firmly fixed to the floor in case they should accidentally speak to, or even look at, a stranger. Like English people abroad. Maybe they are still ashamed of that fellow at Rugby School who picked up the soccer ball and ran with it.

Oh, OK, not most of them – some of them. I spoke to a number of very friendly people. The jury will disregard my remarks. But these two fishermen did not even turn round or answer when I passed and spoke to them.

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