Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 54. Small World.

A much better signal today, so I have inserted the photographs which were missing from my blog on Monday and Tuesday.

It was a long walk from Claydon Locks to Braunston. When we were planning this yesterday evening, we realised that I would pass through the 1,500 kms mark today, rather than Thursday as I predicted a few days ago. And so it came to pass. I walked 35.5 kms and the total progress now is 1503 kms. So we shall have a rare bottle of wine with dinner this evening.

For a change – since I arrived in England, that is – the day started cloudy and windy. It soon became humid, although the wind kept up. The towpath of the canal is surprisingly uneven, banked, and overgrown. Clearly, it is mowed regularly, but the path between higher vegetation, including nettles and brambles, is pretty narrow. The vegetation is winning the battle at the moment and is encroaching on the path. With the wind whipping said nettles and brambles about this morning, I ended the day a bit lacerated as well as lathered.

Soon after setting off I saw a fox on the opposite bank, only a few feet away from me. It was carrying some choice morsel in its mouth, presumably taking it home for the young ‘uns. I slapped leather, camera-wise, but the movement obviously irritated the fox, who high-tailed it across the fields. So, sorry, no photograph of the fox. But I do have one of a narrowboat called “Alchemy”, which makes a nice set with the one a couple of days ago named “Dire Straits”. And that is Gay waiting for me on the bridge at Braunston. And what is that “Wedding Bridge” all about. It was built only last year.

Sustenance is a bit sparse on the canals, at least in the mornings, when I walk. There are pubs every now and again, but they tend to open at lunchtime. I reached one pub at 8.25, which had a sign outside saying that it was open at 8.00 am. But there was no sign of life. Several people told me that there was a café at the bottom of the 9-lock flight approaching Napton, but there was no café to be seen. There was a shop. When I inquired about the ghostly café, it turned out the man who owned the shop used to go to school in Blackpool, where I am headed. He actually lived in Nelson, but was a boarder at Arnold School. Not only that, he used to dance with my former aunt by marriage, Jean Mortensen, the husband of Stanley, the man who scored most of the goals in the so-called “Matthews Cup Final”.

At Napton itself, the Bridge pub was open – I was there at 11.50 so had to wait a few minutes. The very nice lady mine host was from Darlington, where Gay hails from. Her husband, although South African, has a mother, or maybe grandmother, comes from Hurworth, just outside Darlington, where Gay was born. Small world!

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