Sunday, 11 May 2014

More countryside

On passing through Wolfhamcote yesterday Daniel noticed an old wooden boat which appeared to be sunk.  Both Jan and I had already seen it when we passed this way 12 months ago.  To our surprise it actually looks as if it’s inhabited.

We stopped and moored on a good length of armco just beyond Chambers Bridge with the intention of getting in the usual Saturday walk the following morning.  However the sky that evening looked rather ominous.

The assessment of the sky proved to be correct and we received a torrential downpour.  The wind also bashed us around giving Jan a restless night.  I slept in until 8.30am!  The previous evening I’d sat down with the laptop and traced out an 18km circular walk to the south of the canal.

The route took in Flecknoe, Shuckburgh and Napton on the Hill.  I wanted to check if the service station at Napton still sold red diesel (it does… but they had run out).

It was a late morning start to the walk.  This cob was obviously very protective of his new family.

Flecknoe proved to be an interesting small hamlet.  There were signs down on the towpath advertising “The Vines” pub in Flecknoe but I wonder how many boaters bother to take the effort to walk to the village.

Somehow I don’t think the roof is original!

Daniel made some friends in the nearby paddock.  They galloped past me and surrounded him.

Despite their big heads they are rather stupid…… I was the one with the apple in my daypack.

It’s interesting to note the difference in the attitude of farmers towards public footpaths.  After crossing one field where the footpath was simply crop we discovered the path across the next field had been clearly marked by the farmer poisoning the vegetation.

The path across the third field had been marked by the farmer using it for one of his tractor tyre lines.  It was here that I felt I was being followed by “Big Foot”.

The route took us to the south of Shuckburgh Hall.  The narrow lane had a low wire mesh fence on the south side with a field containing ewes and lambs whilst the north side was a high wire fence and deer could be seen in the distance.  Rounding the bend we came across this busybody.  Or was it a case of the grass being greener on the other side.

The question was “Is her head stuck?” (it was).  I approached her in an effort to free her head.  Of course she went ballistic and then complicated the issue by raising her nose.  Eventually I was able to force her head down and then push it back whilst simultaneously bending the upper strand of wire.  No thank you… not even a backwards glance!  The public footpath took us through a high gate into the deer farm and up towards Shuckburgh Hall.  To the left and below the Hall was a massive brick barn and stables.

Around to the right and at the top of the hill was Shuckburgh Hall and an adjacent church.

Note the deer wandering between the church and hall.  Shuckburgh Hall is a private residence and not open to the public.  It has been the the home of the Shuckburgh family since the 12th Century. 

We turned to the left and headed towards the southern side of Napton on the Hill.  I walked around Napton and the windmill in May last year so there was nothing new for me to see.  However Daniel noticed this interesting home on the narrow lane leading to the church.

The service station is at the bottom of the hill on the side nearest the canal.  Actually it would be approximately 200 metres from the canal.  It does sell red diesel (90p /litre) but they had sold out and weren’t expecting to be resupplied before Wednesday.

The route back to Waiouru was via the towpath and fortunately the rain held off until we were within a kilometre of the boat. 

The remainder of the afternoon was spent fitting the new fenders and placing the matting on the engine bay floor.  Hopefully the latter will prevent a repetition of the rust problem.  In the absence of the two grubs Jan had spent her time cleaning the interior of the boat.  I know… it’s a rotten job…. but someone has to do it!   Dinner included some of those delicious sausages from the Braunston Butcher.

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