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  • clivenmel

Juy 20th

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Wednesday June 17th � It was a bit overcast when we woke up this morning but it wasn�t actually raining.  After breakfast we decided to go and explore and the first place we headed for was the church of St Michael and All Angels.  On the path just before we arrived at the church itself was a the Millenium Sundial which also shows other churches in surrounding villages that can be seen from this high spot.  Clive decided to have his photo taken here!   The church itself is very old, dating back to Saxon times.  One of the tombs in the graveyard dated back to the sixteen hundreds!  It has some interesting features inside as well including a really old font and some unusual carvings.  There are also several memorial plaques on the walls of the church, one of which commemorates the deaths of a local couple who were �cruelly shott� by Italian bandits!   Alongside the church are some very unnatural looking lumps and bumps in the ground and there is a suspicion that if these were excavated there would be archaeological evidence of a very old settlement.   We walked back down to the road and wandered up through the village.  It really is absolutely gorgeous.  There are rows of little cottages and also individual cottages and houses, many of them thatched.  There is also a large country house called Wadenhoe House which used to be the home of the Hunt family.  One member of this family was the Chancellor of the Exchequer in Disraeli�s government and because he lived in Wadenhoe and needed to be kept up to date with the goings on at Parliament he opened the first post and telegraph office in Wadenhoe!  It is still standing!   We also came across a farm with a really old dovecote in the farmyard.  We were looking over the gate when a gentleman came across the yard and said we would be most welcome to go and look around the dovecote if we wished so we took him up on his offer and went to explore!  It was amazing!  It would have housed up to 650 birds! You may wonder why they had such large dovecotes � evidently it was to ensure that there was a good supply of meat for the table!   We continued our stroll around this really lovely village and almost felt as if we had stepped back in time.  Then surprisingly we found ourselves outside the King�s Head and decided to pop in and have a drink!  As we had also decided that the spot we were moored in would be an ideal place to leave the boat whilst we went up to Huddersfield we wanted to ask permission at the pub as the moorings were actually at the bottom of the beer garden!  We did ask and were assured that it would be absolutely fine to leave it there.  Excellent!   We went back to the boat and Clive had one task to perform ready for the following day.  His mother absolutely hates his long beard � she thinks it makes him look old and therefore thinks it makes her ancient!  As a mark of respect therefore and in honour of the occasion he had decided to trim it!    Now you see it��        Now you don't...................... Thursday June 18th � we got up bright and early to ensure we had time to get ready before Vicki and Gareth arrived.  They finally arrived at about 10.30 and we quickly piled everything into the boot and headed off for Huddersfield.  When we arrived the party was in full swing, lots of people had already been and gone but there was a steady stream of people arriving and leaving all afternoon.  It was good to see them all and the celebrants, Joan and Sydney, had a lovely time and they were absolutely delighted to receive a lovely card from Her Majesty the Queen as well!   Friday June 19th � it was soon time to say goodbye and we headed off down the motorway once again and arrived back at Wadenhoe about 5ish.  Vicki and Gareth were pushed for time as they had to get back to Cambridge so it was a case of piling all our stuff back onto the boat, a quick hug and a kiss and they had gone � we were on our own again!   We got ourselves sorted out and stowed everything away again then decided we would go up to the King�s Head for a wee drink and a bite to eat � lovely, no cooking tonight!   Saturday June 20th � the time had come to leave Wadenhoe and it was quite interesting trying to reverse the boat back up the backwater, beyond the tree and back out onto the river again!  A boat had come and moored in front of us but her captain had decided to reverse in so that it would be easier to get out.  He very kindly came and helped us � I was holding the centre rope to ensure that the boat didn�t drift too far over to the other bank and he was holding the bow rope, however we had the tree to negotiate as the boat went past it, he very kindly climbed onto the trunk (which was almost horizontal, leaning over the river) and passed the ropes underneath and I grabbed them at the other side.  Finally we were home free and ready to head off, the trouble is I was on the bank and Clive was in the middle of the river!  The only thing to do was for Clive to put the bows into the bank and I climbed on, hanging onto the cratchboard for grim death!  Clive then reversed the boat again, headed down the river about fifty yards to the lock and once he had pulled in and tied up I managed to climb off!  Shame we didn�t have a photograph of that!   Just as I had got the lock set and Clive was ready to come in, another boat arrived called Diggery (not from Harry Potter but from a Thomas Hardy novel!) and we twinned in the next few locks with them.  However, we needed a pump-out and didn�t think we could wait until Peterborough.  We phoned the Oundle Marina but they don�t have a pump-out facility, they use a local gentleman who has a mobile unit and only charges a tenner � they gave us his number.  Clive gave him a ring and arranged to meet him near some private moorings he knew of.  We spotted him a short time later and pulled in.  Clive did a quick taradiddle and moored up facing upstream so that the pump-out access was on the bank side.  Mr Holland did the necessaries and we were soon ready to go again. It turns out that Mr Holland and his wife used to live on a narrowboat a little further upriver and originally had to use a manual pump-out machine.  He felt sure that there must be an easier way so he designed and built his mobile unit.  He now has lots of customers hankering for his service but he explained to me it�s not his day job, he just does it as a service in his spare time!  Well a very useful service it is.   We continued on our way and soon arrived at the next lock and there was Diggery � they had decided to fill up with water.  The lock was all set and ready and they were just putting away their hosepipe so we joined them again.  Not for long though, they had decided to moor up for an hour or so in order to listen to the Rugby on the radio.  We told them were carrying on to Fotheringay for our overnight mooring and they informed us that they were planning to moor there too, so we may well see them later.   Soon after we left Diggery behind Clive heard the sound of aircraft � before we even spotted them we could hear the distinctive sound of Rolls Royce Merlin engines and we knew that they were old wartime planes and sure enough when they came into view there was a Spitfire and a Hurricane, fantastic!    It didn�t take us long to reach Fotheringay (aka Fotheringhay) and we were soon moored up right under the mound where Fotheringay Castle used to stand.  I was always a bit of a fan of Mary Queen of Scots in my younger days if the truth be known and it was a bit strange to think that this was the very place where she was executed.  The castle was originally built in the reign of William the Conqueror, it was a Norman Motte castle built by Simon de St. Liz, Earl of Northampton around 1100, but was later enlarged.  King Richard III was actually born here. There is of course nothing left of the castle now as Mary�s son, James I (VI of Scotland), reputedy had it razed to the ground owing to the fact that it was the site of his mother�s execution,.  There are thistles growing on the mound and it is said that the first seeds were sown by Mary whilst she was incarcerated here.    Once we were back down at the bottom of the mound we noticed a small enclosure and inside are the only remains of the castle, a pile of masonry which was unearthed by local archaeologists and preserved for posterity.   When we had finished exploring the mound and were back on the boat Clive�s first job was to put up the TV aerial and checked the signal.  The analogue signal is fine but the digi was a bit dodgy!  Still as long as BBC1 is available so Clive can watch the Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon that�s fine.  So we will stay here until after the race and then decided whether to move on or not.  There is a mooring charge here but its only �3 a night so not too bad.  We would however like to do a bit of exploring before we leave.  Clive would like to go and check out the local inn, The Falcon, which is evidently extremely old   There is a fantastic church here which is very old.  St Mary and All Saints dates from the 15th century.  It looks enormous but on reading up on its history it turns out that it is only half its original size, it must have been colossal!  It does look a little truncated, this is because the quoire fell into disrepair and was demolished!  It is amazing how many quite small villages have really huge churches!  The church was built around the remains of the nave, aisles, and west tower of a far larger one, which was largely destroyed during the Reformation. The church tower is surmounted by an octagonal lantern and on the top is a weather vane in the form of a falcon which was the crest of Richard of York.  A college was founded in the church in 1411 by Edward of York before his death at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.   So, until tomorrow����..        

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