I've had some lovely days out and about over the last couple of weeks, even though the boat has barely moved. In leighton Buzzard, Simon and I went on the steam train which was good fun. I liked the way a man had to run out with a flag whenever we crossed over roads. Not all the car drivers felt like waving back at a bunch of idiots, leaning out of miniature carriages eating ice-lollies - ha! The little engine is beautiful (pic from Wikipedia)
We went to play pool in the Wheatsheaf pub in town where there's a gorgeous wreck of a piano, guarded over by a seargeant-major-type bust who kept his upper lip stiff, even when Simon was playing. I see the website shows the carving too.
I went for a little camping break, just me, my bike and a tent. It felt really good cycling along the towpath, not having to worry about cars and going too slowly to worry anyone else. First day, I went as far as Stoke Bruerne, stopping for lunch at Camphill cafe - a vegetarian cafe advertised on the canal at Milton Keynes. The plain sign doesn't do it justice as it's a great little place, with theatre and cottage garden adjoined and very popular locally, judging by the numbers turning up for lunch! After that, I stopped for coffee at narrowboat Hadar where the ever-hospitable Jo and Keith kept me in cosseted comfort while the rain lashed down outside. It was interesting to see how tactful and accommodating they have been towards other coal traders and respectful of other's 'pitches', not at all how most businesses are run on a cut-throat mentality.
After that, I pressed on to Blisworth tunnel and pitched my tent before heading to the Boat Inn where I'd read the local Morris side came on Wednesays. I wasn't disappointed - they turned up for a drink and I wheedled my way into going along to their practice session, which involved walking from the pub with our pints to the village hall. They are the Rose and Castle morris group and a friendly bunch I hope to meet again. In fact I see they are performing at the Bromyard Folk Festival on Sept 10th - 12th which looks tempting.
The next day, I cycled on up to Crick, passing the dreamboat Carnaby and getting quite lost above the tunnel (no signs!). Then I was into beautiful Northamptonshire rolling countryside where my breaks failed. Hey-ho! Another two nights camping in fields and, even though I did manage to get new break-blocks, I took the easy way out by getting a train home to the boat.
I've been making blackberry jam and elderberry cordial and got chatting to Mike and Jenny on historic narrowboat 'Ajax' who have explained where I can find lots of plums. Hmmm... sounds like I need to plan another little bike adventure :-)