Indigo Dreaming

The journeys of the Narrowboat Indigo Dream

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Archive for May 16th, 2010

The Odyssey 2010: Day 15

Posted by indigodream on 16 May, 2010

Thursday 13th May

Ashton to Wadenhoe

Lovely landscapes around here.....

Because of our decision to lay up for a day at Ashton, we weren’t under so much time pressure to start back upstream. It’s been very useful having the car for our sightseeing and this morning we had a little mooch around Peterborough. We’d been told that it is THE place for shopping locally and it certainly has more than its fair share of department stores and malls. We had a good look around but I wasn’t in the mood for spending, not least because my bank account’s looking a bit sick until I get paid for all my labours in Scotland! Richard obligingly got his credit card out, but I’m not a shopaholic and I have to be in the right frame of mind – I can hear ladies sighing from here to Timbuktu – what a missed opportunity 🙂

Nonetheless, it was good to have a look around and Richard got some new clothes, though sadly not the new waterproof walking shoes he was looking for. We hope to take a look at some of the many shoe factory outlet stores around Northampton when we get back there.

We did have a look around Peterborough Cathedral – it’s quite awesome, as are all the remaining cathedrals of this era. I can’t think of any organisation that would get away with a building on this scale today, or with the longevity of the project – Peterborough took a mere 120 years to build! But I’m so glad that the medieval church ‘squandered’ their money on these ambitious building – there’d be nothing left for us to wonder at otherwise. I doubt whether structures like London’s Gherkin will still be standing in 800 years’ time……

I was particularly taken by the large mirror table that they’ve erected under one of the more elaborate ceilings in the cathedral – it’s meant to allow you to examine the detail of the ceiling without falling over backwards but I felt as if I was falling forward into infinity……

Peterborough Cathedral - awesome....

Oh, we were fascinated by the “Brewery Tap” – a pub and possibly working brewery we passed on the way out of the city. They’ve used the domed copper top of an old brewing vat as an awning over the door. Two thoughts occurred to me – how come all that copper hasn’t been stolen yet (it’s worth a fortune) and how come the copper hasn’t oxidised to green (I thought the oxidation happened very quickly in the open air)?.

We had a good morning’s exploration and got moving from the Ashton mooring at around 3pm. We were a little sad to leave but there are certain practicalities about a countryside mooring – the big one being lack of rubbish points and, in particular, dog poo bins. Now, it may be a distasteful subject, but Indigo Dream was starting to look like a Thames barge, laden down with rubbish bags on the front deck – definitely time to move!

We enjoyed the scenery on the way back – it is a lovely stretch of river. Today we spotted a large willow plantation – not the reedy withies that you’d use for baskets but the tall straight trunks you’d use for……cricket bats! If you’re interested there’s more information about planning issues around the plantation here; apparently they’ve been harvesting cricket bat willows here for many years – as many as 40 a year for the last 30 years. Growing cricket bat willows is quite a complicated business in order to get the quality of wood needed – the Royal Forestry Society has more information here.

In no time at all we were mooring up at the King’s Head in Wadenhoe, rejoining nb Pendlewych which we’d met at Ashton. It was too early to eat (the pub was shut!) so Richard cycled back for the car. He enjoyed the trip and the picturesque villages he passed along the way. He was particularly impressed with Oundle (again), Pilton and Stoke Doyle – there are a few snaps in the photoblog…..

Later on we went for a little bobble up towards the church – there’s very good dog walking here though the fields are sometimes used for livestock so just keep a vigilant eye. The field adjacent to the church was empty so the dogs had yet another good rummage.

We went up to the pub around 7pm and got settled into the dog-friendly bar. There had been an incursion of the Welsh here – only six people but at the volume of an invading army – we do like to talk! They were down for a grand-daughter’s wedding and we had a good old chinwag. Today’s greyhound story (there’s always one!) is that one of the men used to work at a dog track in Wales, many years ago. He vividly remembered (and gave me a paw by paw description) a dog race between ‘My laddie’ and ‘Ali’ – My Laddie won after some deft fixing on the betting. I can’t find either dog on the excellent Greyhound data website but then again there was (and maybe still is) a lot of unregistered dog racing in Wales. The man himself was not a dog person – Lou looked at him most endearingly and he just ignored her – his interest in greyhounds only went so far as they used to make him money!

The staff here are lovely and we had a great meal. Later on we met the owner (who also owns Wadenhoe House where the wedding was being held). We were able to give him lots of positive feedback about his pub and he, in turn, uttered the unwise phrase ‘moor here are long as you want’. Uhm, you don’t want to saying things like that to narrowboaters – we’ll stay for the whole year! This seems to be a good spot for exploring the local villages – either by foot, bike or car. The Nene Way runs nearby and offers miles of pathway of varying quality!

Here’s an overt plug for the King’s Head Beer Festival from the 4 – 6th June – wish we could be there – the cider they have on tap is very tasty – it would have been nice to sample the guest ciders (and ales of course)! Go there if you can…….

We were well content as we drifted back to the boat and had an exceptionally quiet night…..

Photoblog:

Dizzying perspectives at Peterborough Cathedral....

This elaborately painted ceiling is apparently the original from the 12th century...

It's a dog's life in Peterborough......

Soilmec upstream of Ashton lock has at least three piling rigs in its back yard - an imposing site as you come down the river

"Summer is icumen in......." - there are little chickies everywhere - the parents weren't impressed by Indigo Dream....

These paddles are often hung from electric lines around here - we think they're to make the lines more visible to farm vehicles in the fields below. Any other guesses?

Low headroom at Upper Barnwell - if you zoom in and look closely you'll see the swallows' nests on the left hand side in the angle under the bridge

Lilford (or Lifford) Hall - what a fine pile that is.....

Below Lifford Lock....

Above Lifford Lock....

Under the spreading (horse)chestnut tree......

A view over Pilton....

The church in Stoke Doyle

Around Oundle (1)

Around Oundle (2)

Around Oundle (3)

Around Oundle (4) - some of the old gables lean backwards alarmingly.....

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