Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The Magic of Canal Life

When the sun is shining we often receive envious comments from passers by on the towpath. I understand that this feeling is encouraged by certain programmes on TV.  Not having time to watch TV we are not au fait with these programmes. The first question asked is usually Isn't it cold in winter?   Apparently on TV the sun always shines and the birds always sing and the locks always work and the water is always crystal clear. None of those is true, bet there is a magic in living on the waterways. The magic comes, however, from inside: to quote my favourite artist, Vincent van Gogh:

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”

The freedom to stop where and when you want is an important element but the ability to find something interesting at every stop comes from within.  Whether we are in the centre of Manchester or Birmingham, on the outskirts of Tamworth, across the fields from Fleckney or Weedon Bec, Down below Withnell Fold or in the middle of nowhere we always find something interesting.
Let us consider last night as an example.  We left Gecko for a walk into the hamlet of Hunton Bridge just after The Archers.
After passing the boat with a cabin made from the rear end of a VW Tournan and the boat we had to resecure, we left the towpath and walked down the main street. 
From the bridge (the Hunton Bridge?) we had an elevated view of the old school which is no longer performing that function. And further down the street is what appears to have been a chapel in an earlier life.
And then we came to the King's Head (you knew there would be a pub somewhere, didn't you?)
The only  other curved door I recall is in a civic building in Coventry: I have never before encountered them between me and my pint of Pedigree.
The pub changed hands about a month ago and so far the kitchen has not been recommissioned but the interior is quite interesting.
Not only does it claim to be the only pub in England with curved front doors
It also claims that its minstrells' gallery is unique in pub circles.
I am not sure of the voracity of these claims but the presence of an old range in the saloon bar must be quite rare too.Put all these characteristics together and they may be right to consider themselves unique.
On our way back to Gecko the doors of the chapel were open and we accosted a man taking things into the building. This had  indeed been a Free Chapel in an earlier life but now it is the Chapel Stained Glass Studio
Here they both conserve and restore old glass and also create new commissions.  We were  priviledged to take a look round the workshop. Our guide had just completed a long job at Tower Bridge which he had carried out over many nights because the glass overlooked the road and the risk of anything falling on the highway had to be minimised.  The studios have also undertaken work at the house of Commons, Westminster Abbey and many churches and universities.
The window here is from Northampton Catholic Cathedral. In this picture  the lead is being removed in  preparation of replacement.


This could be  any town or village in the country: there really is something interesting everywhere.

Emblem of the Papacy SE.svg
Pope Adrian IV
And we didn't have time to walk up to Bedmond where the only English pope was born - Pope Adrian IV was born Nicholas Brakespear aound 1100AD and was pope from 1154-1159 when he died

Site of Breakspear Farm
A plaque at Brakespear Farm, Bedmond where Pope Adrian IV was born

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be removed if considered inappropriate