Thursday, 14 May 2009

Another May Day

A bit of a dull one today, but not lousy enough to prevent us taking a very pleasant cross country excursion (on foot) to Easenhall where we had a chat with or lady host and a nice cold glass of lager. Oddly enough, for a man of Kent, I haven't really taken to supping on the vast selection of real ales that are available. I tend to drink cider, if a decent drop is available or a nice crisp lager. And of course quite often wine, which one has to be a bit selective about, given that some pubs pass off absolute rubbish at a rather hefty price. All in all, something sparkling and refreshing is needed after a good walk.

Our host at the Golden lion in Easenhall liked our walking sticks. They were purchased in Arundel from a shop that specialises in walking sticks, carrying a very diverse stock of them - some are awfully pricey too. The one shown in the picture is the latest acquisition, but I can't remember what sort of wood it is. Has a fish in the antler horn bit of the top anyway which I suppose is quite appropriate.

A short time ago, when we were up at the crack of dawn we saw the oddest animals wandering through the shrubbery (no, it wasn't a field). They had these funny spots all over them and their faces in the half light had a piggy quality about them. We thought that they may have escaped from somewhere, but there were to many to draw that conclusion. It seems that they were giant spotted sheep, accompanied by their lambs, munching their way through the gorsy hillside adjacent to the cut.

Picasa Web Albums - Richard

Picasa Web Albums - Richard

Picasa Web Albums - Richard

Picasa Web Albums - Richard

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Back at Brinklow again

Slowly but surely, I am bringing these posts closer to the 'here and now'.

Spring has certainly brought some colour to Warwickshire.

Went for a bit of a walk and the countryside is buzzing with bird calls, bleating of lambs and cattle lowing.

The bluebells are quite stunning too, but mostly hidden in the woods behing signs of 'Private Wood - Keep Out'. Not very welcoming or sharing, but nobody there to enforce against a peek at the flowers.

That us enough chat for the moment, methinks I put too much text into this activity.

However, there is one more important thing to say; we would both like to wish Neil and Ruth from NB Nerus a very warm congratulations on their 30th wedding anniversary. When we celebrate our 30th, we might be a little older than the youthful Neil and Ruth!

. . . . . and more bluebells.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

A day in Cropredy

As well as having two interesting pubs and a magnificent church, this village is probably most famous for the folk festival that is held here in August every year since Fairport Convention played their farewell concert here forty years ago. Appropriately the festival is called; Fairport's Cropredy Convention. We intend to attend this year's event, taking the boat rather than a tent, but I believe that moorings get a bit thin on the ground over this particular weekend.

The village is also famous for a battle that was fought here during the Civil War in 1644. The events are commemorated in Ralph McTell's song Red And Gold, recorded by Fairport Convention, and the bridge over the River Cherwell has an informative information board.

Of the two pubs, the Red Lion is probably the most picturesque, both inside and out, given that it is a thatched mid-terraced building opposite the church in (you guessed it) Red Lion Street - This is how they describe themselves:

'It would be difficult to imagine a more picturesque building than The Red Lion Inn with its walls of honey-coloured local stone and its roof of grey, beautifully crafted thatch. Even the porch has its own covering of thatch.'

As it happens, the food is jolly good too, and reasonably priced. The only things is; what about the history of the pub? The owners who have their own website, appear to be asking the same question! By the way, notice in the picture above that there are straps like those seen on the London underground for hanging on to - I wonder what they are for???
Before having our meal in the Red Lion, we spent some time looking through St Mary the Virgin church opposite and there are some very interesting historic features to be found in there, although I believe that the suit of armour and Civil War mementos are follies, the real items being stolen many years ago.

The Bells are rung from the ground floor beneath a huge 14ft pendulum belonging to the clock mechanism high above, just below the belfry.
I was also obliged to listen to a sermon given by the Very Rev. Audrone before I was given shore leave to visit the Red Lion! See below.
The next day, I did ring the bells (well the fourth actually), at a special practice night that was held for all ringers in the district. It was lucky that on this occasion we were moored nearby and heard the bells start much earlier than their advertised time of 19:00, because I would have missed out if I hadn't wandered up immediately. The session was run by an Australian woman who came across as very authoritarian and wouldn't countenance plain hunt and only allowed one session of call changes, so rather than hang around hoping, I meandered back to the boat.

Never mind, we got back to Brinklow in time for a much more productive practice on Wednesday and had a jolly good ring for the Service on Sunday. We sounded quite professional in fact, even if there were only five of us.

Now here is a short pictorial presentation of Cropredy, followed by a brief story of the man from Suid Africa:

The South African chap was moored up next to the Canal bridge nearest to the store. and as we passed on the towpath heading for Gleemaiden and full of good cheer and food
from the Red Lion, we came across three people sitting in their well-deck. Chap turned out to be called Richard (which caused some interesting confusion in the introductions) and the two ladies were visiting friends. They asked us aboard and we swapped stories over a few glasses of red wine. The renowned hospitality that is legendary on The Cut was further reinforced!!