As is often the case lately we can have breakfast with the doors and hatches open but there’s still time for things to change as we are only just into March.
Having breakfast on Friday morning
The South Stratford canal is not served by a fuel boat as there are too many locks and not enough permanent boaters to make it worthwhile. This means we have to make alternative arrangements so on Friday one of my jobs would be to go to the coal yard in Hockley Heath to pick up some coal.
As I was leaving for the coal yard a chap stopped me and asked for advice. He has just bought a narrowboat and he and two friends are moving it down to Gloucester. They were one of the boats I stopped coming down the canal as they hadn’t been aware of the lock closures. Since then they have been moored fairly near us. I was quite surprised at the questions he was asking as whoever sold him the boat should have explained and, to be fair, he should have done some research beforehand.
He wasn’t aware, for example, that a special key is needed to access water points; he had been lucky as the only time he had filled up with water so far, the water point had been left unlocked. He wasn’t sure how to do a pump out either and was concerned that he had two caps in his gunwales with ‘pump out’ stamped on them. I went onto his boat to see if I could help. He hadn’t been shown where the holding and the water tanks were so we soon located those and therefore worked out which cap he should use.
On our morning walk we met up with a local lady who has taken a shine to Buddy and as it transpired she knew a bit about the forthcoming wedding, Karen and I plied her with some questions. The land with the marquee belongs to one of the local farmers, Steven Smith, and it’s one of his two sons that are getting married this Saturday. He is not related to the retired farmer, Martin Smith, who I have been talking to this week.
After lunch we went for a longer walk, stopping at the Fleur de Lys in Lowsonford for a drink as we had forgotten to take any water with us.
Karen investigating someone’s garden on our circular walk
I had done some research into the stories that Martin Smith had been telling me and all seemed to tie up with publications by groups like the Warwickshire History society etc. Martin’s family built their farmhouse at the beginning of the 1800s (when the canals were being built) and he has lived there all his life. He and his brother, Noel, are all that are left of their family now so, as he says, their memories will be lost forever soon as they are both in their 80s.
I couldn’t find out anything about the crossroads burial of a man called Dick in Dick’s Lane but he was absolutely right that it had been renamed from Anstruther Lane in the early 1800s. I had found a House of Commons journal discussing the purchase of lands in the area for the building of the canal and it was called Anstruther Lane in those days.
This is the wash house at Martin’s farm – in recent years it has been used as a workshop
|Turners Green farm and outbuildings built by Martin's family - it has 1824 inscribed on the main house. Sun was a bit bright even though it looks a dark grey day!|
There was quite a bit of activity in the marquee during the day and a massive generator and toilet block had been brought in.
Testing the lighting on Friday evening