We’ve had a very sociable trip along the Grand Union this week, sharing locks with some great characters. First there was Ian, a cheerful chap who wears his bowler hat partly as a sartorial statement but mostly because it’s completely waterproof and keeps his head dry.
Then there was a wonderful family of hireboaters from Fife.
I’ve never before seen a hire boat make use of its roof for anything other than sunbathing. We shared locks and also gave and received tips for jam, jelly and fruity alcohol production. The ladies’ stories of the country dancing club they run were really entertaining and it made the flight of locks coming into Braunston fly by.
On Friday, in the Plough in Braunston, we were completely surprised to be hailed by Stella (ex of nb Isobel now of nb Chudda) who we’d bumped into a couple of times around the system and shared one particularly alcoholic evening with in West Stockwith last year.
We had a very pleasant evening catching up with gossip and sharing a few drinks (not too many this time on account of Stella having to drive). Stella makes great a great curry powder blend so we arranged a quick barter for the following night. I’d bring her some smoked chicken and paneer in return for some of her spice blends. Great excuse for another drink in the Plough which is a really good pub.
We already had a date this weekend with John and Anne from nb Fenland Fox. Anne is giving me a hand to make a new patchwork quilt and came armed with masses of fabric and loads of sage advice. I swapped this for some home smoked cheese and salmon and some of the jellies I’ve been making with the abundant fruit this autumn.
I’ve now got enough fabric to make the front of the quilt – all I need is to finish all the other jobs I’ve got lined up so I can get on with it!