This morning we headed back to Braunston to drop Mary and Chris back to their car. Some of the fields we went by still show the remnants of mediaeval farming. Look how the buttercups are growing better on the ridges of slightly higher ground in this meadow.
Those are the strips that would have been farmed by different families. One family might have several strips over several different fields. Over several hundred years, the lands that were held in common by villages were “Enclosed”, that is, claimed by rich people with the aid of parliament. This one was used as grazing ever since it was enclosed, so the remnants of the old medieval strips can still be seen. It’s worth noticing that the use of the government to transfer wealth from the general public to rich investors is nothing new, and the privatization of the UK’s state owned schools is just the latest step in a long line of such redistribution in the name of efficiency.
We found a mooring, a bit too close to the A45 bridge, but this is the busiest stretch of canal in the entire UK system, on a long weekend, with a boat show happening nearby, so you take what you can get. It actually looks a lot more scenic when viewed from the bridge. That’s us in the green boat.
My old friend Howard, who I have known since we were twelve, picked us up and drove us back to his house in Rugby for a wonderful home cooked dinner. Howard recently married Gordi, who comes from an old family of working canal boaters. Gordi gets seasick even on a canal boat, so his childhood memories are of staying with family members at the Stop House in Braunston while the rest of the clan were afloat. Here’s the sign on the Stop House today.
Back then, Gordi had a pony in the paddock and the basement was six feet deep in chicken shit. Apparently Gordi has inherited the family taste for poultry keeping for their backyard is now clucking with designer fowl like this…
and here’s Howard with a duckling.
Dinner was excellent. Roast chicken, potatoes roasted in goose grease, and so many quail eggs that they required a special tool to crack them. Lovely to see Howard settling into married life.