Day 7: Mad boaters and Welsh folk…

Yes, mad boaters and Welsh folk
Go out in the midday sun…
We set off from Hawkesbury Junction (near Coventry) at 0735 this morning and moored up at Braunston at about 1545. En route we passed through several fine tunnels or underpasses: two in the Rugby area depict the history and famous players of that game (no camera in hand at the critical moments, unfortunately) but the one at Newbold-on-Avon is a positive delight, spot-lit in purple and green. The scenery for the most part was dominated by train lines (of course Rugby has huge sidings and rail junctions) and radio transmitters. By Hillmorton Locks (only three, but in singles, paired side by side) we were hot, in need of a shop but had missed the Tesco at Rugby and the inviting looking lockside cafe / bistro … is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.   Eventually the land began to roll a little as we reached the hills of Northamptonshire. Hence, after a window shopping mooch in Midland Chandlers at Braunston we toiled up the hill to the little supermarket.  And what joy: as we stepped through the old iron turnstile gate leading up a meadow towards the church the bells began to ring, first “ringing up”, then a quarter peal before ringing down on our return route back to the canal. Braunston Church is widely known in some circles: it stands prominently on a hill above the canals that meet at Braunston Turn; it’s often been the venue for boaters’ weddings and funerals and it has the most exquisite spire.  I’d kept photographing it as we approached on the boat, but the attached shot was taken from just outside the churchyard wall. A village information board refers to the “spire octagonal and crocketted”.
It is Midsummer’s Day and summer is certainly rife, the canal (the North Oxford since Hawkesbury) is often tree-lined; the growth on the banks is full of cow parsley and dainty pink-faced ladysmock (??). Wild roses scramble through the trees and bushes – and on our front deck more greenery thrives, the basil from the kitchen window sill, and what had been a rather unpromising mint plant from Sainsburys is begging to be picked (hence a delicate suggestion to the on-board culinary expert that a Pims might be well-received on such a glorious midsummer evening!)
Curious sighting of the day (and this is absolutely true): about a hundred metres from here a boat has a three foot Christmas tree on its back deck.  
My thanks to the technical expertise of the Webmeister (Martin) for updating the map each day; The Blog Mistress (Abi) will deal with any other queries readers have re comments and subscribing.
The Pims has arrived, resplendant with fruit, ice and, of course, mint!

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