Tied up in Oundle
The boat’s been having a holiday
– no clocking up the miles, no banging about in locks, no sharp reverses to avoid bridges, boats or weirs, a whole week when the only cruising has been across the marina to the tap and back!
So what have the Cleddau and Tentatrice crews been up to? They’ve patronised the laundry block (£1 and 20p coins to buy time in the washing machines and tumble driers) and
after weeks afloat there is a distinct thrill in having clean sheets and socks!
There’s been time to explore Oundle’s nooks and crannies: its narrow streets,
its extraordinary Olive Grove (interior design cum garden centre cum delicatessen)
– and to catch a concert in St Peter’s Church.
“Are you staying for the concert?” asked a well modulated voice. Boatwif had peeked into the church again just after one o’clock on Thursday. Oundle School’s Music Department puts on a weekly concert at 1.30pm on Thursdays, it seems, and here was a programme, not exactly thrust into the hand, but politely and firmly offered. What could one do but turn off a mobile phone, tidy away the shopping and just sit, watch and listen?
It was to be a Singers’ Concert. Soloists, presumably after morning lessons and a lunch-time break, turned up for a warm-up and then, with an audience of about forty, the concert started. Eight fine soloists (probable age range 12 to 18) sang their pieces. All gave superb performances: three of them, it felt, might be destined for professional careers in cathedral music or musical theatre. It was a privilege to hear them and will be a pleasure to remember.
Then, during the week, it was birthday season. Cal Son on Wednesday became one year older than his last year’s significant birthday and on Friday Tentatrice’s Captain, in the earlier part of his current decade, allowed a pint and a Pimms jelly
to mark his birthday. But then, on Saturday, in Yorkshire, there was a glorious party to mark a Very Important Birthday
for a very special friend.
Oundle Marina lies not far at all from Upper Barnwell Lock and Barnwell Mill.
Just over the road is Barnwell Country Park (37 acres /15 hectares)
play areas, sculptures,
and a child-orientated Visitor Centre
attract the crowds at the weekends and dog walkers during the week. Tentatrice’s boat dog, a two year old now, enjoyed the space to run and to sniff,
The Oundle Week finishes on Tuesday – and the boats will progress a few miles downstream to Fotheringay, a place of history – but a place, one remembers from four years ago, of dire internet signal… The next blog may appear on…?!