Friday morning dawned clear and still, so with some reluctance we dragged ourselves away from Wadenhoe, back over that stretch of the Nene heading for Northampton where we were somewhat challenged to find moorings suitable for Sir to access the whole wide world outside.
We stopped for shopping and lunch at Thrapston, squeezing into the visitor moorings which are in a sheltered by-water (read almost inaccessible) just by Nine Arch Bridge. Going in nose first and breasting up on Bones (not the one owned by Oxford Canal blogger, magazine columnist and DIY disaster area Mortimer Bones, who we’d spotted earlier this year) left the problem of extraction to later.
We didn’t manage to find the exact boundary where the River Neen becomes the River Nen, but a charming café courtyard did have Fran hankering to try on another clog-dancer’s hat.
Even in virtually nil wind and not much current, extraction of Song & Dance from the moorings – manoeuvring backwards out through the two 90° bends to get back onto the river proper – was a complete fiasco. Why can’t we have a proper Captain to take control when things get tough? Anyway, after several close encounters of the wrong-arch kind, and several more of the buttress kind, large amounts of swearing, and a several reminders of why rubbing strakes are called rubbing strakes, we were on our way. Good job we’d only had coffee for lunch, not Guinness or rocket fuel cider.
We decided to lick our wounds at Woodford, where we we’d found decent moorings and a cheap pub for dinner before, courtesy of the Friends of the River Nene.
On our way back from said dinner, the chief cook was walking over to a cat she’d nearly been unfaithful with on the previous visit, when we were nearly run down by a hedgehog scurrying down the centre of the road. Seemed quite unfazed by the cat, and vice versa and stopped for a mutter before deciding we hadn’t any food or drink to hand. Then, a hundred yards or so down the road, we came across another one, albeit a little shyer than the first. Don’t see a hedgehog for five years, then two come along together…
Walking in the pitch dark through the field down to the boat, we stumbled over a young lady fly-posting the Friends of the River Nene billboard, as you do. Seems she runs a paddle-board school, and they were having their annual party/BBQ/whatever at the weekend. Strange time to be wandering around in the dark woods putting up posters, though.
Then, while chatting, we spotted – about a mile or two across the river – what looked like a bonfire or something flare up. Looked like a seriously out of control conflagration: big hay rick or something worse. We couldn’t imagine that no-one had spotted it already, but just in case, our new friend made some phone calls to likely farmers. Anyway, there soon appeared to arrive some brightly lit vehicles – it was quite a way away – and in fairly short order the flames seemed to die down.
Wonder what will happen tomorrow…