Thursday, 29 August 2013

Cafe, bilge, painting, CaRT... Oh and Stan (pt 1)

I like Bugbrooke. It's a quintessential Northamptonshire village full of honey coloured old houses and a community spirit where every one knows everyone else. In the doctors (regular prescription time) locals are greeted by their first name, the rest of us greeted with courtesy and friendship. We were also made to feel at home again for our second visit to the community cafe.

We arrived a little later than our breakfast visit in May and found the cafe busying up with holidaying parents and child minding grandparents bringing rugrats to a breakfast play date, luckily with the beautiful weather they all decided to head for the outside tables. Ron had been out breakfasting with his daughters and visiting granddaughters. It was Ron's 90th Birthday, he returned my salute with a smile and said out the corner of his mouth 'I think it's going to be a long day'. His obligatory oversized badge pulled down the lapel of his now oversized blazer. He took it all in good spirits, realising, I think that the day was as much for his family as it was for him.

Church opposite the community cafe

Apart from the reason of supporting the community you should visit the cafe on your way through because of the great food at minimal prices. I treated myself to a second steaming mug of tea for 60p. A fry up for Deb, scrambled egg bacon and toast for me and plenty of tea all for about £6! Back at the boat I get on with the polishing. The T-cutting was finished so just half a side to polish up. Everyone that passes stops to chat, at times I was having conversations on the towpath and canal simultaneously. I met the mum/mum-in-law of the owners of Hayford Fields marina. 'I went out on my daughters boat last week, lovely weather, she married a local farmer and they built the marina'. Mum of marina owner used to live in Gayton 'born and bred', but moved to Bugbrooke because it was so much busier. Apart from the doctors and community cafe, it has a pub and a post office...oh and a bus stop.

A couple few miles up the cut is a wood yard (who would have thought I would have walked a six mile round trip to look at some off cuts of wood?). A proper job one where they cut logs into planks and machine them down into the size you want. No soft wood here it's all the hard stuff. I rummage through their off cuts bins and buy some ash, oak, mahogany, sapele and a small piece of zabrano  along with a length of beech for a little woodwork project. The off cuts are a bargain at £2 per kg. The length of beech and other cut woods are charged as points of a cubic metre ranging from about £1400 to £5700. So if you've ever wondered how much a cubic metre of mahogany costs (no, me neither) it's about £2496. If you are ever approaching Nether Heyford and wonder what the Victorian manor house is up above the railway on the left, now you know because that's where the wood yard is, alongside a farm shop, apple orchard, livery, and seller of logs as part of the Jesus Army commune. They also own a couple of very nice cottages at the bottom of the hill (I scrumped some apples so Deb could make an apple and blackberry crumble) and what looks like an old art Deco cinema in Northampton (there's money in that old religion malarkey you know).

Coal yard on the way to wood yard - that would do us for winter
Whilst we were close to Northampton Deb arranged an updated hearing test. Her Otoscleroisis won't improve. The results indicate further damage to the cochlear. An operation to replace (or sometimes install a micro prosthetic piston in) the staple works to a greater extent and is an inevitability but hearing aids programmed to the correct frequencies (base sound go first, so I have to talk high pitched first thing in the morning) can help a little. We were shown a great selection for a mere £240 per month on a payment scheme. Next stop NHS. Just for info the bus trip was £11.20 for us both, it was about three miles away. We enjoyed a pizza at pizza express using tesco vouchers before heading back to LJ.

We were moored in front of Dylan's dad. He used to run a trip boat from the wharf, and had a restaurant boat too! He's a cheery chap, he knocks on the boat and tells me that tomorrow he will be making a bit of noise with his power tools. He needs to route out a rectangle on Dylan's bench for a plaque, not brass but a painted ceramic canal scene. Dylan died in hospital when he was 27, Dylan's dad moors up here for a couple of weeks when he can to remember the good old times. If you take a stroll to the cafe have a rest on Dylan's bench...

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