Saturday, 14 December 2013

Right place, right time, right equipment

It happens sometimes that everything comes together as it did this morning when I went out in search of a photo to help support the work that Bob The Blacksmith undertakes at the southern portal of Blisworth Tunnel. There's a bit more to that story here. As I walked up to the tunnel I turned and saw a most beautiful scene which I managed to take a photograph of.  I don't think it does what I saw justice but near enough.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Shell advertising using Stoke Bruerne

During the 1960s the oil company Shell undertook an advertising campaign using various locations as their theme using the byline 'Off the beaten track'.  One of them was Stoke Bruerne.  I was having a look on EBay recently and saw the Stoke Bruerne advertisement (Illustrated London News 1968) was available to purchase but it was in Whitewater, Wisconsin.  I took the risk and bought it (£7:90 at the current exchange rate with about the same for postage).  It arrived yesterday.  I was expecting an A4 version but it seems to be much closer to A3.  It is quite delightful and 'of its period'.  Louise in the museum tells me that the sign illustrated on the building is currently stored in the museum.

The wording on the advertisement is as follows:

Take the A508 from Northampton, and after a few minutes' drive you'll see a signpost to Stoke Bruerne, home of the Waterways Museum.  In its placid Canalside setting, opposite a picturesque Inn much favoured by narrow boat people in the early nineteenth century,  you can reminisce over colourful souvenirs from long-ago days when the canals enjoyed unrivalled supremacy over any other industrial transport.

This is canal country.  The Gand Union Canal (pictured above), joins up with the Oxford Canal some fifteen miles west of Northampton; near here you can seek out the 'Napton Flight', an intriguing flight of locks running through delightful countryside.

And while you're in the area, there are other features worth exploring. Wellingborough's Church of St. Mary, a modern masterpiece of ecclesiastical architecture by Sir Ninian Compur, is only 15 miles from Stoke Bruerne.

If you enjoy discovering new places by car, Shell is all ready to help you. Most Shell stations can provide you with local maps; and there are many Shell books available to help you find out-of-the-way spots all over the country.  And Shell even arrange 25% discount holiday insurance to cover you against accidents, illness, theft, and breakdowns. For more details of maps of Western Europe, books or insurance, please write to Shell Touring, 11 Dingwall Avenue, Croydon, CR9 2UN.

And when you are exploring, please remember to leave the countryside as beautiful as you found it.

Bernard Carter, London-born, studied at the Goldsmith's College of Art, and now teaching.  Has exhibited with the London Group, the Royal Academy RBA and has three one-man shows at the Portrait Gallery.  Features in a Los Angeles Exhibition this year.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

A cold and foggy day

After the brightness of the Illuminated boats event on Saturday evening today has been one shrouded in mist and fog but still very beautiful  The sun did make an appearance at lunchtime but, seemingly embarrassed by its performance this morning, went off and hid this afternoon.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Illuminated Boats - Stoke Bruerne

Stoke Bruerne at night
(Copy write James Rudd
Towcester News)
I became introduced to the Illuminated Boats 'scene' by Byfleet Boat Club where things were very competitive.  Having moved to Stoke Bruerne I became involved with the Illuminated Boats evening but was initially disappointed by the number of boats taking part - soon dispelled when we all had to manoeuvre outside the Boat Inn in the darkness!  We had four boats, the Friends of the Canal Museum boat Sculptor, Hoperidge, Inchy and Leo No2.  There was a Christmas market at the Navigation Inn.

What a lovely evening it was.  The boats foregathered at the southern portal of Blisworth tunnel - a very dark and quiet place - and titivated their Christmas lights to the sound of Guildford Cathedral choir singing traditional carols.  We were awaiting the Stoke Bruerne trip boat Charlie to make a trip to the tunnel and then lead us back into the village - it was very dark!  The children from Stoke Bruerne primary school sang (and marched) beautifully and we had a most enjoyable evening brought to everyone by the Friends of the Canal Museum.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Stoke Bruerne as was

I came across this postcard on EBay; I bought it and have scanned it in.  It shows Stoke Bruerne as it was - I understand the chimney was demolished in the early 1960s. The bridge on the towpath led to a dock on the land that is now the Museum Green.  You can see the lines of each side of the dock on the Green. The remains of the chimney now fill the old dock.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

A lovely golden sunrise heralds the start of December

I popped my head out of the front door this morning to be stunned by the colour of the trees on Blisworth hill - it reminds me of the song A Perfect Day.

It's also a good opportunity to remind everyone that Saturday 7-December is Illuminated Boats Day in Stoke Bruerne together with Carols on the Cut and a Christmas Market at the Navigation Inn.