Saturday, 29 June 2013

The reel thing.

After a quick wander down the centre of Devizes,

the Corn Exchange,

the Market Cross, with a fascinating plaque with a horrible warning for those of less than spotless honesty,

I hope it's readable as I have no intention of typing it all out. With my skill at typing we would all be here until tomorrow. Try left clicking on it, brings it up to almost readable standard.

And the Shambles, the old meat market, now used for a general market with an assortment of stalls.
We then headed out for Morrisons for a general victualling top up.
After helping Jill stow all our purchases (I kept out of the way), I adjourned to the local fishing tackle shop where I acquired a rather nice centre pin reel,

only a tenner, bargain. Needs a bit of a clean but is in perfect working order. Probably dated to the 1950's or 60's at the latest, can't be sure as there is no makers name. Apart from the colour it is identical to the first reel I ever owned, I couldn't resist it.
What I was actually after was information on the rod I'm rebuilding, I had been told that the shop owner is a bit of a guru on old tackle. Alas, even after consulting his book of knowledge the maker, J.F. Young of Harrow, remains an enigma.
So I purchased a pint of maggots and spent the rest of the day plundering the piscean inhabitants of the canal basin.
Tomorrow it is the Devizes Flight, Caen Hill. When we lived in Croydon, during our long vanished youth, Cane Hill was the local psychiatric hospital, or lunatic asylum as they were then called. Perhaps one needs to be a candidate for the latter to tackle the former.

Watch this space...........

Friday, 28 June 2013

Another day on the K&A.

Yesterday was a short hop down as far as bridge 132, Horton Chain Bridge, why chain bridge I don't know, it was an ordinary brick arch. The appellation chain bridge is generally applied to a suspension bridge.

There were a couple of swing bridges on the way, yes, that's me doing the hard graft on Allington Swing Bridge while Jill multi-tasks, steering and doing the David Bailey bit.
Horton Fields swing bridge is described in Nicholsons as "Chained open".

Can't argue with that description, that is if brambles and stinging nettles count as chains.
Once we had moored Jill set out her pitch on the bank and got on with her current cross stitch and I started on the middle section of the fishing rod I'm attempting to return to usable condition. Our quiet reverie was disturbed when a sudden water movement pushed Armadillo against the bank and round the bend came

the biggest boat I've seen on the cut. It had come down the Severn and in through Bristol. I had to give them ten out of ten for optimism. I presume they are heading for the Thames.
Today we made it to Devizes. I know a Limerick about a young man from Devizes, but the censor cut it.
Tomorrow is shopping and on Sunday we tackle Caen Hill. The family is rallying round so we will have plenty of help.

A quick nip into town yielded this philosophical picture. One should remember, some days you're the pigeon, some days you're the statue.

Watch this space...........

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Another walk and an otter.

These flying saucers even have wi-fi! Such nice little green men.
After polishing the left hand side of the boat this morning we decided that the day was far to nice to sit around so we set off on another tramp, this time we set off for Stanton St. Bernard. I don't know where St. Bernard comes in because the church

is dedicated to All Saints. Nothing like backing all the runners.

A view down The Street, the main thoroughfare. The name really doesn't show a lot of original thought or imagination.
After exploring the village we set off across country following a bridle path clearly shown on the O.S. map.
Once again it was the triumph of hope over experience.

That's the path going up the middle, let's just call it challenging. We eventually made it onto the road to Alton Barnes, directly under the white horse.

I swear it was smirking at us as we emerged, coated in seeds and pollen and liberally draped in spider webs.
By now were late, we were expecting the grandsons over for tea while their parents went to a school preview, Noah goes up to secondary school this year.

On the road from Alton Barnes to Honeystreet we found this sign and following the pointer we fought our way through long grass until we found it.

The memorial is on the entrance to a WWII air raid shelter, the last trace of RAF Alton Barnes. It is sadly overgrown and difficult to find and is currently guarded by

this pair and their calf. They really didn't care about us, a casual glance is all we were worth.
The highlight of the day though was saved for last, as we walked back past The Barge.

It was an otter swimming up the cut, the first wild otter I have seen since I was a child. To use a phrase from the younger generation, It was Awesome.

The boys arrived and for a change from uckers, on the gambling hell that is Armadillo, we taught them to play Newmarket.

Watch this space..........

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Crop Circle Central.

Just a short hop today, we left our lovely rural moorings and moved to Honeystreet, all of a mile.

We are now moored opposite the Alton Barnes white horse. Not ancient by chalk figure standards, it was only cut in 1812 to the order of a Mr Robert Pile, he paid one John Thorn, a.k.a. Jack the Painter, to organise the cutting, but Jack did a runner with the money so Mr Pile was left to pay over again, you could say it cost him a Pile!
This bit of Wiltshire is crop circle country and we are moored next to The Barge Inn,

seen here lit by the last sun of what has been a rare beautiful day.
The pub is crop circle central where all the ley line followers and alien hunters meet to discuss why they've never seen an alien. Last time we were in this area I went into another pub fairly near here and met one of the groups of crop circle makers. They are real artists in the fields. Well everyone should have a hobby.
So if we do get abducted by Venusians in the next few days, well, the next post may be from beyond this world.

Watch this space..........

Monday, 24 June 2013

A Tale of Two Hills.

Isn't wind and rain boring? At least today the wind has dropped and the rain seems to be holding off. So we took a chance and as is our wont we set off to give our legs a bit of exercise.

Woodborough Hill looms above the canal and would appear to be the sort of place from where the view might be worth seeing.

It gets quite steep as you approach the small beech hanger on the summit but the views are stunning.

To the south, across the vale, Salisbury Plain.

To the west Alton Barnes white horse stands out clearly on the scarp and to the east

Picked? Hill. I am confused as to the real name but have come down in favour of Picked, or possibly Pecked Hill. This was our next target but the local land owners appear to discourage approaching, at least from Woodborough Hill.

That seems pretty clear. So Picked Hill must wait.
Instead I started crawling around in the long grass, we're on the chalk here and we found an abundance of

common spotted orchids.

Sainfoin, once said to increase milk yield in cows.

Poppies and oilseed rape make a brilliant combination.

Meadow Cranes Bill, complete with bumble bee. I really must get a better lens.

Back at the boat, in hiding in the long grass. Overhead an exultation of larks were filling the air with music until.......

An Army Air Corps Gazelle turned up and appears to be using us for target acquisition practice.

Watch this space............

Saturday, 22 June 2013

On to a Pickled Hill.

After the excitement of Pewsey we were looking for a more rural mooring but before moving off we were in need of a top up of water and a pump out. No problem with the water but the pump out hose was ten foot too short, we ended up at forty-five degrees across the water point with the front end tied to the brick housing of the pump out, shame there isn't a convenient bollard. At least it was working and three weeks worth of effluent was sent on its way.

After leaving Pewsey the first feature of note is the Wide Water and

the ornate Lady's Bridge, another example of a reluctant land owner demanding the prettification of the canal as it passed through their lands. In this case it was a Lady Susannah Wroughton who also copped five hundred pounds in the deal.

Now moored in the reeds in the shadow of Pickle(d) Hill and amazingly we have a signal for the dongle!

Watch this space.........

Friday, 21 June 2013

Pewsey, two King Alfreds and a short lesson in Proto-Brythonic language.

Pewsey Wharf, our present whereabouts. It has a splendid bar up stairs and a bistro at ground level.
Store cupboard was getting rather low so we walked down to the Co-op in the town.

The town has a "Country town" charm, the centre is dominated by a statue of King Alfred.

It was actually set up to celebrate the coronation of King George V and today is it's one hundredth birthday!

Close by the infant Avon flows under and between the houses. It isn't the Bristol Avon which the K&A joins at Bath but the Hampshire Avon which flows south through Salisbury and on to the sea at Christchurch Harbour. For anglers it is the most famous and desirable fishing river in England, it is claimed to contain more species of fish than any other river in these islands.
It is actually incorrect to call any of the Avons, there are at least three in England and one in Scotland, the River Avon as "Avon" is a Proto-Brythonic word meaning river, so River Avon simply means River River. The same applies to the various Rivers Ouse, ouse simply meaning water.
End of today's lesson, I can be a real smart-arse at times.

Outside the Co-op this chap, with crown and shield clearly cut from discarded cardboard, was part of the official celebration of the anniversary. It takes all sorts.......

A sign of the times, The Greyhound is now for sale as an "Exciting residential mews development opportunity." Personally I would prefer it remained a pub.
I forgot to mention that there is an excellent butchers opposite the Co-op.

Watch this space..........