Saturday, 21 June 2014

Waxing elegiac on fenland settlements.

Having been brought up with the rolling vistas of the South Downs and spending so many years with the rugged grandeur of the south-west moors the open views of the fens leave me bemused. They could leave one agoraphobic but the panorama has a strange intimacy, the feeling of being part of the land is overwhelming. I am in love with the fenland. Especially with the small towns and villages.
Today we walked from the mooring to Wicken.

The windmill was once an essential part of rural life, now it is a tourist attraction; this one does still work a few days a year.

The village pump and pond are still there, the pump no longer pumps and the pond is now reserved for junior members of the Wicken Angling Club to practice their piscatorial skills.

Thankfully the thatcher still finds ample employment although the old mainstay of his craft, thatching the hayricks, is only a dim memory among the elders of the community.

The Maids Head is the only remaining pub in the village. It has all the hallmarks of an ancient hostelry but the original burnt down in 1983, what we have now is a facsimile. I'm not knocking it, it retains all the original features, right down to the low doorway which will have the top off your head if you don't duck. Good beer and a splendid cheese platter, at least they don't call it a, "Ploughmans". I never heard of an English ploughman who had Brie in his lunch.

Just some random shots.

You have to be a certain age to remember the Velocette LE. The bane of my life as a teenager, they were the transport of choice for the constable on the beat in the 1960's and were commonly known as, "Noddy bikes." Parked outside The Maids Head this one had me looking over my shoulder as I quaffed my ale, a guilty conscience needs no accusing. It turned out to belong to an elderly chap on a charity ride from the east coast to somewhere in Wales.

**"The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say."

This one took us gently back to the boat and a post prandial  snooze.

Watch this space......

** Courtesy of J.R.R. Tolkien.

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