Monday 26 August 2019

Peaky Blinders hits Alvecote

Shelbys Last Stand
August 2019

Narrowboat Clematis has become something of a celebrity, starring in series five of Peaky Blinders cunningly disguised as January. As such she had pride of place at this years Alvecote Historic Boat Gathering. 

On Monday afternoon January quietly slipped away, only to reappear fully laden with the Shelby clan. They stormed the Samual Barlow claiming it as their own, presumably preferring a slightly more rural headquarters to their usual haunt in Satley's The Garrison.

Placing myself at huge risk I managed to grab these photos of them in action, before they slunk away.

Sunday 25 August 2019

Wall to wall sunshine in Alvecote

Alvecote Historic Boat Gathering 2019
August 2019

Its been hot, hot, hot here in Alvecote with a great selection of lovingly restored working boats to admire, especially as they are put through their paces with the steerers judged by a critical audience of experts.

Not a lot of time for writing but here are some photos taken from the Jam Butty as we sit moored on the slipway of the Samuel Barlow.

It may be uber hot and the bar is struggling to keep up, but it's been a lovely event. Trading has been steady allowing us lots of time to catch up with lots of friends.

Thursday 15 August 2019

Canal Hunter video of the Old Stratford Canal

Old Stratford Canal video
August 2019

We recently spent some extended time in Cosgrove and I took the opportuninty to shoot a short video of the Old Stratford Canal, which represents the first 1.5 miles of the longer Buckingham Canal. This was a length of broad canal which liked the new Grand Junction Canal to the village of Old Stratford and the turnpike road which ran through it.

The canal is currently being restored bu the Buckingham Canal Society.

Take a look.

Sunday 11 August 2019

Traders of the storm

Blisworth Festival 2019
August 2019

This is the eighth year we have traded at Blisworth and our third with the Jam Butty, and still it manages to throw up something new.

Now to put this event into a bit of context, Blisworth is a small Northamptonshire village between Northampton and Towcester tucked in between the West Coast Mainline and the M1, but as it is nestled into its very own sleepy hollow in the rolling landscape, the noise from both is barely audible.

The only photo I took, assuming it to be the last anyone would see of the CRT gazebo

Every year this little village built largely of Costwold Stone and topped off with traditional thatch plays host to one of the most unexpected events of the summer season - the Blisworth Festival. There is no big draw at the event, but rather it comprises a multitude of small stalls and displays put on by artisans, crafts people and enthusiasts. In many ways it's like a village fete, but on steroids. 

It's an open event, so its free to attend and thanks to a very supportive community the parking is free as well. As a result visitors show up in their thousands every second weekend of August, sometimes up to 60,000 of them if the estimates are to be believed. If you want to see what is available have a look at the Blisworth Festival facebook page.

There is something very English about this event and 2019 certainly highlighted the Dunkirk spirit for which we are famed. As the weekend approached all eyes were glued to the weather forecasts - a storm was coming. Now sometimes the forecasters are prone to being a bit over cautious in their warnings, but for days in advance the prediction was consistent - extreme wind on Saturday, gusting to 60mph with a real risk to life. Festivals in the South west were cancelled but the Blisworth Partnership took it in their stride and merely decided to stop the use of all gazebo's in the exposed Festival Field. This is Health and Safety gone wise.

You would think that this was enough to put visitors off, but no. They flooded in, albeit in slightly reduced numbers. Whilst the exposed field was a bit spartan, the more secluded canal towpath, the village streets and indoor venues were pressed into service and nothing, not even gale force winds, was able to dampen the spirit of the event.

From our perspective, by Candle Bridge, the winds raged about our strapped down gazebo but neither our, nor the CRT gazebo opposite, blew away and we managed to trade our way through the storm. 

I cant say much for the rest of the event because we didn't see it. A tidal wave of preserve lovers overwhelmed us and we never managed to leave the confines of the butty. 

If it is a bit quieter today (Sunday) I may get a look around and take some photos - but maybe not.....