Because we are in Atherstone, home of Nightingales farm shop, purveyors of the finest pies in the land. But not for much longer it seems, at least not from the current premises. We took a stroll into town this evening and there was a notice in their window saying that they'll be closing the shop in October because of a 52% rent rise. Out furure hopes must now be pinned on farmers' markets.
So, we have made it this far. We tried hard to be good and come by public transport, but dear me, it was hard work. Firstly I had to go into work on the way to (start to) sort out a minor crisis, so so much for the plans to go via Watford Junction. I had to buy new tickets via Euston and hopefully I can reclaim the cost of the unused ones under Southern's 'Rainy Day' guarantee, despite the constant blazing sunshine that has turned my nose quite red. That meant we were late for the one bus from Long Buckby to Braunston. Why, you might ask, did we not get the train to Rugby where we would find buses galore? It's the old skinflint thing again; the Network Card area stretched as far as Long Buckby and no further; go there and you get a third off the fare, go to Rugby and pay full whack for the lot. However, having arrived at Northampton, realised we were going to miss the bus, having phoned two local taxis neither of which was available, I purchased from the guard two singles from long Buckby to Rugby and we continued on to there. Having gained the bus stop outside Rugby station, I was so befuddled by the incomprehensible information therein, that I was obliged to telephone Amy Duck, whom I knew had made the journey last weekend, for advice as to where to catch the bus. She said we should walk up a long hill to the toen centre (well, a parade of shops) and get one from there.
She was right (of course) hurrah! And eventually we were on the right bus. The driver seemed rather a surly chap as he took our fares, but there was a smile and a kind word for all the other passengers, who all knew him by name (Trevor) and regaled him with tales of their day. A local bus for local people, we concluded. It was a pleasant journey though, and we arrived in Braunston at about six - having left home at half past ten. It is indeed true that narrow boating is all about slow travel.
And since then, we have spent two days getting from Braunston to Hawkeabury, and thence tonight to Atherstone. Onwards to Alvecote tomorrow, after a quick review of the shops here.
Another (the first being Mike's brand new iphone being handed in to the police after he dropped it on the towpath there) nice thing happened in Nuneaton today (this is specially for the Wotevers). As we passed some of the many allotments that line the canal here, an old bloke chucked us a bag of potatoes he'd just dug up. Isn't that lovely.
It's been a beautiful evening here and I'm still standing outide writing this at nearly ten pm (BST, unfortunately). I've been sitting listening to the birds - really listening to all their different sounds. It's as exotic to me as the sounds of a tropical jungle, as all you can hear at home are the monster herring gulls. And I've been looking at the trees and hedges; so many shades of green and different varieties of leaf. The flowers are gone from the brambles, and little green blackberries already starting to form.