Stoke Bruerne is situated on the Grand Union Canal, between Milton Keynes and Northampton. The canal, then known as the Grand Junction Canal, was completed in 1805, linking London and Birmingham.
In spite of a very drizzly day, 8 members of the society, and some wives, met in the café at the Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne on September 10th 2016. The forecasters said that the weather was promised to improve. After refreshments, we toured the museum, a 3 storey, former store house, beside the canal. Inside was an interesting collection of memorabilia, the history of canal construction, and the companies that ran them. The largest exhibit was a complete living section of a narrow boat, an incredibly cramped space where a family would eat, sleep and work as they travelled along the canals. Nearby were the wonderfully traditionally decorated pots, buckets etc. that the travellers often decorated themselves. Also on display were tools, equipment and models of canal boats.
Many modern canal boat owners had arrived in the village, some in highly decorated boats, in sufficient numbers for a 1940s themed weekend in the village. A group played and sang 1940s tunes in the shelter of a bridge and there were lots of tented displays.
The light rain continued, so we decided to have an early lunch in the Boat pub, opposite the museum. This was a good opportunity to catch up on the latest experimentation in 3D with other members. After an extended lunch, we wandered along the towpath to the entrance of the Blisworth tunnel admiring the boats, but the rain showed no sign of stopping. At the entrance to the tunnel a blacksmith demonstrated his skills and offered his (slightly eccentric) views on things ancient and modern.
With no sign of the weather improving, we walked back to Stoke Bruerne and on to the staircase of locks south of the village, where we helped operate the lock gates for a narrowboat. Then it was back to Stoke Bruerne from where we made our way home, also in the drizzle.
Boat living quarters
Logjam of boats.
Anyone for coffee?