Saturday, May 25, 2013

Stoke Bruerne

Today I went to a village which, by my best calculations, I first visited 48 years ago and last visited 42 years ago: Stoke Bruerne near Towcester in Northamptonshire.

When I was a little boy my family used to take canal holidays - which was quite daring in those days. And Stoke Bruerne is not only on the Grand Union but also home to a canal museum. That museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, which must mean that it had been open only a couple of years when I first visited it.

I did not go round the museum today, though I did have a coffee there when I arrived, because buses to Stoke Bruerne are few. But there was still much to enjoy: two canalside pubs (I recommend The Boat Inn), boats and locks to watch, a twee craft shop and a tea garden.

There is even an Indian restaurant, which I suspect was not there in 1965 or 1971. I was so taken with it that I first read this narrow boat's name as 'Indian Chef', reasoning it must be a tribute to the owner of Spice of Bruerne. (The museum is the taller building in the background - an old corn mill.)

One day I will visit the museum again, but in the mean time here is a piece of village and canal history from before even my time: Sister Mary Ward.

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