Posts Tagged ‘grand union’

Jennie dropped me off at Leighton Buzzard station and I resumed the walk. I joined the Grand Union Canal and walked along the tow path for a while. Round about now one of those weird, meaningless internet things happened. I twittered this photo

with the comment ‘Phwoar, nice bit of hedgelaying south of Leighton’. (Remember, you could be reading gems like this every five minutes, were you to follow me on Twitter.) My friend Martin was amused enough to retweet this with the comment ‘a bad case of bush envy!’, after which it was retweeted again by @hashpolitics, whose mission is ‘Aggregating news about USA politics in 140 chars’ – presumably seeing political significance in the word ‘bush’…


It was a sunny day and it was pleasant strolling along the canal. The countryside offered nice views, with Big Shed warehouses and giant factories shimmering beyond fields with placid cows. I liked this Anubis boat:

and the stretches of woodland:

The canal was busy, with the road, railway and River Ouzel bundled together in the same tract. At one point I could see and/or hear trains, cars, canoes, planes and bikes, all at the same time. It was like the transport hub of the world, but maybe everywhere is these days.

Under the A505 bridge, decorated with ghoulish looming graffiti, it occurred to me that I could squat down and become a troll, sending inflaming messages around the internet from my phone and generally causing mischief and self-perpetuating misery. On the other hand, I could try and spread tiny joys and semi-precious beauties…

To be continued

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Friday night we arrived at our friend Sharon’s house in Warwick. Weary and overwrought, we enjoyed being welcomed with good food and doggy antics. I also unwound with a bottle of beer, apparently brewed by the bloke who played Rocky in Boon.  (I liked this lager/ale hybrid and will seek out beers brewed by TV stars in future. I’m sure Arthur Mullard could construct a nice porter.)

A further luxury, having walked quite far from my home, was to be able to commence a leg first thing, without needing a long journey to get to the start. However rather than set out immediately, I attended an early Mass at the church next door (my favourite kind – no music, and hardly any people to ‘share a sign of  peace’ (eg embarrassed handshake) with.) Surprisingly, given recent online conversations about the nature of homecoming, one of the readings was the Prodigal Son.

I walked along a main road from Warwick to Leamington Spa. A daffodil on the tarmac-rivered pavement signalled a good start to a spring walk.

Sunshine was welcome after months shrouded in cloud. In the Royal Priors shopping centre I bought tea, glimpsing a man drawing a huge mind-map in an A4 journal.

I dropped down to the Grand Union Canal, where I would spend most of the morning. I walked out past estates which seemed to have been built around ancient groves, saw sunlight on blossom. After a while the dog walkers, runners and cyclists thinned out and I was in countryside, with mostly boats for company.

In a small clearing in the canalside wood, I found a firepit surrounded by benches made from logs and balks of timber, a DIY social area. It even had a doormat – a kind of red carpet for distinguished guests.

And a swing, which enabled me to make this pixel-perfect re-enactment of Fragonard’s The Swing:

I crossed the Fosse Way and walked some more canal, until it was time to turn off and head south on to the Centenary Way.

Random thoughts in a difficult time: making journeys is a creative act; countless tiny actions no-one will see or know, all ephemeral, lost; drinking around a fire in a dark wood, sparks flickering upwards; ‘Everything That Rises Must Converge’

The wind was getting up, sky now gray – getting a ragged, blown-apart feeling. Reached a farm, where paths and railways met. Not sure who I would be in the Prodigal Son story; the lost son, watching the pigs eating husks (or the less-appetising-sounding ‘pods’), waiting to come to his senses and return from the dead; or the good son, doing the right things with no satisfying results, unaware of the bounty he has as of right. Or perhaps some off-stage character, dealing with the practicalities of finding robes and roasting a calf.

Another mile or so and I was in Harbury, an attractive village. Finished up in the Crown Inn, drinking a pint of Copper Dragon, waiting for Jennie and Sharon to appear with the support vehicle (now dubbable as the 50-mobile) and whisk me away…

Post-walk research tells me that an ichthyosaurus was found in Harbury once, stone image of its bones 40 feet beneath the earth, now in the Natural History Museum. A poet called Richard Jago  used to be the vicar, ‘remembered for his poem Edge-hill, or, the rural prospect delineated and moralised (1767)’. I hope to get as far as Edge Hill next time, which I am sure I will delineate and perhaps even moralise about.

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