What better time to arrive home than on the afternoon of the Great Bowden & District Garden Society annual show! No sooner had I put my feet up to watch the Athletics on TV (below) and I was off down to the Village Hall to see a mix of flowers, cakes, jams, home-grown vegetables and a tombola showing off local village life at its best and something that my girlfriend (nor me!) probably couldn’t envisage. For £1 we could draw 5 or 6 tickets which if ending in 0 or 5 were winners. Between the four of us we managed to win a fair few prizes including bottles of alcohol, shampoo and soft drinks!
The beautiful surrounding countryside as well as my parents garden was all very impressive for my girlfriend and after the excitement at Great Bowden Village Hall we took a short walk through the fields accessed over a bridge crossing the train line which runs through the village. I’ve never seen anyone so excited to see some cows in a field!
A day trip to Stamford followed the next day culminating in a traditional home-made Sunday roast and crumble for pudding which was all very nice.
It wasn’t actually till our third day back home that I showed my girlfriend the delights of Market Harborough town centre including the Old Grammar School above. Never have I spent so long in town (excluding drinking sessions!) as we went from shop to shop before I finally treated her to lunch (two meals for a bargain £6.99) at my old haunt ‘The Sugarloaf’ below.
Foxton Locks is just a few miles out of town and is very much part of the tourist circuit for the few people that actually do more than just passing through the heart of rural England! I may have been fairly underwhelmed by the vast locks in Panama earlier this year but these locks are always a joy to behold having been a regular day out as a child whenever friends and family came to visit us in Market Harborough.
Free to enter, this site is a unique 10 lock staircase that takes narrow boats up and down the 23 metre hill and has been around for just under 200 years. It is also famed for the remains of its Inclined Plane boat lift which was originally built as a solution to various operational restrictions imposed by the lock flight. However, it wasn’t so successful and was only operational for a decade although there is some kind of campaign to fully restore the Plane.
The Roebuck is a fairly new addition to the Harborough pub scene and so my girlfriend and I treated my parents to a slap-up pub meal (above) there in the evening.