Between Memory and Water
September 04 2016
A Great Place to Visit and Experience!
Stoke Bruerne was a great place to visit for a family day out when I was a kid. You could see all the barges with their bright colours, have an ice cream and even watch the locks being operated.
The Blisworth tunnel was closed when I was a child but today you can go straight through and on down the Northampton arm of the Grand Union Canal to the centre of Northampton. After that, the canal joins the Nene River, and from there it meanders through the valley and past my home in Irthlingborough.
The canal has probably been a part of most people’s lives in one way or another and is certainly one of our counties great treasures. This is why I decided to paint a picture, using the words of a poem by Ian McMillan called ‘Canal Life’.
Since about 2004 myself and my friends have taken an annual trip from Gayton in Northamptonshire to Milton Keynes and back. We always go in September when the school year has started and the first sniff of autumn makes the air crisp and fresh. It gives us a chance to slow down and its reminds us of nature, especially when the sun makes the water glisten as the boat gently glides along the canal.
Its a breath of fresh air, to be out and away.
This is the Life!
On our trips along the canal, I have often made drawings in my sketchbook to capture what I saw, so I thought it was time I made a painting. Ian McMillan's poem 'Canal Life' captures what the canal means to me and so I combined the poem into my latest text painting.
Between Memory and Water
Phrases, such as 'Between memory and water' and 'The canal tells you stories, The canal sings you songs' really captures for me the joy of being in a boat, going through the locks and being away from the hustle and bustle of life. When you are on the canal you feel like you are somewhere else and everything seems more peaceful.
Glimpses of Another World
When I am not on the canal and out in the car, I often catch glimpses of the canal and even see boats slowly cruising along. The water, birds and the natural beauty always makes me curious to see more.
But if you don't have the opportunity to get out on a boat, here are some places you can go to enjoy the canal:
The restored Union Wharf in Market Harborough is home to red-brick warehouses, most of which have been converted to trendy waterside apartments and arts and crafts workshops.
The Grand Union Canal at Stoke Bruerne is an idyllic picture of passing boats and local wildlife. It's a relaxing and lovely place for a day out.
Blisworth Tunnel, Blisworth
Tunnel is one of the longest in Britain. 3076 yards long and broad throughout - so that two narrowboats can pass.
An idyllic canalside location to explore. Sneak a peek at the colourful boats, count the locks at the really long Lock Flight, take a boat trip, or just sit back and relax at the pubs, café or picnic spots.
Once busy with barges laden with limestone for nearby lime kilns, Welford Wharf is now a picture of rural tranquility. It’s a great place for country walks and spotting wildlife.
To find out more visit The Canal and River Trust website.