Stoke Bruerne Village at War 2012

We had a busy weekend with our family. However, we couldn't miss visiting Stoke Bruerne for their wonderful Village and War event today. Our first outing with all three grandchildren  - the youngest Hugh, is less than a month old.

Stoke Bruerne during The Village at War
As usual Stoke Bruerne was full of 1940s renactors, with a good sprinkling of military vehicles, vintage cars, bicycles and of course working narrow boats. All in a good cause - the Canal Museum.
Mr Churchill keeping up morale

Last year the event was held in the middle of an Indian Summer. We were not so fortunate this year but the rain stayed away and the towpath was crowded. This year the front cover of the programme features a sepia print of bloggers Jo and Keith from NB Hadar.
Jo and Keith chatting to friends
Catching up on the war effort
Our eldest grandchild, Amelia is two and three quarters and is at the age where she appreciates all sorts of new experiences. She loved the boats and really enjoyed her tour of Raymond. She also enjoyed watching Nutfield go down the top lock.

Maggie and Amelia on butty Raymond

Amelia and Maggie watch Steve Miles take Nutfield through Stoke Bruerne Top Lock

1940s Police
The are usually a number of police reanactors at the Village at War event. This year there appeared to be quite a few. I managed to snap one talking to a PCSO. In the 1940s equipment was a truncheon (hidden away) and a pair of handcuffs. A lot more equipment nowadays, including a stab proof vest, even for a PCSO.
Northamptonshire Home Guard brewing up
I will finish with my favourite shot of the day - the Home Guard brewing up. An army does march on its stomach.
Next week we set off on Albert on a autumn trip to Henley - or at least that's the plan. The river levels are falling - for the moment at least.

Wartime Northamptonshire

I recently bought two black and white prints of Stoke Bruerne and Cosgrove primarily because of their local connection to the Grand Union Canal but also because I admired their style. They appear to be taken from a book called “Recording Britain”. The originals appear to be kept by the Victoria & Albert Museum; their images can be seen on the museum’s web catalogue. They were painted by S.R.Badmin who was a watercolourist. His Shell Guide to Trees & Shrubs has some wonderful illustrations; all those who love the English landscape throughout the year will admire them.

'Recording Britain' was part of a scheme carried out during the Second World War to employ artists to record the home front in Britain. It ran until 1943 and some of the country's finest watercolour painters, such as John Piper, Sir William Russell Flint and Rowland Hilder, were commissioned to make paintings and drawings of buildings, scenes, and places which captured a sense of national identity. The scheme was established by Sir Kenneth Clark, who was then director of the National Gallery, and it ran alongside the official War Artists' Scheme. Clark became well-known in the 1970s as the writer, producer, and presenter of the famous BBC Television series Civilisation.

Cosgrove 1940s by SR Badmin

The Cosgrove picture also features a narrow boat, this time crossing of the pedestrian tunnel that goes under the canal. If you look carefully a train can be seen in the background and two children are near the boat, one watching the boat and the chasing towards the tunnel. A woman is steering the boat, presumably a butty. The Barley Mow still looks much the same sixty years on, although Phipps the Northampton brewery has long gone.
Stoke Bruerne 1940s by SR Badwin 

The Stoke Bruerne print is particularly stylish with the double-arched bridge dominating the scene. The scene shows sandbags in the foreground indicating that it is wartime. There a number of technical inaccuracies in the picture concerning the boat, such as the signwriting and the use of running blocks, but I like the way Badmin has captured the steerer leaning on the cabin as he passes under the bridge.

This coming weekend Stoke Bruerne will be looking back to wartime again with the Village at War Event.

Wash and Polish

Yesterday the weather was good so I decided to wash and polish Albert; she was looking a bit grubby and dull. We like Albert's cabin to look good but we are not too precious about the hull; quite a few scratches from use.

Took four hours in total. It was good aerobic exercise!

We are now back among the shiny boats but definitely not the Shiny Shiny Boats Club.