The Bare Necessities

The next day we returned to Queen’s Park to see if the museum would be open and if the carillon would play. It wasn’t due until one o’clock so we headed into the museum first. It is a very good museum, with lots packed in to a small space and interestingly presented. Archaeology is explained too. The local dinosaur is The Barrow Kipper. It was presented as floor level as it may have been unearthed with a glass cover strong enough to walk on.

Barrow Kipper laid bare.

The history of the ladybird books, the aeroplane industry, agriculture, local animals, the area through the ages, a burial ground and the stockings industry, which flourished here during the industrial revolution, from a cottage industry to a fast factory, with improved technology. When they were all running it must have been deafening, no body had their ears covered.

A machine for knitting stockings, faster than hand knitting, for home use in the background, a factory full of machines

A whole shop had been found boarded up that had not been touched for years so that everything was preserved like a time capsule and the museum was allowed to help themselves. They had it set so children could pretend to be in the shop not just look from the other side. It was a grocery store with all the basic necessities, like soap, jam, tea. And that was another reminder that it was time for a cafe visit. Shane had a scone with jam and cream and I had a warmed cheese one: essential fodder. Then we went to see the birds in the aviary again. Someone was feeding figs to the birds despite a large sign saying not to feed them. She was particularly keen to feed Banjo saying he must need extra because he had lost his sfeathers. She probably hadn’t read the sign explaining that he was not ill any more. He is loud and lively in fact.

Bare chested Banjo

There is a qr code for getting the programme. I had seen ones from previous weeks the day before so we updated it. For some reason this week’s was not detailed with titles and composers but stripped bare to a mere theme. It is all the same person who by some strange bit of nominative determinism sounded like her instrument of choice and a musical term. The music started. We couldn’t identify the first but later we made out Blow The Wind Southerly, You are My Sunshine, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head and Bring Me Sunshine.

We left the park for lunch at Public again and it did not disappoint. As well as food and drink it sells crafts and plants and has loaves of bread for sale. What you need for a good simple life! May be I should take up needlepoint.

At this point Shane went back to the boat and I went back to catch some things I had missed. I made my way back to the park and museum. The Bear exhibition had been ignored. Most of it centred on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but many other bears were featured from books e.g. Wonk the Koala, and their use in advertising and as toys. Right next to the Bear exhibition was the lovely tapestry by many people, some familiar and unfamiliar local features were represented.

It had a book explaining each panel, including the techniques used and it helped me understand some local history and figures.

There was a statue I had seen before in town but I not realised its relevance. It was a bare man except for a figleaf and sock. Apparently it celebrated the town’s stocking making importance.

I decided to head to town and found the market in full swing. We were low in vegetables so this was a perfect chance. I prefer them unpackaged anyway. I was amused at the placement of a topical ladybird book bench near the market. There were many there so this was possibly more by accident than design. I bought a parsnip, carrots, onions, courgettes and aubergines.

Book bench in the market of visiting a greengrocers

It was starting to rain but only a little so I got back dry. I passed the water point and canal basin. Water is an essential nessecity for all but when you have to fill the tank regularly, it becomes more obvious. This water point was marked and we did find it but hadn’t used it before. It has been placed in a most inaccessible place. I had to climb on the slippy smooth bit of bow to reach the ladder and climb up carrying the rope and bringing the hose up later. Tying to the railing seemed incorrect but there was nothing else. As we had finished filling, we spoke to another boater in the basin and they had not seen that there was water there at all. We have seen a few boater struggling to access it and commenting on the basin looking like it wasn’t designed for boaters. There are barriers in front of it, a lack of mooring points and ladders a little a way from it that are the only way of reaching it. As you drive in, it is hidden behind a much larger post and you have to drive past it to see it.

I had to climb on the slippy smooth bit of bow to reach the ladder and climb up carrying the rope and bringing the hose up later. Tying to the railing seemed incorrect but there was nothing else.

Today we decided we had enough water and would not try to top up before moving on. We had a few weather fluctuations and tricky locks to negotiate but someone had decided to add a bit of luxury. I rarely get a seat while locking and wasn’t tempted.

For armchair lock workers

All ended well and we saw a boat that eerily depicted what I had already planned as my title before I clapped eyes on it and we stayed remarkably dry considering.

Bear Necessities Narrow Boat, not Bare