Friday, 3 August 2018

Exploring Hemingford Grey and on to St Ives - 1st Aug

Wednesday 1st August 2018
Hemingford Grey to St Ives 
1.5 miles, 1 lock

We had a rather disturbed night with Monty - for some reason he started to whine in the wee small hours.  I took him out in case that was the problem, but I am not sure it was.  He did eventually settle down, but we were not up at the crack of sparrows.  When we did get moving Chris took Monty for a walk to Hemingford Abbots, whilst I went for my first wander round Hemingford Grey.  It is not quite as 'chocolate box' as Hemingford Abbots, but it is still a lovely village.

My first port of call was the Parish Church of St James

I had hoped to find some historical details, especially about the octagonal tower.  Sadly that was not to be, but a bit of internet research has led me to believe that the original tower was taller and was blown down by a storm in 1741.  What was left was levelled off and decorated with ball finials at the angles. 

The first thing that strikes you as you enter is the absence of pews - just a semi-circle of chairs. 

 The most interesting part was the history of the bells

and what a view from the main entrance.  Definitely worth a visit if you are down this way.

The village itself has a very useful and quite well stocked general store and PO

One of the residents has an unusual form of transport, but I would think eminently useful in a place this size.  Plenty of room for shopping in the back.

There is a pub - we are booked to eat there on Saturday evening, so I will report back afterwards.

There are a good number of thatched properties

As far as I could tell this is one large property

with a rather fetching cockerel on the roof.

On the theme of the above house - there are a number that our painted brick, something I am not normally a fan of, but, for the most part, the colours are subdued and work well.

I can only begin to imagine the grandeur that lies behind these gates - Hemingford Grey House, The Coach House and The Lodge.  

Well tended flower baskets are a delight

On the High Street there is this rather lovely old building - Jubilee Reading Room.  The year on the front states 1897, but from a google search it appears to have been officially opened on 5th August 1898.  Today it seems to be a venue for all sorts of events, but this is what I found from a site called Hemlocs Scraps - 'The new Reading Room at Hemingford Grey was opened and the outside of this handsome little place was gaily decorated with flags. It is a well-built building. Sir Arthur W Marshall spoke of the cheapness of books and newspapers, of the starting of public libraries while even their villages had their public rooms and bookshops. The Reverend D E Curtois spoke of the desirability of having a room where the young could have the sociability of the public house without its temptations.'

A very pleasant way to start the day.

When I returned we headed off to St Ives (again!).  Just the one lock, but it was busy with a boat coming up, three of us going down with another waiting behind us (we think he could have got in, but maybe he keeps away from steel?) and more waiting to go up as we left. I love the ducks on the EA weed cutter!

Monty has this off to a fine art - a couple of months ago he refused point blank to cross

There is a fleet of 'Only Fools and Horses' day boats round here.

Approaching St Ives - the town bridge just as we start to turn to reverse down the Waits.

It takes a bit of time to moor up here due to the high walls - we deploy our big wheelbarrow wheels to keep the paint intact. 

So what does Monty do whilst all this is going on - well he supervises from the only bit of shade he could find - what a sensible chap he is.

To my delight, as we arrived the scaffolding on the building opposite our mooring that had been up since we first came this way, was being removed, so I was able at last to get a decent picture of what used to be a butcher's shop.

 After lunch I headed off to the Parish Church and Holt Nature Reserve - they were both shut!  Hopefully they will be open on Sunday when we return for our last visit before we head for home.  I may have to make the ultimate sacrifice on Sunday and go in to the church for a cream tea, just so I can look round.  Well that is my excuse and I am sticking to it!.  My next port of call was more successful - The Norris Museum.  It was opened in 1933 and named after a St Ives born man called Herbert Norris.  He had collected many artifacts of local historical interest and many more have been added since.  They now have over 33,000 exhibits ranging from archaeological exhibits, through the Stone and Iron Ages, Roman settlements and information about the Medieval Markets.  This rhyme celebrates the Great Fair in St Ives.

There are things for children to do including some maths using an abacus

No history of this part of the world would be complete without a section and some films covering fen land skating.  Free to enter, but donations gratefully received. 

Thursday 2nd August 2018
St Ives

Another scorcher and quite a quiet one for us.  Monty walks are a given. A Tesco delivery which saved us a long (mile) hot walk to Waitrose and back.  We wandered into town to indulge ourselves with lunch at the Riverside Cafe - Cromer Crab salad with a glass of white wine.  Very decadent, but very nice.  Back to the boat for a quiet afternoon.  Chris had bought some bolts to make the fixing for the ropes on the wheelbarrow tyres more secure.  When he lifted the one at the bow to start working on it this is what he found - now safely back in the river I can assure you.

No comments: