8 September 2021

Leicestershire

They say that our mini-heatwave will only last for one more day. I am sorry that I have not been visiting other people's blogs very much nor responding to comments as usual. There just hasn't been the time. I am writing this at 6am before going back to bed for another forty winks. Today we hope to visit Rutland Water - a vast reservoir in the heart of the smallest county.

Yesterday, we visited Foxton Locks on The Grand Union Canal. Constructed in the early nineteenth century, the ten locks form a  kind of staircase for narrow boats. Nowadays the traffic is all about leisure but once the locks were all about trade and commerce. The Grand Union Canal became a vital economic artery long before the railways.

At Foxton Locks

After Foxton Locks, Clint took us to Market Harborough where we mooched around in the sunshine, visited a few shops and had lunch in a Wetherspoons pub called "The Sugar Loaf" - named after the grocery store that once occupied the site. Apparently, it was where townsfolk bought their precious sweetener, scraped from hardened pinnacles of sugar. I never knew about this custom. Nowadays we take bags of refined sugar for granted but once the substance was both new and relatively expensive.

The Square, Market Harborough

After stocking up with provisions in the Sainsburys superstore, we headed back to Tugby. Before our evening meal, I  went for a short walk in nearby farmland to capture  a "Geograph" square I had previously missed. See the top picture. A farmer is harrowing a harvested wheatfield. It is, I think,  a quintessential image of rural England at the very end of summer as autumn gradually assumes its annual position.

Also seen yesterday - the butter cross (on the right) in the village of Hallaton

28 comments:

  1. Gorgeous scenes again, enhanced by that vivid blue sky.
    What a lot you are packing into your holiday.

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    1. It has just been so good to get away and the house is pretty perfect.

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  2. Goodness YP, I'm having a difficult time keeping up with you - you're really getting out and about! I missed yesterday's post completely.
    As always, excellent photos - but where's the family princess in the second one?
    In spite of the forecast, I do hope the weather will continue to be kind to you - everywhere looks so much better in the sunshine.

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    1. I must post some more Phoebe pics soon. Thanks for calling by again and leaving kind thoughts Carol. Much appreciated.

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  3. Market Harborough - some of my great grandfather's sisters worked at the Symington corset factory in Adam and Eve Street, renown for the invention of the liberty bodice.

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    1. We genuinely walked by Adam and Eve Street! I could not Adam and Eve it!

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  4. I had to stop to google geograph squares. Here, something called geocaches are popular. This sounds the same, but with photography. I like the ideas very much and must read more about it.

    Fascinating little anecdotes today. Thank you.

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    1. As far as I know, Geograph only operates in Britain, Ireland and Germany.

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  5. Market Harborough could be in the Netherlands, while Hallaton with its Butter Cross could only be in England.

    The Butter Cross is iconic, and stands in perfect alignment to the War Memorial and thatched cottage.
    I can imagine putting my hand on its sun-baked stone and talking about sculpture to Barbara Hepworth (born in Wakefield) or Henry Moore (born in Castleford).

    There's something about Rutland and small counties, something that draws us to maps.
    The Scottish writer Kenneth White, long resident in France, talks about looking at places with born-again eyes. White calls this geopoetics.

    Clackmannanshire is the smallest county in Scotland (I think) and I have been visiting its county capital, Alloa, thanks to YouTube.
    Alloa and the Ochil Hills draw me back and so does Rutland.

    Odd to think that in nearly two years I have not left Glasgow, never having travelled on a train or bus or taxi in all that time.
    I am grateful to all you bloggers.
    Haggerty

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    1. It's funny Mr Haggerty - I did both of my secondary school teaching practices in Clackmannanshire - at St Mungo's Academy in Alloa and at Alva Academy. They had the tawse in those days.

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  6. So glad you and the family are having a lovely holiday.

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    1. The weather will break tomorrow but it really has been lovely Mary.

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  7. So beautiful! I hope the heat breaks for you though.
    Your mention of sugar reminded me of an article I just read in the New Yorker that you may or may not be interested in reading concerning the history of some of Englands most beautiful country manors. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/08/23/britains-idyllic-country-houses-reveal-a-darker-history

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    1. I would like to read that article and hope to come back to it. Thanks Mary.

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  8. I have been to England a few times over the years but never knew about their extensive system of canals and locks until I saw a show on I think Netflix called Narrow Boating. It was about a widowed guy who took to boating down all the canals full time.

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    1. Before the railways our canals were boosting Britain's coffers. Hiring a narrow boat for a holiday is usually very expensive.

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  9. Replies
    1. A buttercross, also known as butter cross or butter market, is a type of market cross associated with English market towns and dating from medieval times. Its name originates from the fact that they were located at the market place, where people from neighbouring villages would gather to buy locally produced butter, milk and eggs. The fresh produce was laid out and displayed on the circular stepped bases of the cross.

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  10. Why is it called a "butter cross"? It's hard to imagine now what a luxury sugar must have been in earlier eras. That harvest photo does look very autumnal!

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    1. A butter cross was where local producers sold their dairy produce on market days. There are many butter crosses in England.

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  11. I am enjoying the travel vicariously these days. You're visiting such beautiful spots and have lucked out on the weather. (for now anyway!) Blogging is tough when on trips; sometimes I do and other times I don't. But since I do love having record of what I did, where I went, what I ate, etc. I eventually write some posts. They are fun to read later on.

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    1. I am happy to have taken you to Leicestershire(and Rutland) Margaret.

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  12. I like the butter cross. If those stones could talk what wonderful stories they would tell.

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    1. All you can detect nowadays is the echoes of times past.

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  13. As always I learn from your posts, sugar loafs and butter cross markets. Who knew?

    Enjoy your holiday.

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    1. Thank you Pixie Lily and thanks for following this humble Yorkshire blog.

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  14. I am sure I haven't ever seen English dust before.

    It is a rather interesting well like structure in the last photo.

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    1. That butter cross is a very unusual one.

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