Monday, 29 May 2017


Today's Navigations - River Witham and Fossdyke

A generally grey day, much cooler, and intermittent very light drizzle until the afternoon, when it turned more consistently wet.

We spent most of the morning wandering around the shops, mainly picking various odds and ends rather than a full-on food shop. Christine wanted to visit Debenhems to see if we could buy a slightly larger fitted sheet for our bed. Mike wanted top find some sticky-pads for a couple if items, including the weather station that needs fixing to an internal cabin side but not at this stage by drilling a hole for screw (maybe later . . . much later!) The subsequent chilly turn to the weather was probably because we invested in an ice cube tray (from Poundland!) All in all, we did seem a bit weighed down with bags by the end of it all.

 It was not yet time for lunch but as we also wanted to visit the Usher Gallery and the Collection (museum) we opted for another cup of coffee and the second half of the cakes we bought from the butcher in Bardney and then have a late lunch.

As we set out, a couple of high cruisers came along - the first was quite tentative about being able to pass through the next bridge - just made it. The second was more gung-ho and although it was a smaller boat it had even less clearance.

We walked up to the Collection first. This is a museum about the history of Lincoln. It is very well laid out with excellent explanatory boards. The building itself as a blank exterior but inside is both interesting and functional. The displays are organised in chronological order which makes it easier to see how the city has developed. Although it was one of the foremost places in England following the Roman period, it was all but abandoned in the early medieval times and only returned to growth and economic success in the 15C.

Fighting was, of course, a key feature of many periods of history. Just inside the entrance was a cabinet with these two enormous broadswords. " . . . made in Germany around 1550. Despite their large size, they were wielded in combat with deadly speed and were particularly effective against enemies armed with staff weapons. Soldiers able to use these fearsome weapons received extra pay in recognition of their skills." 

 Apparently although this suit of armour looks very heavy, if properly fitted to the individual they could be very agile, run and jump up from the ground easily. The proper name is 'harness' because of the amount of strapping that held all the individual pieces in place.

Gold has long been used to make expensive items of jewellery and, long ago, only the very rich could afford such as this.

One display (someone had a fine time making all these figures) laid out the structure of a Roman Legion as well as its strict hierarchy of command with Centurions being a key component. (Why did their command groups only have 80 men?) OK, so this photographer did not make a good job with the reflections from the cabinets - sorry!

In a display about the social structure around the 14C, a panel that described the Lords Spiritual also stated that in AD 1300, around one in 80 people was in Holy Orders of some kind. Added to that, many lay people were related to a member of the clergy.

A small modern automaton could be activated with a 20p coin - it was somewhat underwhelming!

Although this statue of three goddesses dates from the Roman period (it was found in Ancaster) it reflects the deep Celtic traditions which continued to dominate popular religious culture.

After completing our tour of the Collection we went over the road to the Usher Gallery. This was founded just over 90 years ago by a rich local person - James Ward Usher. He was a merchant but gained the sole right to market Lincoln Imp memorabilia and this made him a fortune. He painted himself as the Sheriff of Lincoln.

The gallery originally contained mainly items which he had personally collected. He never married and made collecting his main activity outside work. As a result, both the paintings and the other items are at times an eclectic an disparate collection.

Lincolnshire Cornfield near Horncastle by Peter DeWint 1784 - 1849. It was said that DeWint chose scenes that otrhees found uninteresting and not classically picturesque.

Japanese Satsuma Bowl - 19C.

The Durham Ox was a well-known style of jug - this one was inscribed to a local farmer and butcher. When one of his customers ran short of cash, he paid the farmer with this jug!

On the staircase hand two paintings by William Logsdail (1859 - 1944). The one on the right is of his daughter and was named Picture of the Year at the Royal Academy in 1907.

There were, inevitably, a number of pictures of Lincoln, especially dominated by the cathedral. The first shows Brayford Pool in the foreground. The second, a pair, was painted this year and shows both the cathedral and the castle, each from the other's point of view.

Outside, a wedding group was using the front of the gallery as a location for wedding photos. The Register Office is a couple of buildings down the street and is a most inauspicious building with a very drab entrance. No wonder they moved to the more scenic position.

We then walked back to the boat and, as it was well after 2 o'clock, a quick lunch and we set off. We made a short stop at the service block before continuing northwards along Fossdyke.

We stopped to fill up with diesel at Burton Waters Marina - we were followed in by another boat with the same idea. In our case, not only will we be heading next out onto the tidal Trent but also followed by the Chesterfield Canal where there are scant fuelling options. We had forgotten that this was the marina where earlier this year a cruiser exploded into fire whilst on the fuel station. Luckily no-one was injured but both the boat, its neighbour and the petrol pump were destroyed. At least the diesel point was still operational, although we only needed just under 50 litres to fill to the brim.

Just after leaving the marina there is a visitor mooring and two narrowboats had just left - leaving us a bit concerned about whether we would be able to more in Saxilby as we hoped. In fact it turned out that there was plenty of room for all three of us with some to spare.

6.1 Miles - 0 Locks

1 comment:

  1. They were our friends coming back through. First time they had been through in these boats.

    Both happy now they know they fit.