27 September 2012

(12) UK - Fox and Hounds and Geddinton

Woke up today to a sore chest - the bane of my life. Where did I catch a bug? It's always a mystery but my cold does not pass even pass "Go "- it launches itself directly to the lungs and makes me miserable. So I took a slow morning - my limbs most likely also required a respite after going up and down Steep Hill in Lincoln twice yesterday.

We also heard the bad news that the Anderton Canal has flooded and some of the river banks collapsed so our Canal Boat trip for next week, has to be cancelled  on this route. RCI were most helpful in giving us a few other options and we have chosen the Alvechurch Canal instead. Let's hope this does not have adverse weather as well!

After all these phone calls trying to re-schedule our plans, we felt decidedly peckish so off we went to The Fox and Hounds in Exton. A great choice, as it turned out. This pub does not have many tables but most filled up after we arrived. The food was excellent - the best by far in our travels to date. We had beef stew with parsnip mash and green beans - the stew was served in a teeny yellow pot - very dinky but full of flavoursome beef. Our starters were excellent and then to finish we had Malva Pudding and Vanilla Cheesecake. All beautifully presented at a Special rate of 13 pounds for the 3 course. Full marks to this pub - do try it if you are in the area.

Exton is the just so pretty - the houses are gorgeous and their flowers on the tiny verges are bright and colourful. It's a small village and we saw a few local children being taught the rules of the road on their bicycles. In such a small village, one doubts there is much traffic but it was good to see road safety being taught in practical terms.
Being our last day in this area today we headed off to see some of the interesting villages.

Kings Cliffe is supposedly like a miniature Cotswold town without all the tourists. However, they are not short of kids - mothers were out in force collecting their pre-schoolers - I was quite amazed that such a small village has so many young families. The village has the funniest narrow lanes running down to Willow Brook - so narrow a fat man would get stuck!

Geddington was our last stop for the day to view the Eleanor Cross which stands proud in the middle of the village. This cross was raised as a memorial by Edward 1 (1239 - 1307) to his late wife Eleanor of Castille (1244 - 1290) There were originally 12 monuments erected as the funeral procession wound it's way from Harby in Nottinghamshire to Westminster Abbey. It is simply incredible that something so old has survived. Eleanor bore 15 children to Edward 1st and he was heart-broken when she died.
The village also has a wonderful old medieval stone bridge which crosses the River Ise. Built in 1250 we drove across it (not supposed to!) as there is a causeway beneath which looked to deep for our little car to go over!
Whilst looking at the Eleanor Cross we met a local chap who is a historian. He was a mine of information and was so very interesting. He took us on a tour of the Mary Magdalene church which was originally built in the 10th century. When the floors collapsed in 1990, a skeleton was found with all it's teeth intact! The stained glass windows are beautiful and the church is much used.
The village apparently holds many festivals throughout the year and  the friendly villagers made our host decide to re-locate to  Geedington. Being from Quebec, Canada originally, this was quite a move but going by his amazing passion for the history of the village, it was a good one.
A great tradition started by Sir Robert Dallinton in the 1600's still exists today whereby loaves of bread are given to the needy villagers (24) every Sunday.
The church also still has two pagan symbols in the church - the God of Water and the Jester - both very old and preserved.
A fascinating hour given to us by a man so very passionate about his village and church. Thank you, Kam Caddle!

The floods in Northern England are now the worst in many years so we are extremely lucky to have been blessed with cloudy weather only today.

© Judelle Drake

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