What a wet and miserable day. Although it seemed to have rained constantly I think we have got off lightly compared to others. There were still plenty of boats moving. If we’d spotted NB Mountbatten and Jellicoe earlier we’d have stopped them for some coal, but they were heading past us before we realised it was them. We had no plans on cruising today and it turned out that was a good decision.
We’ve always passed through Weedon Bec before, pausing for a pint of milk at Tescos to the east of the canal. This time we were going to explore the west side, the proper Weedon Bec.
A small basin now marks where the canal once had an arm, a small housing estate has been built over part of this as access is only by road.
We climbed down the steps from the embankment and walked under the canal and then the railway, back up the hill on the other side where we could see by the large wall we were where we wanted to be.
The Royal Ordnance Depot was built in 1802 just before the Napoleonic Wars. It was positioned more or less in the centre of the country away from possible invasion along the coast. Here small firearms and cannons were stored and repaired, there was a barracks, and a military prison. The site remained a secretive arms distribution centre for around 150 years, still being used during WW2 and into the 1950’s, finally being decommissioned in 1965.
The original site was added to through the years, but now stands pretty much as it did originally.
There is a visitors centre, sadly not open Mondays and Tuesdays and you are welcome to wander around. The site is now owned privately and the buildings are rented out to local businesses as workshops or offices. There were far more vehicles than I’d imagined and it seems to be a busy place. A fascinating place too.
A book shop and cafe are in one of the first buildings you come to, those will have to wait for our next visit as I was interested in finding one business in building 14. Downstairs is filled with vintage cars and parts. Mountains of rush seated chairs were piled up, none of this was what we were looking for, in the end we were guided to a set of steep steps on the end of the building. A familiar face was walking to them anyway.
Riverknits, Becci and Markus, moved into a space on the top floor of building 14 a few months ago. They used to work from their narrowboat dyeing yarns and were running out of space. They moved off the boat into a house and continued to use the boat as a dye studio, but they missed waking up on the water everyday. So in the end they hired a space at the Depot to work in, redecorated their boat whilst they still had the house and now live back on board.
I’d come for a nosy really and with the intention of buying some yarn so that I can make myself something, something really nice. Becci showed us round their space. on the boat they could only have one dye pot going at a time, but here they now have space for several. On the boat the yarn once dyed and rinsed would be hung from the grab rail outside to dry, but now they have lines of clothes rails all lined up.
A quick look at patterns on the internet gave us an idea of how much yarn I’d be needing. DK weight was going to cost me a lot as I’d need a lot of skeins, 4 ply more manageable on the pocket and now manageable with my fingers after several pairs of socks. But which colour?
A vivid turquoise jumped out at me from the wall of yarns, Becci could dye me some up but off the shelf it was only available in DK. I’d been trying to choose something other than red, but now I was just drawn to a varigated red called ‘My heart bleeds wine’, not all red honest. The pattern I’d chosen needed just over 4 skeins so I chose a mini skein in a rich blue which pulls out the red more. I’ll use this on the pockets or band or somewhere.
Byrn their 3 year old kept Mick amused playing transformers, whilst I was given the chance to wind my skeins into balls. This by hand would take around an hour for each one, so a lot of TV would have to be watched. I’ll stash these away for a while, I’ve got lots that needs to be done before I’m allowed to get carried away knitting something for myself.
A walk down the other side of the depot, a closer look at the fire engine that has the most extreme crackle paint effect I’ve ever seen. Then we walked into the village for some bread.
Weedon is an old village, two villages that have gradually merged together.
As you walk around large thick creamy yellow stone walls with thatched roofs and small windows take you back to Tudor times. Around every corner another building catches your eye.
A lovely end terraced house has just sold, it’s front door down a little alleyway.
Weedon not only has the canal but also the West Coast Main line cutting it’s way right through it. The church of St Peter and St Paul is sandwiched between the two. The interior quite dark today due to the weather and failing lights. Yesterday there had been a full peel of the bells, shame we missed it.
Later on this afternoon I got a message from our friend Heather on NB Bleasdale, she’d spotted from my facebook picture that we were in Weedon, so was she. A meeting was arranged in the Plume of Feathers for a catch up over a few drinks. Our paths haven’t crossed for a couple of years, so the hours ran away with us. We ended up being the last people in the pub with the front door locked. There was no rush to leave so we managed to avoid the down pours. Hope the weather improves for Heather as she is catching a lift from Lincoln to cross the Wash at the weekend.
0 locks, 0 miles, 2 sets of secret steps, 1 Royal Ordnance Depot, building 14, 480 grams of yummy yarn, 9.75 fingers twitching to start, 480 grams hidden, 1 fire engine, 1 transformer, 1 pretty village divided by the railway, 1 photo, 1 car show missed, 3.5 hours catching up, 1 very wet day very well spent.