Water level

We are now in Northamptonshire on the Nene River, pronounced Neen at one end and Nen at the other. The river twists much more than the channels we were on in the Fens and there are far more trees which makes seeing boats coming the other way harder. After four days of being almost alone on the Middle Level we are now meeting a boat every 40 minutes or so. I need to be alert, not meditative.

I'm surprised that after our weeks and weeks of hot dry weather the river is full and water flows over the top of the lock gates.

We reach pretty Fotheringhay, where I have to be very careful not to fall into the chasms in my knowledge of Tudor history. I go into the church a couple of minutes after the students and find a local giving them a brilliantly clear talk in simple slow English about the history and architecture of the church, castle site and area. It's just about at my level of knowledge so I keep my mouth shut. We walk on to the mound, the site of the castle where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned for 21 years (thank you google and Sandy Denny), where thistles now grow.

And on to Oundle then Wadenhoe to moor for the night. The pub is shut, probably because most of the village's 244 inhabitants are among the wedding revellers in the village hall by the river. We retreat to the boat where two of us teach three of us songs in four parts. We are not yet bookable for a performance.

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