I've paid a deposit to our boat fitter to reserve our build slot! Work starts on the fit-out of Syncopation at the beginning of June 2007. This means that the shell will be built beginning in May 2007.
We went to Rectory Farm in Water Stratford on Sunday afternoon. The weather was wonderfully warm and the walk was entertaining and educational. We walked for about a mile and a half around the farm, seeing the various activities that were being carried out for conservation purposes. There were small patches of crops planted to encourage wildlife (millet, sunflowers) and birds. Crayfish are caught in the river Great Ouse which runs along one side of the farm. These are the Americn Signal crayfish which has displaced the native species in most of our waterways. The walk finished with some pond-dipping where we caught newts, water boatmen and mayfly larvae. Last but not least, we watched three sheep being sheared.
Grannybuttons has spotted Ernst Stavros Blofeldin hiding on a Wyvern Shipping Company narrowboat! Reminds me vaguely of the first narrowboat holiday I spent on Wyvern's Willow in 1978: This is my Mum, Dad, sister Judi and Aunt Doreen, somewhere near Berkhamstead. I can't for the life of me think why we turned south from Willow Wren's base in Leighton Buzzard rather than north. The scenery would have been more attractive the other way.
We didn't go to Duxford. It was raining, an hour's drive and cost too much. Instead we went to West Wycombe and Hellfire caves.
The excavation of the caves at West Wycombe were financed by Sir Francis dashwood in the 1750s. The chalk dug out was used to build a road to High Wycombe after a series of harvest failures left many local families destitute. The men of the area were employed by Sir Francis in this manner for several years. They're great to take children to visit and quite atmospheric. We had tea and cakes in the tea shop afterwards, then a stroll up the hill to see the Dashwood mausoleum and the Golden Ball church. Whilst there D found a geocache, so we signed the notebook and left a souvenir pen.