On the ground, in the skies.
Amongst the plans we made before arriving here was a trip to the nearest fishmonger in Louth. We are not that far from Grimsby where fish is still landed on a daily basis and we hope that this will mean fine fresh produce. A simple view in these days of global food transportation, but we’ll hold onto it for now. Besides, fresh fish doesn’t travel that well. Unless it is in the sea.
On this basis we make an early dash to Louth to visit Igloo Foods.
As we wend our way through its higgledy piggledy town centre I get a sense of faded glory. Louth is a market town and thankfully has many apparently thriving independent shops, a diversity of trades – an active ironmongers is always a good sign to me. But the discount shops have moved in. Just here and there, not in great numbers. I wonder how it will look in five years time, or maybe only two.
There are a couple of characters about who, given a change from shell suit to Victorian street garb, would have been ne’er do wells in a Dickensian novel. The ambling youth later blocking our way, apparently innocently staring into a shop window (it was empty), then following us a little too close until I brave a sharp stare – I’m onto you – and stop him in him in his tracks, is a case in point.
Only when we reach the next corner do we realise how quiet that little side-street was. I ask Si if he saw the man with the roll-up sat on the steps near to where we encountered our temporary shadow. Despite this, I love this type of town. Narrow dysfunctional streets, not knowing where you are, a slightly shabby appearance being spruced up in random places, independent traders each with their own speciality, having to visit at least four shops for your weekly purchases, and recommendations of who might have exactly what you want.
I also favour this time of day, just before opening time. Blinds being raised, unloading of goods, shouted “hello”s and “nice day”s, butchers carving up and hanging meat carcasses, windows and pavements being washed down, savvy shoppers arriving early for the best cuts, the promise of a good day’s trade.
We collect our fish, grab a quick cache, then revert to type and complete the shopping in the co-op supermarket. Sad really.
A quick drop off of provisions then onto Gunby Hall, a National Trust property with pretty gardens and a prettier cat called Committee, because she looks like she has been designed by one. Much like Min the cat back home. She lazily greets us whilst sunning herself on the path to the greenhouse.
We find that we do not tend to visit the houses of National Trust properties, but the gardens and woodland walks. The former gives me ideas for our more modest patch back home, and the latter allows us to stretch our legs in a tame environment, plus some ideas for the wilder (less maintained) part of our garden. Gunby has the added bonus of a church (sadly locked), with views over the fields.
Close to the estate, and still part of it, is Monksthorpe Chapel, which has what looks like a cess pit, but is in fact a disused outdoor baptistery. On our way there we pass the former site of RAF Spilsby, now featuring a poultry farm. Large sheds emit a familiar smell, pervasive and persistent. We are pleased to leave and head to a grass verge near Revesby to have our lunch.
Being in these parts means a trip to Coningsby, home of the RAF Typhoons. It’s a sunny day and makes for good plane watching. Himself is pleased as we sit in the car park full of similar couples but mainly many solo males armed with tele-photo lenses galore.
Down the road is Tattershall village boasting a fine 15th century castle-keep. We have visited before, decline the audio tour and head straight for the ramparts.
It’s a clear day and the views are splendid. Lincolnshire does not have the dramatic beauty that you find in Snowdonia or the Lake District, but, being reasonably flat, you get a real sense of space around you. The skies here are huge. Really huge.
Next to the castle and visitor centre is the Holy Trinity Collegiate Church. A fine building with intricate stone work and a wonderful east window.
We return to the cottage via another of our favourite spots, known to us as the Scenic Lay-by. It is on the blue stone ridge and its allows us to look over towards the cottage, just about.
Dinner is delicious. Halibut baked in lemon and pepper, accompanied by purple sprouting broccoli and seasonal Boston new potatoes.
We round the day off with an impromptu stroll partway along the Roman Road which passes though Tetford.
Splendid. Just splendid.