Today was equally uneventful. We ordered the taxi to collect us from the hotel around 10.30. This was a very late start but Rachel needed to go to Boots for a heel lift as her achilles’ tendon was playing up. Unfortunately, we were led astray by some beautiful scarves in the local dept store. These were of gorgeous emerald green linen nothing like the dreadful woolly snoods I wear walking to keep my ears warm! We decided that walking need no equate to dowdiness and purchased one each.
During our drive back to Fosdyke, we couldn’t decide whether our taxi driver is a fully paid up member of UKIP or not. On the one hand, we heard about how Boston has changed out of all recognition in the last 10 or 15 years (although he didn’t look much older than 30). The change being due to the locals being driven off the land by huge influxes of foreigners Latvians, Lithuanians, Bulgarians and so forth, many of whom are lodged in caravan parks and brought over by unscrupulous land owners to undercut local wages. A gentle enquiry about the minimum wage led to a suggestion that there is a huge scam in place, whereby the local landowner employs the men through contracts in their home countries and pays them there. If that is true, it is indeed a very disturbing situation. We also had some sympathy with his concerns about planning consent being given for a 1,000 unit caravan park to house the workers. It sounds like a recipe for disaster to have 1,000 young men, of whatever nationality, cooped up in a caravan park, not integrating with the local community.
On the other hand, the taxi driver was sure that there is really plenty of work for locals who bother to seek it out – there are just families just haven’t bothered for a couple of generations. We confined our responses to meaningless murmurs.
We walked away from the Ship Inn, up the western bank of the river Welland. The path was pretty similar to yesterday’s, but the weather was a little warmer and there were quite a few butterflies in evidence, small tortoiseshells mainly, but also the odd red admiral and small blue. The path meandered on, along the top of the bank, a good mile of marsh between us and the sea. Because we have a second night in Boston, we didn’t need to carry rucksacks, so we bounced along very speedily.
In due course we came to the nature reserve. Birds spotted through the day include a heron, egrets, kestrels a grebe and cormorants. We also saw a very large bird of prey, but I have no idea what it was. Apparently there are marsh harriers, the odd hen harrier and sparrow hawks in the area but I would be unable to distinguish them.
We stopped to munch a light snack and enjoy the sunlight. Our healthy choices were a bag of cashew nuts, some 70% chocolate and a flapjack – all distinctly better than yesterday’s dismal sandwich.
Around 1pm a very sharp shower came up from an inky black sky. My splendid waterproof trousers ate beginning to struggle now, so I got a bit damp and really felt the rain on my back with no rucksack on. However it only lasted ten or fifteen minutes.
We could see the Boston Stump all day – properly named the tower of St Botolph’s church. It is an enormous structure the widest and the tallest parish church in England, begun in 1309. (The largest overall in floor area, is apparently St Mary’s Hull.) More information can be found here. http://www.bostontown.co.uk/index.php/boston-stump John Taverner, the Tudor organist and composer was organist in the first quarter of the 16th century. This impressive church was built on the proceeds of the wool trade, Boston being one of the Staple Towns in the mediaeval period.
The path turned up the river into Boston. It is not an especially attractive river, run down industrial buildings and a horrible stench of dead things. We were surprised at how high all of the pylons are. At least twice the height of normal pylons, but I have no idea why.
We walked into the town centre around 3.45, having walked a light eleven miles. Boston has some lovely eighteenth century buildings and is a bustling place. It has quite a radical history. It was the birth place of John Foxe, the Elizabethan author of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. With either a very overdeveloped sense of irony (or none at all), just below the blue plaque on the pub commemorating his birth place was a rather explicit advertisement for pole dancing. Poor fellow must be spinning in his grave. Boston was also the jumping off point for many of the Pilgrims who left for the Netherlands and then joined the Mayflower, before it departed for Plymouth. In the churchyard are commemorative stones for a second wave of Pilgrims and their leader the Rev John Cotton, who took his congregation to the New World in 1633 and contributed to the founding of Boston, Massachuessets. Later in the 17th century Boston was strong for Parliament.
Rachel’s achilles heel is still bothering her, so we made an emergency trip for comfy shoes for tomorrow.
We are now waiting for dinner in the White Hart hotel. I am writing and Rachel is reading about the Bastard of Arran, having finished with the Wolf of Baddenoch – I must say, Scottish history is very lurid!