Sunday 28 September 2014

Pride and joy

Just across the water from last night's mooring, and visible through its grounds as you travel on, is Rufford Old Hall.

It shows signs of a family's pride, and various information sheets refer to the joy that specific members of the Hesketh family down the generations took in living in this place.

The original main hall is intriguing, both inside and out…

and contains a unique, carved wooden screen.

At ceiling level are some carved angels, some with and some without their wings, gazing down on the assembled company.

In the drawing room with the spy hole from which you can photograph the angels stands an 1867 Broadwood piano. It spent many years on Derwent island, and is still getting used to the different conditions here of humidity and temperature. But it offered a reasonable rendering of a couple of English folk tunes, carefully elaborated by the ten fingers that belong to yours truly.

Strictly speaking, no one is allowed to take photographs anywhere in the house except the main hall, because so many of the artefacts don't belong to the National Trust. However, this one was permitted on the grounds that my best beloved was photographing the pianist rather than the piano (and, anyway, this artefact does belong to the NT). I like to get a snap of all the Trust pianos I've got to play!

So, later than usual, we set out for the northern end of this branch of the canal.

At times the reeds and rushes made the fairway rather narrow, but it was an enjoyable day for travelling.

Eventually we reached the terminus at Tarleton, where the bold, provided they've booked far enough in advance, can descend the lock to the River Douglas, and journey onward via the River Ribble to the Lancaster canal.

We, not having all the above qualifications, turned around and came back to Rufford in the pleasant company of Jonathan and Heather on NB Mary Penington. It was good to share the work on the swing bridges with you, guys!

Meanwhile, we can't resist mentioning that Number 3 son (the one who got married in July) is playing with his band tonight for the celebratory knees-up at the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles. Both Europe and his parents have plenty of pride and joy in that!


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