Surprise Day Trip to Stoke Bruerne – from Barbara Clydesdale

When my husband gets an idea into his head it’s nigh on impossible to get the damn thing out.

Before the kids moved out, his grand schemes were limited somewhat by the financial costs of raising them, but now they’ve gone he’s got free reign to tackle any project that he feels like – hooray!

Thankfully, as Gerald has advanced in years his ideas have grown steadily more conservative – perhaps he’s more conscious of his ever slowing rate of work. The latest project that he decided to take on, namely our ever decaying kitchen, has been gnawing away at him for a few weeks now.

Living out in Northamptonshire, I don’t really mind taking the car out on a Saturday to a hardware shop. It gives Gerald the chance to blow off some steam and waste the valuable time of the unlucky shop assistants who mistake him for a high-value customer; most importantly, it gives me the chance to take the car out for a spin and visit one of the many beautiful villages that our local area has to offer. Last weekend it was Stoke Bruerne, where I had the good fortune to enjoy a whole summer’s day watching the canal boats pop in and out – and Gerald even had the opportunity to talk the ear off a rather unlucky blacksmith!

The official reason for our drive was to find spare cooker hood filters for our Belling oven, a task that was Gerald was a little disappointed to have completed so quickly.

The internet and all it’s conveniences have somewhat scuppered my husband’s usual rhythm of how how he goes about his little tasks. On our way to the shops, he was rather dismayed to find out, using his phone, that not only did the store we were travelling to have none of the particular filters in stock, but that it was in actual fact much easier to simply order the part he wanted online and wait a couple of weeks for it to be delivered.

With our goal completed before we’d even reached our destination, we found ourselves in a rather odd situation: aimlessly driving around the countryside with no real purpose.

I knew that Gerald needed some cheering up, so instead of driving straight home, I pulled off the A5 at Heathencote and took us on a long straight road over to Stoke Bruerne. I’d been told that this little canal village was the perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon, with a couple of canal-side pubs to choose from, as well as a few other little things to look at. Gerald had clearly drifted off into his own head after the trip to the hardware shop had been cancelled, so it was with a little start that he looked up to find himself in an unfamiliar land, when we parked up in this quaint little village.

As we stepped out in the glorious English countryside, I could tell that I’d made the right decision to come here. The smell of pub grub drifted down the river along with the canal boats and laughs of the patrons. In the distance, the sounds of a metalwork forge could be heard, peaking the interest of my husband and a smattering of colour caught my eye as we walked past a stained glass workshop.

This weekend, we rediscovered the joys of a lazy Sunday and we’ve got Stoke Bruerne to thank for that.


Every now and again we’re lucky enough to have visitors to Stoke Bruerne send us writing about their experiences in the village. These opinions are all original and do not reflect the opinions of those residing in Stoke Bruerne. Should you wish to send us your own piece you can get in touch with us on the ‘Say Hello’ page. 

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