A Day at Stoke Bruerne, our “Twin” Museum

With more bad weather hard on the heels of the Jubilee washout, we didn’t quite know what to expect at the Gala Weekend at the Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum, recently twinned with Battaglia Terme’s Museum of Inland Navigation. But of course we had to go, my friend Clare, who I regard as my expert advisor on canals, Sandra Romano from Battaglia, and I. We turned up on Saturday with a gift of a box of books on gondolas which will probably never be read because they’re all in Italian.

We were more than pleasantly surprised. It was very busy with boats moored all along the towpath and lots of interesting tents and stalls around the museum, even if it was all rather soggy underfoot. David Henderson and his team couldn’t have been more welcoming.

Highlights? The fudge boat and the cheese boat, both with a selection of amazing flavours and try-before-you-buy; the trip into the tunnel; encounters with gangs of marauding pirates; chatting in a canal-side garden over champagne and strawberries, and a great atmosphere.

A pub lunch in The Boat proved an excellent way to soak up the authentic atmosphere, with beery locals telling jokes and complaining about the service, as only regulars can do.

The sun came out for an afternoon walk down the towpath past the locks, but they certainly know how to put on a marvellous day no matter what the weather

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