Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Goodbye Ramsey; hello internet

Moored in the tree filled oasis of Bill Fen
Ramsey is a quaint, old fashioned sort of town that – like Bill Fen Marina – scarcely seems to have changed at all in the five years we have been away. Mr Bream the shoeshop is still there, as is Peter Gammon the furniture shop, Wades the ironmonger/cycles/electrical/fishing store and so too the Madeira Fish Bar. And unlike many places in the Fens, foreign accents seem rare: this is, in the words of The League of Gentlemen 'a local town for local people'.
It's not a well-off place, far from it, there are a few empty shops, but thank god the High Street has not yet been infested with those usual leeches after the struggling - lines of betting shops.
Ramsey is old fashioned in every sense and the nicest sense is the helpful service you find in every shop. In Gammons where I bought a three quid watch battery, the man spent ten minutes looking 'out the back' for a suitable watch strap. Sadly in vain. In Ramsey Paint Shop (yes, still there) the assistant split a roller tray and roller pack to swap a fleece roller for a second foam one. (Can you imagine B&Q doing that!). And Wades, when I asked for a wire brush I got offered a selection of three styles.
Less easy for out of town pensioners like us addicted to our 3G internet, the town is also old fashioned in having virtually zero coverage. Astounding in the flat fens where masts bristle and a signal is easily found in the middle of nowhere. Not in Rammie - even the wi-fi in the coffee shop was barely walking pace.
Still, old fashioned shops and helpful service did mean that, internet or not we still spent more cash locally than in many towns this trip.
Passing yet more of the swelling ranks of fenland wind turbines
But now we are back in the 21st century. Having spent a couple of days titivating the battle scarred paintwork, we said our farewells to our old mates at the delightful Bill Fen and headed back onto the 'through route' to the Great Ouse.
Very fancy new Middle Level HQ
End of garden moorings line the river into March
Tonight we're moored in the centre of March, home of straight-through car exhausts and noisy street youth. Shame really because the river run-in to the town is one of the most interesting I know, beginning with the swanky new Middle Level Commissioners HQ. Then comes a mile or more of willow lined end-of-garden moorings of every style and condition from elaborate concoctions of summerhouse and jetty down to rickety planks and poles and with everything from semi-sunk ruins to handsome plastic cruisers to narrowboats large and small.Still there is a compensation for these March moorers – a sizeable Lidl just five minutes walk away!

1 comment:

  1. And of course you NEVER had a straight-thru exhaust...and were of course a sedate teenager! It all went wrong later in life.
    What with good weather, seeing old friends and now a Lidl close by what more could you wish for?