On Saturday evening My Neighbour Who Knows What I Like rang. "Get yourself down to Foxton Locks tomorrow. They've drained them and you can go down to the bottom". Youngest Boy and I didn't need any further encouragement, even though it was on our local news. So having breakfasted on smoked mackerels and espressos (well, I did) we set off into the bright cold morning. I'm so glad we made the effort. Superb presentation, the people of the Canal & River Trust, scaffolding and ladders, meant that we were able to stand where no members of the general public have ever stood before. These awe-inspiring brick chambers were constructed between 1810 and 1814, completing the famous staircase of locks at Foxton that lowered traffic down onto the Midland Plain and into the River Trent, or upwards and southwards to Watford. We leant against dripping walls, splashed on the orange brick floor and peered into a deep hole in the lock wall where the water would normally rush in to fill the chamber. I explained how it worked to YB, but I'm afraid the high point for him was discovering a drenched and long lost sock just visible in the gloom.
I am a writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012) and Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012)