Day 2 of the “World Without Pubs“, and the latest in my series of increasingly desperate attempts to sell the Fens to you as a holiday destination, should you ever be allowed to leave Paisley or Maidstone or Bridgend.
If you’d assumed Little Thetford was next to normal Thetford on the A11 to Narrrrfolk, be prepared for a shock.
A one street village leading down to the Ouse, home to 792 souls,. 792, remarkably is exactly 10 times the average age of the residents based on the cheery folk I encountered.
I headed there now.
I’ve walked the bounds of Lt. Thetford, as its fans call it, a couple of times.
The Pedigree van remains, a victim of rampaging Little Thetfordians who diverted a delivery to Stretham’s Red Lion into a siding in 2011 and stripped it bare.
It lies, forlorn, in the garden of the Social Club (probably Greene King) which provides the only lubrication to the gentlefolk.
The only lubrication apart from Plumb’s Dairy, my own milkman, whose demand has apparently trebled in the last week.
30 minutes to Cambridge, 5 minutes to Ely, 6 hrs 22 to Paisley.
What can I tell you about Little Thetford to get you to change your summer holiday plans, bar the fact you won’t be having a summer holiday ?
The recumbent bicycle man has moved to Ely.
And the WWF Shark Swim in the Ouse is on hold for now.
But this is the place for your social distancing.
Near the railway line a lone plasterer sang Chas & Dave’s “Sideboard Song“, badly, the first public entertainment in Little Thetford since VE Day.
Then it was down to the River, just like in the Springsteen song.
Quieter than in the 1890s when a ferry conveyed a horse and cart to Barway for purposes unknown.
Half an hour along the muddy bank to the Fox & Duck marina, where the pub has been demolished so I can’t bring you any reminiscences about a decent little stop for pleasure boats that was selling Theakston when I bade it farewell in 2003.
I walked the riverbank for an hour; a few dozen boats including our Shakira (top), one man and his dog. Which chased me. I think it was called Arthur.
The skies closed in. I trudged back.
Are you bored of the big skies yet ?