I’d like to think I was planning trips to Corfu with my mates at his age, but the truth is rather different; I was taking a bus to Peterborough to buy the Pet Shop Boys “Please” on tape at 21.
He was happy to join me in the Padnal Fen beyond Ely, in mysterious Prickwillow.
Here’s where I abruptly stopped the car. “Find me something to blog about” I demanded.
The greatest gift a father can give their child is the ability to extract blogworthy material in a two street village of 440 souls in the middle of nowhere.
With no pub.
“Nothing here” said James.
I reminded him my readers are VERY easily pleased.
“Oh, that’s an ugly house“.
“There’s another one !”
“Oooh, ancient petrol pumps“, I added, warming to the task.
There then followed a heartwarming father and son discussion, just like in the Cat Stevens/Boyzone song, about
cars and girls planning policy in East Cambridgeshire.
It seems that anything goes in Prickwillow, which as a tourist strapline could work.
A veritable smorgasbord of housing styles in this old farming village that could be a set for Grand Designs, where people build their dream house for a budget of £130k (actual spend £2.7m).
But it works. There’s nothing worse than a village all in character with itself.
We walked a little bit of the Hereward Way toward Middle Fen Bank, pointing out exciting features like trees and telegraph poles.
“Look” I said, pointing at Wiki. “There’s a museum here”.
James was doubtful, more so because the walk to the Pumping Engine coincided with the arrival of ominous clouds.
But James has an enquiring mind, and warmed to the task of finding redeeming features.
The phone box had decided that books were surplus to requirements, and what was needed was a tribute to key workers with floral hat.
Three churches had become one, the parish church and strict Baptists succumbing to housing or Brunning & Price or whatever.
At the bridge over the River Lark it all gets a bit bucolic.
And the museum turns out to be massive, bigger than Ely’s own.
“Who would possibly come out here ?” said James. Some people tick pubs, son.
Back in the tiny heart of the village we stopped to admire the jets setting off from Mildenhall, and the classic exterior of the only licensed premises (unless someone very shy has opened a micro and not told Ely CAMRA).
It probably serves Draught Bass and Cloudwater DIPA. I may never know.
Anyway, here’s what you could have had;
James and I, satisfied with our morning’s work, headed into Ely for an artisanal ice on the grass outside the cathedral.