24 September 2011--My guesthouse doesn't serve breakfast, so I'm missing nothing by sleeping in until 10:00.
Not sure I'd eat anything they'd serve, anyway. My goals for the day are to take it easy and pick up my rental car.
A walk through town shows it to be a nice enough place; the market is on. There's a lot of history here, notably,
from the Scotophile's viewpoint, the Treaty of Northampton, in which the English crown recognized the sovereignty
of Robert the Bruce. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a Crusades-inspired round church, dates from about 1100, and
the 19th-century Guildhall, in the center of town, is a handsome edifice. But Northampton Castle and the town walls
are long gone, and on the whole, I can't say I find the town very interesting. Then again, it might just be that it's
a matter of me not taking interest. I've only come here for tonight's concert, and arrived a day early knowing
that I wouldn't be up for much activity today.
I pass through the marketplace and the pedestrianized shopping area, and walk on out toward the southeast of town, where I believe the rental car office to be, having plugged their post code into Streetmap.co.uk. I'm about half a mile out of town when I decide something is amiss, and turn back, intending to make a phone call or engage a taxi. No need, for the rental lot is right at the foot of the hill on the edge of downtown. Don't know how I missed it on the way out. The postal code must have been a mailing address--Streetmap has never led me wrong before, at least not by that much. Well, it was a nice walk, with a stretch through Beckett's Park, along the River Nene.
Park the car back at the ranch and take an overdue shower. My substandard guesthouse provides only a skimpy hand towel. Fortunately I am slender and largely hairless, and do not hold much water.
I lug the laptop into town and take advantage of free wi-fi at a café, along with coffee and lunch. Then saunter over to the Cordwainer for a pint and more wi-fi. There's a nice IPA on, Marston's Old Empire, and I linger for maybe a pint too many...or more to the point, a half-hour too long. Have to hustle back to the B&B to drop off the laptop, and back into town to be in time for the show.
Northumbrian avant-folkie band the Unthanks do a fine show, as always. I've seen them four times, and each show has been different--I admire the way they keep challenging themselves. Tonight they play with British champion brass band Brighouse & Rastrick, and have tailored their repertoire to be suitable for that style of arrangement. If I have a quibble, it's that they haven't found a place for Niopha Keegan's fiddle in any of the songs--I think it would have added a nice textural counterpoint.
There's no photography permitted during the show. I decide I'll try to snap one or two during the final bow, when getting thrown out won't be such a bad thing. Take a couple of test shots during the intermission. When the time comes, I misfire, and the band are off the stage so fast that I don't get a second chance. Nor do they hang around to schmooze.
The Fish is not too busy on a Saturday night, but it is too loud. One pint and out, off to bed.