Canteen Days

“Canteen” | a place in a factory, office, etc. where food and meals are sold, often at a lower than usual price.[Cambridge English Dictionary]

“Craic” | (Irish English) enjoyable time spent with other people, especially when the conversation is entertaining and funny [Cambridge English Dictionary]

 

I hear some people are finding it hard to stay at home and shun human contact during this Covid-19 crisis. Understandable, especially if their regular lifestyle involves daily socialising. But I am experiencing an unexpected bonus. Ever since I stopped going to work I have found it increasingly difficult to find the time to keep up with this blog; suddenly I have no excuse but to knuckle down and resume normal service. Thanks pandemic, for the first time in ages I have time on my hands.

I am fascinated with communal eating, and it’s ironically apt at the moment, when eating out is banned until further notice, by edict of BoJo. In particular, canteens are a thread which runs through much of my life, from school dinners to university refectories, via worker’s canteens, in the UK and overseas.

Even without the virus crisis I just miss the canteen experience these days, as a social diversion, a welcome pause in the working day. Looking back, there have been periods when no canteen was available on a daily basis, such as when I went freelance after leaving the BBC in 1983. At such times, the lack of a canteen was a minor disappointment, something missing in the working day.

Of course, it’s not just about the food, but the craic as well. Actually, like Commisario Montalbano I am rubbish at eating and talking simultaneously, so it’s eat-first-chat-second for me if I have a choice, but for sure there’s not much to be said for eating alone. .                 Continue reading

Grist to the mill

windmills_150Lincolnshire has more working windmills than any other county in the UK, according to the Lincolnshire Mills Group.

Mary Cook writes: Around 800 windmills were grinding flour for Lincolnshire’s inhabitants up to a century ago. But winds of change have blown across the county, leaving some mills in ruins while giving others a new lease of life. Local government organizations, charitable trusts and private enterprise have been working to convert them into tourist attractions.

Visit the Maud Foster Mill, Boston.

This windmill is close to Boston town centre – just off the A16/A52 Grimsby/Skegness road and there is a free car park for mill visitors. On foot the windmill is a 10 minute stroll from the market square and the historic Boston Stump church. It’s hard to miss! Continue reading

A new way to decorate your Christmas tree…….

…….which you can see for yourself in St Botolph’s Church (aka the Stump) in Boston Lincolnshire until January. 3,000 Christmas tree stars and a nativity scene knitted by people across Lincolnshire, all dedicated to family, friends, memories and even pets.

Called Christmas Knitivity, this imaginative project was organised by BBC Radio Lincolnshire in partnership with St Botolph’s Church. Local radio staffers and Boston parishioners got together with Oldrids store to decorate more than 30 trees with these unusual emblems. Continue reading

Discover the original Boston

I once heard a story that a visitor to Lincolnshire, on discovering that there is a town in our county called Boston, said how nice it was that we named our towns after cities in the USA. Of course it’s the other way round. In 1612 John Cotton, non-conformist Vicar of St Botolph’s Church (aka “The Stump”) in Boston Lincolnshire encouraged his flock to join the Massachusetts Bay Company, and he later helped to found the city of Boston, Massachusetts (1630).

This is a rather basic example of the kind of historical fact about Boston Lincolnshire that makes it a town well worth visiting if you are on our patch, and there are lots more. Did you know that earlier, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Boston was a major trading port, second only to London? Or that by the opening of the thirteenth century, Boston ranked as a port of the Hanseatic League, the commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and their market towns dominating Baltic maritime trade along the coast of Northern Europe?

There’s no better place to get the feel of Boston’s distant and recent past than its ancient Guildhall in South Street. Continue reading

Lincolnshire windmills: Maud Foster, Boston

windmills_150Lincolnshire has more working windmills that any other county in the UK, according to the Lincolnshire Mills Group, and the Petwood Hotel is well placed to visit many of them. We know of six which are within easy traveling range.

Mary Cook writes: Around 800 windmills were grinding flour for Lincolnshire’s inhabitants up to a century ago. But winds of change have blown across the county, leaving some mills in ruins while giving others a new lease of life. Local government organizations, charitable trusts and private enterprise have been working to convert them into tourist attractions.

Visit the Maud Foster Mill, Boston.

This windmill is close to Boston town centre – just off the A16/A52 Grimsby/Skegness road and there is a free car park for mill visitors. On foot the windmill is a 10 minute stroll from the market square and the historic Boston Stump church. It’s hard to miss! Continue reading