Even when we've got the car at Bill Fen, I still like to walk into town each morning to get the paper and various little bits of provisions. It's a nice undemanding walk - no tricky junctions or decisions about which way to turn (just remember to turn right once you find the river in front of you and don't keep going straight), so it makes for a bit of nice quiet thinking time. It may well be said that there is no pretty scenery to distract you either, but the stark emptiness of the vista has its own awesome beauty; the blackness of the earth and the distance of the horizon, followed by the grubby mundanity of car and lorry breakers, abandoned buildings, and industrial sheds cheek by jowl with the prettified Town Quay and Rivermill flats.
So come with me on a virtual stroll, out of the marina - at the far end, we are, by the caravan club CL, and turn left onto the first stretch of dusty track. Actually, this road is well maintained by John, with a steady supply of hardcore. The marina is behind the hedges to our left, and to our right are open fields, with only the odd wind turbine breaking the horizon. After a little way the road bends to the left, and leads us on towards the river, the High Lode or Great Whyte, which used to run all the way through the town of Ramsey, up the middle of the high street, until it was culverted in the nineteenth century.
To the left now the ground falls away sharply, behind hedge and fence, and derelict (farm or industrial?) buildings crumble under the brambles. Then we arrive at the smart new fencing of the breakers' yard on our left, and the river is in front of us. We turn right and walk parallel to it, and on arrival at the Town Quay join the main road.
Opposite us is the Railway pub - an unprepossessing establishment which was boarded up when we first visited Ramsey in 2003 but which now appears to be the local for the marina. Its stark interior echoes the lack of decoration in the environment generally, but you are assured of a decent pint (Adnams or Greene King) and a genuine, albeit gloomy, welcome from Keith the landlord. In my experience there will always be one or two boat dwellers, of varying degrees of sanity, in there ready for a chat. You can also phone out for a curry from the Chilli Hut in town. Should you wish.
But we're not going to the pub today - it's only eight thirty in the morning for heaven's sake! We're turning left into Stocking Fen Road and going to the Co-op Rainbow, home of the mysterious Rainbow Bag. We will buy a copy of the Guardian and quite possibly the Hunts Post, some milk and cheese and beer, and then we will turn around and come back again.
(In case you missed the first link, there are photos to accompany the commentary here)