Nice sunny day! Nice sunny crowd! A few puzzled looks from shoppers and people having their lunch as we strolled from the BBC Radio Northampton offices to the space outside All Saints church.
The Northamptonshire poet, John Clare, when he was living in the Northampton mental asylum in his last years, came almost daily to sit under the portico at the rear of the image above and there composed many of his later poems. What would he have thought of us all, and of the threat the world now faces? Did others think of him as we listened to some speeches? I felt him looking over my shoulder once or twice.
The bus from home to Northampton takes a couple of hours (and costs £9.50 return) for the circuitous version of the 20 minute drive by car but it was nice to see over the hedges from the top of the double-decker.
My habit of arriving early for everything was aided by the bus dropping us at the appointed spot 20 minutes before the appointed time, and there were only about 20 people present. It looked a bit thin. But after half an hour the numbers were up to about 250 and the ranks swelled as we walked and then a bunch of kids and teachers arrived near the end too. There were about 450 of us (definitely fewer than 570 and not a bit sodden at all). Not as many as London, Melbourne, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Philadelphia or New York but it was a good crowd for a small central England town.
And a few hundred ‘Ban driven grouse shooting’ postcards were handed out and some good conversations were had, and I even met someone who had read Inglorious!