Some towns unexpectedly become important. At one time I'd never heard of Kettering but my father worked in Northampton when I was in my late teens and I remember him saying the name with his Dundee accent, drilling down on the 'r's'. Ten years ago in Kettering I was trained in TEACCH (a framework for working with children with autism) by Gary Nesibov of the University of North Carolina. But Kettering is most often a blur, glimpsed from the high speed train from Leicester to London. If the train ever stops, the smell of roasted grain from the Weetabix factory drifts in through the open doors.
Kettering is half way between The Bride's home and Leicester, which explains its sudden significance. We met there on Sunday and the visit was poignant because the next time we meet will be her wedding day. She has decided to lose her maiden name, which would not come as a surprise to you if I was able to print it.
The garden centre we chose turned out to be little more than a shed in a field; a supermarket for ordinary plants and gifts which are a puzzle and disappointment once unwrapped. The MotB could not find anything to buy, not even a birthday card. Since we'll be regular visitors to Kettering I've trawled the internet for alternatives:
Kettering Park Hotel: a modern hotel with Spa...definitely.
Rushton Hall Hotel: an ancient hotel with Spa and afternoon tea served in the Great Hall...no contest.
Triangular Lodge: built between 1593 and 1597. Symbolism reflects the number three (the Holy Trinity)...maybe later.
Wicksteed Family Theme Park...much, much later.
Naseby Battlefield (Civil War)...never.