9 DAIES' WONDER - SEVENTH DAY 3 RD AUGUST 2006

Estimate on Map: 11.7 miles. Pedometer Reading 12.5 miles

Start of Jig 9.28 am. Finish 4.15pm.

It seems a short day today although we jig for the normal six hours. My foot, rather sore at the end of the sixth day has seemed to be somewhat recovered after a long rest, but I soon discover that it can hurt a lot more. In 1600 Kempe tells us that when he strained his hip he '..held on, finding remedy by labour that had hurt mee.'

I follow his advice and find the opposite to be the case. By day's end I am hobbling, leaning on Nicholas for support.

But today we reach Northampton shire, the county of our journey' end.

Our jig takes us through Cropredy, site of a Royalist victory in 1644 and of the Fairport Conventions annual farewell concert: the Cropredy Festival. We meet Mary, who joy of joy wears no rings on her left hand. She is on her bicycle going to feed her friend's rabbit. She tells us that we are a bit of joviality in a life with too much sadness and I sense that she is warming to me. I mention that I notice she is unwed and go down upon one knee. She cycles hurriedly away, calling over shoulder that she has taken off her ring and she is very happily hitched thank you and goodbye!

We follow through the village and meet with the Goater family, who regret that they will not be coming to the Festival of History because that is when the Cropredy Festival is on. Otherwise they would definitely have been there. Young Henry keeps trying to give me his Teddy, or is he hitting me with it?

Timmy, a dog who turns out to be from a Rescue centre, barks loudly and keeps backing off.

'It's because of your hat,' his owner explains, 'He was abused by someone who wore a hat.'

I smile in an understanding way at her and her partner, who, incidentally, is wearing a hat.

Along the canal we meet with Lee who is enjoying life and might well see us at Kelmarsh. The Barrat and Benford Families are headed for Napton on their hired narrow boats, then home to Cambridge.

'You're Radio Rental' Says Mr Barrat.

There is no obvious boundary between Oxfordshire and Northants, so we pose for a picture by Apple Tree Farm, the first dwelling marked on the map inside the new county.   There we meet an Agricultural plant breeder called Tim and his apprentice. They rent buildings from Apple Tree's owner John Adams. This causes some confusion because the apprentice is called John Adamson, but he isn't John Adam's son, Tom and Paul are, whom we do not meet. They (Tim and John - the apprentice - ) tell us of a new grass they have bred and I dance a jig for them.

'You've lost your marbles!' says Tim.

As we come into Aston le Walls, we meet The Frusher family, Julie, David and Helly with their friend Clare from London. Her dog is called Bree and is apparently a Desperate Housewife. As a male dog runs past, she proves her point. The Frushers are apparently descended from Huguenots, but no one quite knows who the Huguenots were. (16 th Century French Protestants)

All day we keep getting calls from James from the Northampton Chronicle and Mercury. Originally he had wanted a picture of us entering the county. Eventually, at 2.30, he meets us two miles short of our eventual finish, spends five minutes with us and gets a better picture than we have managed all seven days.

We finish as Badby, about four miles short of Daventry. Six miles ahead of our plan and only 21 miles to go.