The Milton Ferry Walk and Fish and Chip Supper, 17 July 2023

Pictures by Jonathan Bridgland, commentary by Ima Spy.

In my last rambling account of a walk that I was unable to join in (Burrough on the Hill) I mused upon the fact that I find myself in a job with MI5 which many others think they could do.   And indeed think they could do without any training, preparation, or come to that frustration (which is a major part of the undercover life, due to the fact that most peoople in military intelligence are illiterate turnips who went to public school and left without the foggiest notion of either the meaning of or indeed the importance of creativity in maintaining civilization).

Of course not all such people are actively so inclined – and if unknown to me one of my fellow members of Peterborough Ramblers does indeed follow either profession I offer my sincerest apologies along with a confirmation that I am moving to Cumbria tomorrow. 

But it is the fact that we each of us see the world somewhat differently from those around us.   For what you may perceive as a single-track railway probably shut down in the 1950s I may see as a signpost to the location of a message from one spy to another.

And who is to say which member of our jolly band is not secretly taking notes and photographs of the layout of the land for the launch of a rural invasion?  An invasion that will have itself been established long before those mistaken and misguided fellows who have run the country for decades, resplendent in their mansions, have suddenly realised that the People’s Republic has taken over all they previously thought they owned.

Indeed if you really were lacking anything else to do and read my last little literary ramble you might recall that that episode ended with…

But no I have said too much.  For now are we now here on the trail of the person who may well have committed a dastardly deed, and as it turns out my comrades on the walk did indeed solve part of an ancient mystery, as I shall reveal.

Of course, you may have come on the walk thinking that we had been here before (see my earlier account, by way of proof).

But no, the key to the mystery, if there is one, must surely be the railways, for there are always railways.  And we find that somewhere within the railway carriages, lines, tracks, stations, signals or whatnot there is always something hiding.  Something that gives a clue to everything that is going on.

A message left? A meeting place?  A hidden code word?  Or possibly…

And then I realized.  Ferry Meadows is of course an anagram of freemasonry (well almost).  And Overton is an anagram of enroot with one letter spare which could mean en route to indicate that one is on the way and keep going.

And there is more for, Ferry Meadows taken as one word is also almost an anagram of reformade – which is to say a monk of the reformed order.  But it also means a disgraced officer who is deprived of command but retains rank and pay.

So clearly what we are seeing here is a set of signals – signs that are left for all time so that those who come after are able to trace back the history of the place and find… well, what?

Something perhaps in the other signs which are to be found and which contain further clues within.

You will for example see the poster referring to the Night Mail in relation to the London North Eastern Railway, an organisation long since considered to have connections with the underworld of nefarious doings and whatnots.

As this pictorial record shows this is indeed a walk that contains clues to a vast underground movement based around the railway lines of the early 20th century, and one that may well lead us to a plot to overthrow Ramsay MacDonald.

Now as we know in the world of spies and counterspies it is commonplace for each side to try and place its own people in the ranks of the opposition so that they could pretend to be honorable and valuable members of  the group while in fact all the time they are secretly collecting information.

As you will know from hundreds of film recountings of such activities these people were called, among the spy community “sleepers” and indeed the pictures reveal just where in the dark days of yore they hung out.

In short this walk has revealed an underground plot to overthrow the Peterborough and District Angling Association, and Peterborough Ramblers have uncovered the entire plot through due diligence and a couple of pints of Guinness.

I think we should be proud.

The story continues.

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