Thursday, 3 September 2015

The end of our sojourn on the Gloucester& Sharpness

A bit sad to leave here on Wednesday.  A lovely mooring not far from Splat Bridge.
View from one side with the Severn Estuary and the flooded fields
View from the other side with Frampton upon Severn Church
We went up as far as Sims Bridge to position ourselves ready for the departure through the lock next day.   The lock keeper reported that the Severn was fine which was reassuring as we had thought with all this rain there might be a problem.   He advised that a 10am departure should be aimed for which was ideal as it gave us time to stop at Sainsburys and do a shop first.  

So Wednesday afternoon I caught the bus into the Gloucester Quays and had a bit of a mooch.   The whole area is very pleasant but in my opinion the outlet shops which started the whole area off are a load of rubbish.   The clothes in the M&S outlet bear no resemblance to anything I have seen in there and I am a profligate M&S shopper.......

I did go into the Mariners Chapel which is no longer full of mariners
but I gather does have a thriving local congregation
Today we left just before earlier was possible as the bridge keepers don't come on duty until then and we had Hemstead Bridge to go through.
There was space on the shoppers moorings (4 hour) outside Sainsburys for us (first time that has happened) so a final stock up before we departed.

Some blue sky but very chilly....3 layers of clothes...technically it is still summer!
Lanthony Bridge opening for us

A line of empty pontoon mooring apart from one solitary narrowboat
They are not very convenient for us because of Barney
Pontoon moorings aplenty
We then hovered by the lock waiting for the flashing red light which would mean that it was being readied for us but there appeared to be no action.   So we called the lock keeper and said we were there and he said 10 minutes so we continued to hover.......not another boat on the move in sight.

leaving the canal
a sad goodbye as we have had nearly a month going up and down the 16 mile stretch
most enjoyable.
Soon after leaving the lock a rib pulled alongside and told us to beware of large branches which were coming our way.
They were not wrong...a certain amount of weaving was required in this narrow part
The first part as far as Upper Partington is a bit dank and narrow and quite a current coming down so it was much slower progress than when we came down.  

Once the river opens out it is somewhat better but not terribly interesting, several miles of tree lined banks with the very occasional pub.   In addition it was quite chilly so we took it in turns for half an hour each on the helm.

We only passed one boat the whole morning but I remarked to Geoff that it would be sods law that we would see our next boat at the junction with the Tewkesbury arm and guess what!!!!  Just as we approached a boat came from the Worcester direction and turned in ahead of us.  If he had been a narrow boat we could have gone up the lock together but it was a wide beam.  In addition we had arrived during the lock keepers lunch hour so we had a bit of a wait on the pontoons below the lock.
Luckily we had stopped just after Upper Lode lock to let Barney off for a quick wee as the steps up to the lock could not be negotiated by him due to their open hole construction.

Our luck was in as there was just one spot suitable for us right up by the low bridge.  We have paid for two nights but the lock keeper has indicated that we can stay through the weekend which is good as we have several visitors expected.

We were then invited to supper at our friends Gill & Geoff (another set) and were collected together with Barney at 6pm.   Before supper I was able to avail myself of a lovely hot bath.....a rare treat whilst we are cruising and doubly so at the moment as we still have no hot water to the shower.   The spare part has arrived at Sankey Marine just before Evesham so there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Total distance:13.51 miles 
Elapsed time:5h43m24s 
Average speed:2.36 mph (2.54 lock/mph) 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

and still the rains came

We decided to move up on Sunday morning as we were expecting Tony & Di at lunch time and as the weather was (yet again) iffy we had abandoned the idea of a walk to the pub at Framilode.  A wise decision as we had some very heavy showers.

A good lunch was had at the Ship again..

Some of the party were quite merry!!
Barney is not always keen on posing for the camera
Monday was a huge wash fact the television today reported that it was the wettest August Bank Holiday on record.   It certainly felt like it where we were.  No prizes for guessing what we did all day..........good job we have lots of books on board.  However this morning showed some improvement.   We moved less than a mile back to our lovely mooring just before Splatt bridge with the view right across to the Severn Estuary.

The difference from when we moored here last week is that the fields
between us and the estuary are now partly flooded.
It was a good morning and I even managed some time on the bank lazing in my chair.

Not a normal site on a canal.
Best of luck when you depart at Sharpness.
Frampton upon Severn Church in the background
By lunchtime the clouds had gathered and force me indoors.   We had a thunderstorm this afternoon and when I took Barney for his after tea stroll......
...we got caught in a very heavy downpour and had to take refuge under some trees
before scurrying back to Petroc when it had eased off a little.
The forecast for tomorrow is more of the same but we hope for a dry morning to wend our way towards Gloucester.  The idea is to position ourselves for an early departure on Thursday through Gloucester Lock to catch the last of the tide towards Tewkesbury.   However this will depend on what the lock keeper says about the state of the Severn after all this rain.  Watch this space!

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Still lingering at Saul

Friday evening's sky which heralded a lovely day on Saturday
Our planned bus trip to Stroud proved to be not possible.   Geoff reconnoitred the bus stop and discovered it was further away than he thought and it was decided that by the time I had walked that I would not have the energy to walk around Stroud!!!   Also the bus trip was about 50 minutes and we either had to take Barney or not have too long a day.......  so all things considered it was not to be......

The weekend had a planned rowing regatta up as far as Sims Bridge and movement would be severely restricted so we set off towards Saul.   A dry bright, albeit windy, trip of 5 miles, needless to say wind on the nose.........just like our sailing days!!!

This time we decided to moor about half a mile short of the junction as it was a lovely open mooring.  Too chilly in the wind to sit out on Friday but Saturday was a different matter,  a lovely lazy day for me with much sitting out, reading etc.  First we walked up to the junction to avail ourselves of the showers and breakfast at the Stables cafe.......this is getting to be a habit...third week on the trot.

This notice in the car parks at Saul is ambiguous
You can have 72 hours for £10 but you cannot stay overnight!!!  (See para 5 )
Geoff and Barney then went on a long walk whilst all I did was sit and read with a few domestic jobs thrown in.......sweeping out the boat.....two loads of washing......does it never end......

Saturday nights sky...what does this herald???
This morning we had a long chat with one of the the lock keepers at Saul.   Amongst other things he said that he expected it to be very busy at the junction over this Bank Holiday weekend but this has not been borne out by the number of boats going past us.   Geoff's walk took him past the Ship Inn (and a pint) at Framilode at 12.30 and he was the only person in the pub!  

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Yet more rain!!

Monday & Tuesday were days to batten down the hatches, read books, do crosswords, and occasionally take it in turns to take Barney out with the occasional domestic chore thrown in for me just in case I became too complacent.  The ironing and cleaning a couple of the blinds were successfully accomplished.    Luckily with the Farm Community shop now open in Frampton we could at least brave the weather and get a paper etc.
Wednesday was forecast to be an improvement so we set off when we though the worst of the rain had gone through.  We used the sani station and went up to Sainsburys in Gloucester to do a stock up.
Luckily their trolleys are not the sort that wont go past a certain point so I was able to get right up to Petroc.  However I had to call for Geoff''s assistance on the last leg as the trolleys don't steer very well on rough needs one at the front and one at the rear when loaded!!

We then turned round to find a suitable mooring for the night.  We had arranged to call in at A&D Marine Services by Hemstead Bridge.  Our shower has developed a hot water.....which I am not keen to live with.   It doesn't seem to bother Geoff as much...
At first it was thought that it was a minor problem but further investigation indicated that the thermostat had gone.  Peter at the boatyard was extremely helpful and they would have been willing to fit the new one but that means us hanging around until the spare part arrives and it is bank holiday weekend........twas ever thus.
So I am resigned to luke warm or even cold showers until for at least two weeks.  !!!
We had thought we might have a visit from Boe during the next couple of weeks but the thought of no hot showers is likely to deter her.

Moored adjacent to Sims bridge behind a pretty sailing yacht..
a sight not often seen on the canals.
Today, Thursday we took the bus into Gloucester.  The number 12 goes from the main road which is just a 5 minute walk up from Sims bridge.   After visiting the town we walked down to Gloucester Quays.  This has been much more developed since our last visit 6 years ago.....unless it is just our memory.   All we remembered then were the various outlet stores but now there are lots of cafes etc and it was all hustle and bustle, really very pleasant.

Gloucester Cathedral
No pictures of the interior as we were cheapskates and didn't want to pay an extra £3 for a camera licence!  The inside is fairly spectacular.  The columns are some of the thickest we have seen and the ceilings are some of the highest we have seen.  Sadly we just missed the mid day Holy Communion in one of the side chapels.  It started at 12.30 and we arrived just 5 minutes later.

Tomorrow we are contemplating a bus trip to Stroud as we don't think we have ever been there.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Still loitering near Saul

a delightful mooring with a good view of the Severn Estuary again
and on the opposite bank Frampton on Severn Church
bell ringing practice Thursday evening which was lovely
Sadly Thursday was not sitting out weather.   Friday morning we moved back up to Saul hoping to moor just before the first bridge to make it easy for our visitors, however there was no space.   Luckily I had walked on ahead and reported back to Geoffrey this sad fact  (he had kept his phone not only handy but ON ...a rare occurrence)   As it happened he was just passing another good spot a bit further back and a boat was just pulling out...our luck was in and so we pulled in and realised we were behind Archie again.   Almost twin boats together.  A much better spot for us although a little further for our visitors to walk to.
Maggie & Wally arrived late lunchtime and we repaired to the Stables Cafe where we had a good lunch.  A catching up afternoon and they left us early evening for the drive back to Wales.
Saturday dawned a much brighter day so it was out with my chair & table and book.   However by mid morning I was driven inside again by the hot there no happy medium??
Fran & Keith arrived mid afternoon so more catching up to do before repairing to the Bell Inn at Frampton for supper.
They were staying in Gloucester for the night (babysitting their grand daughter whilst son, daughter-in-law & grandson were singing in the choir) and offered to collect us in the morning to go to the service in Gloucester Cathedral.  It was tempting but the forecast was for a lot of rain and it meant leaving Barnaby for a bit longer than we usually did so reluctantly we declined their kind offer.
The forecast rain duly arrived and so it was a day for battening down the hatches and TV & papers etc.......
Weather permitting the plan for tomorrow is to tootle up to Gloucester and stock up at Sainsburys for the forthcoming week.   However we are not so badly off in this area now as yesterday the new Community Shop in Frampton opened and although prices are obviously higher than the supermarkets they do have a good range and most importantly fresh fruit & vegetables.    There had been nowhere south of Gloucester that we could stock up on fresh produce.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

The day the rains came

Wednesday was what one might call a washout!!  However we were so lucky as the rain did not reach us until mid morning.  In fact when I awake there was bright sunshine but the clouds looked ominous.  We decided to depart our excellent mooring and head back to Sharpness.  A pleasant trip and plenty of mooring at the end and we were all tucked up nice and snugly as the first drop of rain arrived.  Oh boy did it rain....there was a brief lull mid afternoon but then it came back as heavy as ever.

The forecast for today was not brilliant but we decided to set off after Barney and I had walked to the funny little shop in the dock area.   We wanted to position ourselves closer to Saul as we were expecting visitors on Friday and Saturday.

Looking inland up the Severn estuary at low tide as we went for our walk
and in the other direction the outline of the Severn bridges.
We turned at the end.  Under that bridge is where we would presumably go
 if we were brave enough to tackle the estuary trip down to Bristol
The marina at Sharpness
We stopped briefly at Purton to fill up with water and I took the opportunity to walk up to see the little church there.

A tiny church but very peaceful
The stay was not as brief as we had intended as it must have been the slowest filler we have come across!!
All of the bridges seem to have the old bridge keepers cottages in this same style.
The rain held off luckily, although as we were nearing where we wanted to moor the clouds behind looked very threatening.   We were back close to our previous lovely mooring, just a little farther back, the view of the Severn still good but a lovely stretch of mown grass this time.  Sadly today there was to be no sitting on the shore.  This time the rain was not as heavy and relentless but still indoor weather.

Thursdays trip
Total distance:5.73 miles 
Elapsed time:2h35m23s
Average speed:2.21 mph (2.21 lock/mph)

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Too nice to move

This nice open mooring with lovely views was too good to leave so we stayed over.
We had ordered the paper from the little cafe in Frampton so we had a walk up there to collect and stayed for coffee & decadent!

Several of the houses on this stretch have these funny little huts on top...any ideas??
Lots of sitting on the bank and reading today .......ain't life hard......
The forecast for tomorrow is rain again..... is this what this sky heralds?
Nearly dark but our resident swan family are still wide awake
Even still preening themselves