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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Back to the river

Barney is not very keen on pontoons.
When we first arrived at Droitwich we had a very difficult job to get him
to set foot off the boat and on to the pontoon.  
 After a while he would do it but with a look of mistrust on his face

On Monday morning we said farewell to Sally & Hector as they were continuing up the Droitwich
We stayed as we were expecting Boe at lunch time.   She arrived safely and we had a quiet day.

Today (Tuesday) was planned to go back down the canal and onward to Worcester, leaving at a reasonably early hour after buying the paper etc.   In the event Barnaby, who is normally a lie-a-bed
decided he needed to go out at 5.30am.  Boe gallantly offered to take him but by this time we were all awake!!!  So we decided to have a really early start.  By 0645 Geoff & I were en route and Boe was back in bed!!   She says she wasn't asleep.......

The first part is mainly reed covered banks until we reached the top lock
By the 4th lock Boe was awake but refusing to appear on camera!
A few locks further on she decided Geoff might benefit from her assistance.
At lock 3 we had the benefit of further assistance from a CRT man who appeared in his van
Barney still in supervisory role.
We swapped over here and Boe, Barney and I had our morning walk down to lock 2.

Geoff carried on down and we disappeared behind the reeds.
Goodbye Droitwich.
Still too early in the day to have my photo taken!!
Slightly better now there is a bit of sun
Just one big lock, Bevere Lock, with no work to do and a pleasant run down to Worcester.   Mind you it was quite breezy all the way and hardly July temperatures.

Worcester Cathedral in view


Very few boats around yet again so we had no trouble picking our spot to moor just below the race course.  However things have changed since our last visit as it is now £4 a night.  

Total distance:9.19 miles 
Elapsed time:4h19m9s 
Locks:9
Bridges:22 
Average speed:2.13 mph (4.21 lock/mph) 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Sunday in Droitwich

The moorings in Droitwich are finger pontoon moorings in a small secure basin adjacent to Vine Park.   It is wonderful to see that the town has really embraced the canal and made a big thing of it's restoration.  What is even more wonderful is the cleanliness.  There are ample rubbish bins (which are not overflowing!) and ample dog poo bins.  In addition this morning (in the pouring rain) there was a council employee going round with his spike collecting any litter he could fine.


We went to St Andrews Church in the town centre for Sung Eucharist, sadly could not stay for coffee as we had a lunch date!!   We are still just close enough to Fran & Keith for them to join us and today Sally & Hector came too.  A very good lunch was partaken of in the Gardeners Arms.  We had also had mail sent to Fran & Keith so were able to catch up with things.


The weather today had been much as forecast...rain, rain etc......................


Saturday, 25 July 2015

Stourport to Droitwich


Whilst at Stourport I decided to avail myself of the shower provided in the sani block( washing machine & dryer also available but purchased card needed).  I was looking forward to standing under a lovely flowing stream of hot water without the worry that Geoff was listening to his water supply running!!!!!   It was not my lucky day....first there were 3 people waiting so I should have quit then whilst I was ahead........but I decided to sit in the sun and ogle all the boats in the basin.   When I eventually had my turn I discovered a very indifferent shower which had a mind of it's own as far as heat was concerned....it alternated between icy cold and dangerously hot with nothing I could do about it!!!  There were generously 2 pegs on the back of the door to keep your things off the wet floor but nowhere to sit whilst you struggled to get back into a pair of trousers and keep them dry........not a good decision......

Saturday was decreed as an early start as we had arranged to rendezvous with Hectors House at 10am at the entrance to the Droitwich Canal and go up the double locks together.


Our first lock at York Street was a very slow descent...maybe due to these leaky gates
We made good time and were there just before 10.   Hectors House were not so lucky as the lock keeper at the only lock they had to negotiate closed the gates on them as there were two boats already in, despite there being room for 3......

The river is very low at the moment but I wonder how close to the house it reaches at times.
We therefore had a welcome rest and coffee break before tackling the 8 locks.   The book says they are relatively easy locks but Sally and I would disagree with that as the gates were very heavy and a lot of the paddles very stiff.   Mind you I only did one lock, Geoff did the rest!!!!  Still we were not complaining as the day was mostly fine which was so welcome after the deluge of yesterday.


/We were pleased to see that the canal was being used, we had 7 boats pass us during the day.    
One of the lock cottages...sadly not for a lock keeper!
The restoration of this canal was a monumental effort on the part of some people, allowing us to now enjoy it.

We reached the moorings at Droitwich Spa just before 2.30....much longer than our normal days cruising....  

Later the day was rounded off with supper on board Petroc with Sally & Hector.....a much later night than normal!!!


Total distance:14.40 miles 
Elapsed time:8h3m42s 
Locks:15
Bridges:23 
Average speed:1.79 mph (3.52 lock/mph








Friday, 24 July 2015

Rained in at Stourport

Variation on a normal cratch cover!!
Big Barge lock entry to the river Severn (Barney more interested in the grass)
 We will go down the double staircase of narrow locks on Saturday we hope
Pretty cottage gardens on the road down to the river
Looking down at the barge lock with the Severn beyond.
All the above pictures were taken on Thursday evening before the rain set in!   The forecast has been extremely accurate....it said it would be set in rain all day and they were not wrong!
Needless to say we have stayed put, unlike quite a few other boats who have passed us in both directions, all in waterproofs and looking very bedraggled........this is when I am so glad we are not in a hurry......
We hope the forecast is as accurate for Saturday as it promised fair weather and the plan is to rendezvous with Hectors Boat at the entrance to the Droitwich and go up the locks together.   Mind you although the book says they are wide locks I am not sure if they take two narrowboats.   We have done the canal once before and only remember single locks...we shall see when we reach there.!
A long day planned for tomorrow as the forecast for Sunday is dire again......so an early start has been ordered.......

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Eventually to Stourport

Well so much for onward to Stourport on Wednesday......the forecast was for rain and we were a bit ahead of ourselves if we wanted to be in Droitwich for the weekend, so we stayed another day.   The moorings are 5 day so no problem there.

In the 3 days we were there Kidderminster did not endear itself to me any more, despite the fact that the moorings were secure( right opposite Sainsburys with security lights on at night), open spaces nearby to walk Barney, and more shopping possibilities than anyone could want.  Not only can you moor right by Sainsburys but through the lock there are several places to moor for even more shopping, right by Debenhams and right by Tesco's.........a girl is spoilt for choice!

On Wednesday lunchtime NB Gabriel pulled  belonging to Hazel & James up in front of us.  They are also members of BCF so there was soon a knock on the window.......we have in fact met them twice before but James had to go and look at his record to see where it was as none of us could remember.  

This time we arranged to socialise together and later spent
a very pleasant couple of hours before supper on Petroc.
Probably a better boat guard than Barney
When we watched the weather forecast on Wednesday evening, Thursday looked good but Friday looked dire.   

When we set off Thursday morning we decided that maybe we would have to go straight through Stourport and get at least part way along the river towards the Droitwich entrance.   This was our intention right up until we approached the first lock......but then the moorings above the lock were relatively free and they looked so inviting so to heck with the rain tomorrow.    Maybe we wont get to continue to Droitwich until Saturday...who knows.....

Total distance:4.27 miles 
Elapsed time:2h30m30s 
Locks:3
Bridges:19 
Average speed:1.70 mph (2.90 lock/mph) 


Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Kidderminster

A gentle start to the day on Monday, very laid back departure time of 9am!

The first part of the trip is very pretty but soon the canal starts to go through a gorge with some very narrow places.   Geoff and Barney were walking at this stage and I cannot say it was my most favourite run.   Petroc was very heavy on the tiller and  I have the feeling that we may have something round the prop.   I have dropped several hints to the skipper but so far no action has been taken........he thinks it is my imagination!

We had no trouble finding a  mooring, in fact we are right outside Sainsburys......very convenient although not our preferred type of mooring.

Last time we were here Kidderminster did not endear itself to me and I cannot say that it is much better this time.......

St Georges Church is very imposing as it looks over the canal
However soon after we had tied up we had a pleasant surprise as Hector & Sally pulled up in Hectors House (aka narrowboat!)   We managed a quick coffee but plan to meet up in Droitwich at the weekend.

We decided to stay a day and shop leisurely today Tuesday.   Individually we both had a wander round all the stores of which there are many.   Sadly we are not really in need of anything special...what a waste of being so close...............................

Early morning Patrol!
Their effects are all over the towpath yet again.....one has to be very careful where one puts ones feet!
I had trouble getting my GPS to run in navigator today and had to leave without it running.   I knew if I asked Geoff for time to fix it I would not be popular........when he is ready to go we go!
Later I discovered that it was finger trouble....I had forgotten to attach the GPS to the USB port on the computer......Doh!!!!

Onward tomorrow to Stourport.......

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Kinver

4 locks down to Stourton Junction and then we turned left onto the Staff & Worcs canal and even began to see a bit more boat life!

Kinver was the target for the weekend and we moored just after Kinver lock.   Not a bad mooring apart from the fact that it was in a black hole as far as phone, internet & TV was concerned......

However we decided to stay for the Saturday night as we had planned on eating in the Vine pub and were meeting Fran & Keith again for Sunday Lunch.   The moorings were show as 24 hours only which I can never see the point of.  48 hours I can live with but 24 doesn't give you time to arrive in the afternoon and have time to explore a place and still depart at a reasonable time the next day....Ah well
There was plenty of space and not full.

Sunday dawned grey and mizzley but we took ourselves off to the 9.30 service at St Peters Church.
This was the view from St Peters when we had negotiated the extremely steep hill to reach there.
Must be good exercise!
It was  a good service and an interesting church where everyone was very friendly.  Sadly they don't seem to have a web site.   40 years ago the north aisle was in danger of collapsing and remedial action had to be taken.  With the aid of a good architect an excellent renovation was done thereby creating a wonderful space for meetings, coffee etc.   It has modern overtones but very much in keeping with the style of the church.  The stained glass windows they had to remove were kept stored for a number of years until someone had the bright idea of turning them into a giant lantern which now hangs over the font.
Such an original idea that we have not seen before.
The return journey was not nearly as taxing!!   We then had an excellent Sunday lunch in the Vine pub with Fran & Keith after which we decided to move a short distance.   This was motivated more by the fact that Geoff wanted a TV signal to watch the second part of a program than by the desire to not overstay our 24 hours!!!!

Well we did get a TV signal but no phone or internet........

Total distance:2.74 miles
 Elapsed time:3h21m14s 
Locks:7