Saturday, 31 July 2010

Shepherds Patch

IMG_0018 little and Large






IMG_0019 Ambulant

We went for a wander around to look at all the different boats here. How about this for a live aboard then Dave? The first image shows how big it is with an ordinary narrow boat passing by it. It was busy at the Black Shed, the two day boats were already out, people were hiring bicycles, or having brunch in the cafe. There are some lovely paintings for sale all around the cafe walls and they also run a book exchange. We sat outside with our coffee and cake so that we could be gongoozlers.

IMG_0021 This lovely silver tabby kitten was safely waiting in his cage in the bow while the boat was being refuelled.


A plane flew over rather low and slow enough for me to get a photo.


This wildlife raft is anchored next to patch bridge and is well used by ducks and swans who bob about on it each time a boat passes by.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Saul to Slimbridge

IMG_0001 old cadbury Wharf 

We left Saul this morning and stopped off for diesel at ACP Fuels on the old Cadbury Wharf at Frampton, as we had heard on the grapevine that it was 65p. At the other end of the wharf is Shipton Mill which is used for milling flour.

IMG_0014 patch bridge

Arriving at Patch Bridge, we filled the water tank, then moored here for the weekend. The Black Shed was originally built in 1911 for storing grain, but is now occupied by Glevum Boat and Cycle Hire. There is also a Cafe and a Chandlery/Shop here too.

IMG_0015 Tudor ArmsOn our wanderings we noticed that the Tudor Arms was doing a roaring trade, including Chicken+Chips in a basket for under £5. So on this cool breezy day we treated ourselves to some for dinner and very good it was too. There is a handy touring caravan site behind the pub which looks almost full up. Shepherds Patch is such a busy little are, we like it here with so much going on. We spotted Mick with his dog Rueben on their boat ‘Nell’ and stopped for a brief chat as he was just leaving for Purton.

IMG_0012 Patch bridge Sculpture IMG_0017 poppies

This rather nice wooden sculpture is a signpost with two otters pointing to Gloucester and Sharpness. The Flamingo points the way to Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust founded by Sir Peter Scott in 1946.There are a variety of wild flowers hereabouts and there are supposedly water voles living along the bank thus restricting mooring spaces.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Two into one.


IMG_0010 woodland path








Yesterday we decided to do another four mile walk in the opposite direction along the disused canal from Saul to Fromebridge Mill. We followed the to path around Whitminster House to St Andrews Church and were impressed how neatly the grass was trimmed around the leaning gravestones. The church and house stand isolated from the village of Whitminster and are advertised as a tranquil picturesque setting for weddings and receptions. We passed over this old iron squeeze stile, which was as good as the day the local blacksmith had made it. Over the road we could hear the water from the Frome thundering over the weir on it’s way to the Severn. It was another warm, humid day so we welcomed the cool shaded walk through the woodland.

IMG_0019Turning left we followed the towpath and could see that the canal was in water all the way along.

IMG_0018 Ocupation Bridge Bristol Road Wharf 

As we approached the house at Bristol Road Wharf we saw that the occupation bridge appeared to be in good order. It was built higher and wider in order to accommodate the passing of the Severn Trows. The farmer was busy with his combine, harvesting his crop in a large field nearby.

IMG_0023 one of several pillboxesThis was one of several WW2 ‘Pill Boxes’ that were in the fields hereabouts, I wonder if they were ever used by the Local Defence Volunteers or Home Guard, or indeed how they came by that name?

IMG_0025 Fromebridge Mill We emerged onto the roundabout on the A38 to meander down the lane, through the car park, across the bridge over the River Frome and into Fromebridge Mill. Dating from the 14 century it has mostly been a corn mill until the 1990’s when it was made into a restaurant for 180 diners. Luckily it retains much of the old mill workings, wooden beams and artefacts all around. In addition to the extensive menu there is also a carvery serving roast dinner twice a week. The food is excellent and can be enjoyed inside or out by the weir. Needless to say it was very busy. After all that walking we were quite hungry and thirsty too.

We arrived back at the boat in time for a rest before Mike and Do turned up for tea and cake. After exchanging news of friends and family, Mike offered to take us out for an evening meal in his new car. Well this was a novelty as we hadn’t been on these roads for quite sometime, or in a car. We had a lovely meal and drove back down the scenic route through Slad Valley, luvly jubbly! Today we may do something less strenuous and only have one dinner!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Framilode Walkabout

IMG_0005 Canal Towpath

IMG 0032 Style








We set off from the lock at Saul Junction to trace the course of the Stroudwater Canal to Framilode Lock. This was the junction where the Severn Trows would have entered from the River Severn. They were able to take their cargoes as far as Brimscombe Port. This part of the canal is not included in the Cotswold Canal’s restoration  as the junction with the Severn was a rather dangerous manoeuvre. The footpath closely followed where the towpath would have been, running along between the canal and the River Frome. There were many stiles to negotiate along the way with many beautiful wildflowers lining the path, which is well maintained.

IMG_0006 Ship Inn 

The Ship Inn was doing a roaring trade, I wonder if this was a favourite stop when the canal was in use? 

IMG_0007 Canal CottagesThis lovely row of cottages overlook the towpath and canal, which has very little water in it at the moment. We turned left along the lane to St Peters Church which overlooks the Severn. We found the interior of the church was highly decorated with nautical motifs, beautiful painted ceilings, and small stained glass windows. There is a useful village book swap (or 50p each) at the back of the church.

IMG_0024 Severn Way Footpath

We then ventured along the Severn Way as far as Priddy, then back across the fields, to retrace our steps along the canal.

IMG_0027 Red Admiral

We enjoyed our walk very much on another lovely warm afternoon.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Frampton Walkabout

IMG_0003 CockerellWe are lulled to sleep at night with owls calling out to each other. This may be the Cock-a-doodle-do culprit that wakes us up at the crack of dawn in the morning. He is part of a menagerie of fouls that live in the garden behind the Bridge keepers Cottage.

IMG_0009 Frampton Manor 13-17c As we were low on milk and it was such a bright day we walked into Frampton on Severn to the village shop. This is the  picturesque timber framed Manor built between the 13th-17th centuries. Nearby in the grounds of the manor stands this magnificent Wool Barn built in 1550, it has recently been restored and is a Grade 1 Listed Building. It is part of the Frampton Court Estate and can be hired out for weddings and parties.IMG_0019 The Wool Barn 1550 grade 1IMG_0015 thatched cottages


IMG_0011pretty cottage garden






The pretty cottages are spread in a higgledy piggledy  fashion down each side of the large village green. Most of them boast flower gardens and productive vegetable patches and there are several Walnut Trees around too. The two ponds are surrounded by tall wildflowers and Bulrushes, but seem to be inhabited by goldfish.

IMG_0016 Glos Old Spot wallowing We took a short cut along a footpath through some fields and saw this big Gloucester Old Spot Pig wallowing in a shady mud bath. By now it was quite hot and humid and we felt like joining him! The path wended it’s way round and took us back almost to the spot where we had started, on the village green. Wouldn’t it be more useful if the fingerposts indicated where they led instead of ‘Public Footpath’. Anyway we arrived back gasping for a drink and snack, then we relaxed for the afternoon reading our books.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Fun in the sun

IMG_0002Today we met up for coffee and cakes in the garden at the Stables Bar. Another beautiful day for a family reunion in the sunshine. Our little grandson tired himself out guiding the car around on the grass, until he discovered how to get into it!

IMG_0021His new little cousin was far too tired to do anything but have cuddles with everyone and drink his milk.

IMG_0046The Cotswold Canal trip boat, Perseverance, was in great demand ferrying families in all directions on the canal around Saul. Here they are passing the clubhouse of the new Marina with berths for 284 boats. The canal is so clear here that you can see the plants and fish down in the depths. The Heritage Centre was also very busy and almost ran out of ice-creams because everyone wanted to cool off in this hot weather.

IMG_0046 friendly neighbourhood duckThis is one of our daily feathered visitors, it knows how to stand up for itself too and sees off all the opposition.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Whitminster Walkabout

We walked along to treat ourselves to a lunchtime snack at the Stables Bar by Sandfield Bridge. Sitting upstairs out on the balcony there is a good view all around, also we could see the boats moving between the two bridges. Afterwards we wandered along past the new Saul Marina on the arm of the Stroudwater Canal and up to Walk Bridge. This bridge will have to be raised as part of the Cotswold Canals restoration programme to allow boats to cruise along to Stroud via Stonehouse.IMG_0040 Walk BridgeTurning left along the road towards Whitminster, then right through a field I found Whitminster Lock and gates were still in position, in fairly good order and also in water.IMG_0025 Whitminster Lock looking goodPeering through a gap in the hedge the weir at Whitminster had a lot of water thundering over it.IMG_0036 Witminster Weir controlOn my way back I spotted these in the areas where the grass had been left uncut.IMG_0028 Banded Deoiselle  A Banded Demoiselle having a rest.IMG_0030 Peacock Butterfly A Peacock Butterfly feeding on a Teasel flower.IMG_0034 Common Blue Butterfly A tiny Common Blue Butterfly, I think.IMG_0039 Whitminster House This is the nearest I could get to Whitminster Church as it stands in the grounds of Whitminster House which are private. There are many lovely ancient trees here including Chestnut and Walnut. 

Gloucester to Saul

IMG_0015 Queen Boudica,High Orchard Bridge

David brought his friend Mort to see us and we had a good old chinwag on their memories of their working lives and history of the locality. We then left our mooring by High Orchard Bridge on a warm calm morning, ideal for cruising.

IMG_0002 Romans QuayWe passed Monk Meadow Dock which used to be a busy oil terminus, but is now a private mooring. Next to this is Romans Quay where they are  building new houses.

IMG_0006 Joseph Griggs SawmillsJoseph Griggs and Co Ltd, Sawing, Planing and Moulding Mills are all that remains of a once busy area of timber importers. Timber was needed for the Gloucester Railway Wagon Works and the manufacturing of Moorlands Matches.

IMG_0009 in blogThis is Hempsted Bridge which was swung for us, showing a green light for us to pass.  We have become lazy now, as we either pass under bridges or have them done for us.

IMG_0035 Bridgekeepers Cottage There are eight of these little original cottages that the Bridge Keepers used to live in. This one has been extended and is kept in immaculate order.

IMG_0033 washdayThis barge is not under sail, it was just a good day for hanging out the washing!

IMG_0053 the welcoming partyThe welcoming party were out ready to greet us on our arrival at Saul junction, luvly jubbly.

Footnote, by bottle.

Cue X-files music.

After mooring yesterday, wozie was busying herself so I decided to go for a short stroll just to exercise the legs and get some air. I wandered along the towpath past Saul junction, the Cotswold Canal Trust Heritage Centre and on to Sandfield bridge, did a bit of gongoozling as boats passed through the bridge.

Whilst standing there I turned and on the other side of the road stood an ex work colleague that I had not seen for many years.

We met and greeted and during our conversation he said that he had not been to Saul in a long time. On his arrival for some reason we had come to mind.

It must have been fate, coincidence or was there an unknown force at work smile_omg . He came onboard and stayed for a few hours and believe it or not work was never mentioned.

He has had a companion for the last three years that also came onboard, Buddy an ex ‘working’ Whippet

IMG_0049 Buddy being a catBuddy pretending to be a cat.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

More visitors.

I had a phone call just before 8am followed by a knock on the side of the boat, our first visitor had arrived. It was David who used to be our neighbour when we lived on land. He had several things to do in Gloucester and had called in to see us first. It was nice to catch up on all the local news David, even though I still had my nightie on when you arrived!

IMG_0003 Edward ElgarThe Edward Elgar came down from the docks to turn around in the Monk Meadow Dock entrance. It is difficult to tell which is the bow, as it seems to be blunt at both ends! In the afternoon my cousin Marilyn and her friend Jenny came for tea, boat cake, and a look around the boat. It was good to hear news of family and friends we haven’t seen for almost a year. They were rather wary about stepping aboard and the boat rocking when other boats passed by.

Glos Docks 2007We had a bit of a downpour this afternoon so didn’t venture out with the camera. Here is a photo I took earlier as they say. This was The Tall Ships Festival in the main basin in 2007. What a memorable weekend of pirate related activities for the children that was, with several spectacular sailing ships on show. The Saxons, Romans and Napoleon re-enactment groups also took part, creating very loud bangs with their guns and cannons. The green glass building in the centre of the picture was The Merchants Quay Shopping Centre which has now been demolished to make way for two blocks of flats to be built. The Lock Warehouse is also to be made residential. An Arts and Crafts Gallery and a Coffee Shop has already opened on the ground floor. This evening the rain has eased off and the ladies are out in their eight, plus cox, practising their rowing skills.