Twas a lovely surprise when we saw nb Keeping Up gliding past our side hatch windows, so we called out to them. A few minutes later Alan and Debbie were breasted up with us for the night. Later on we joined them walking up to The Tall Ship by the dock entrance for an evening meal together. There was a wide choice of every kind of fish dish on offer that you could imagine. We ordered pints of Swordfish all round, then sat down as the menu took a bit of perusing! Anyway the food was just fabulous and so too were the puddings. We had passed by this tiny pub in the past, but it was deceptively bigger on the inside. Next morning they were off and made it down to Sharpness for the night. Then they came back up and with their granddaughter on board we waved them goodbye as they descended Gloucester Lock onto the River Severn. It was fantastic to meet up with them again as we really enjoy their company, bon voyage, until the next time!
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Once in the Glos Lock we ascended with two plastic boats, then we turned to the left to moor on the pontoons. The’ dredging’ boat was sweeping around the basin stirring the mud up and making a heck of a racket until 6pm. The mud was being flushed out through the lock into the river. This seems to be rather an expensive pointless exercise as the water intake for the Sharpness Canal is just down river from the lock! Later the hoards descended to sit outside Fosters pub eating, drinking and making merry, noisily! Then a massive plastic boat pulled in nearby, went up on his poop deck with a drink and played very loud ‘thump/bang music until after we managed to get to sleep at about 10.30pm. Who needs an alarm clock when loads of Seagulls start circling round screeching loudly at c 4pm! Nodding off again we were woken at 8pm when the dredger ground into life see-sawing all around the basin, luvly jubbly.
Whilst moored so near to the city we made the most of perusing the shops and going out for lunch. Nb Kalimi came to moor nearby so we had a chat with them as we haven’t seen them for ages. There are always some interesting boats to be seen in the dock area and in Neilson’s Yard for work. We popped over for a snack in the busy little cafe on the dockside called ‘Toast’. Here you can have any choice of fillings in a toasted sandwich, brilliant idea! We got chatting to a couple who live hereabouts who told us of all the changes that were due to happen. I was disappointed to see that at least two shops had closed and had changed over to posh coffee houses. When our 48hrs was up we cruised on down to Sainsbury's as the cupboards and fridge needed filling up. After replacing the thermostat and control panel in our freezer we gave up it and tried running it on a timer for a while. Now we have decided to buy a new one if we can persuade someone to deliver it to Oakfield and maybe collect the old one. Surprise, surprise, we saw Nb Balmaha en-route and when they stopped off for shopping Nessa came around for a bit of a catch-up chat.
Friday, 25 July 2014
We cast off from the pontoon just after 8am, then on through Diglis River Lock going with the low about 5mls an hour. The hotel boat ‘Edward Elgar was on it’s way up to Worcester, after which we met a barge laden with aggregate. It was a fab day for cruising, although it was very hot we had a cool breeze on our faces as we whizzed along. All the river moorings were full, so we continued on down, taking it in turns to steer while the other went in for a tea break.
The lads were out practicing on the river rescue boat, then ‘Ambulant’ came up past us. As dredging was taking place in Gloucester Basin we hung on the wall for a while from our stern rope until 4pm. Although we were away back we felt the force of the water when they opened the lock gate to flush the muddy water out. The lock operation at the moment is 8-9am, 12-1pm and 4-5pm only until ‘dredging ‘ stops in about two weeks time..
Thursday, 24 July 2014
Late Saturday afternoon the rain stopped and the sun popped out, so we cruised on down to Tibberton and tied Oakfield up on the end of the long line of boats there. After a quiet nights sleep we continued on down. There were only twelve more locks spread out down to Worcester. We moored by bridge 5 and went into town for lunch and called into Asda on our return to the boat. Next day we carried on down to Worcs basin where we used our old BW card and had a good pump out lasting 16 minutes! With our water tank topped up we continued down Diglis Locks to moor out on the river.
Wednesday, 23 July 2014
It was pretty noisy at the busy Queens Head pub as everyone was outside making the most of the evening sunshine. This is the second large Tepee we have seen, a very popular pub garden feature. We stopped for the services at Stoke Wharf where we saw ‘Duckingham Palace’, Further on Tony called out to us from his boat ‘Tilda’ to say that they follow our blog. While we filled with water I went back along for a chat and he kindly gave me a guided tour of their lovely boat with it’s glistening Gardner engine..
Next day we descended the 6 locks at Stoke, where top lock cottage a fantastic garden where I bought 1lb of runner beans, luvly jubbly. Then we descended 6 more at Astwood arriving at lunchtime at the junction with the Droitwich Canal. Luckily we were able to moor just outside the Eagle and Sun Pub. With very few shops along this canal we had run out of things for lunches so we dined in the pub. It is a 2-4-6-8 one. This being the price of their meals and very good they were too. Our two meals with drinks came to around a tenner, so we went again the next day as it was raining cats and dogs! Of course the hire boaters were on the move passing us by looking like drowned rats, poor things.
Tuesday, 22 July 2014
Again we were ready for a very early morning cruise to tackle the locks before it got too hot. It was all misty at 6.30am when we untied Oakfield. These are some of the impressions on the blue bricks lock side and an award on the lockkeepers cottage near the reservoir.
An all night fisherman was just packing all his equipment away into his tiny car as we passed the reservoir. The paddle gearing at the locks here runs more smoothly with a groove wheel to guide it up and down. Also the winding spigot allows left or right handed operation. We saw two people operating one together with their windlasses attached on either side. A brilliant idea if you have the crew for it!
We were on our own until we met a Vikings Afloat hire boat ascending which helped matters a bit. A girlie lockkeeper came up on her bike clearing the debris from the weirs en-route. She said ‘did I know that I should set the lock below before opening the paddles of the one we were in' as I was wasting water according to her. My reply was that how much extra walking distance that would be for me in addition to the 2 mile stretch? Two of the lock cottages seemed to be vying to see who had the biggest aerials. Apparently they can communicate worldwide. Anyway we arrived somewhat knackered at 11.15am to moor below the bottom lock having descended 217 feet in 30 plus degrees C, in 4 3/4 hrs phew!.
Sunday, 20 July 2014
Next day we caught the 146 into Redditch to visit the EE shop to pick up the Cabin Boys new phone and I get to have his old one, whoopee doodle do.
Alvechurch has a few fine buildings including a fab fish and chip shop. While in Redditch we went for coffee in W’s Royal Enfield which used to be an old Cinema. The cows came down to drink the brown stuff from the canal and keep us company morning and evening.
Tuesday we were off before 7am with not many boats on the move. Passing through the Guilotine Lock we turned left at Kings Norton Junction onto the Worcs Birmingham Canal. However we did meet a hire boat in Wast Hill Tunnel who didn’t seem to know which side to pass us on until we shouted out. They were translating to the steerer what to do and managed to bump us in the process! Emerging from the tunnel we had picked up a plank of wood and branch of a tree across the bow. We slowed down and went into reverse for me to poke it out of the way. There always seems to be an abundance of floating objects around this tunnel. Five hours from when we set off we were moored up in Alvechurch, hurrah!
My afternoon stroll took me down to The boatyard to buy the Cabin Boy a new lump hammer for banging in the mooring rope pins. He had flung one in the canal with gay abandon and left one behind on the towpath somewhere! There were about 50 chaps working on doubling up two miles of railway tracks through Alvchurch Station. The two nifty little yellow machines can pick up a long length of track and transport it along into position. In the field opposite were some cows with fearsome looking horns!
Saturday, 19 July 2014
Off cruising again Monday early, we paused at Bridge 20 to nip up Dyers Lane to buy a fresh wholemeal loaf, 6 free-range eggs and a couple of pasties at Wedges Bakery Shop. They bake on site and the smell of baking filled the air as we approached. En-route I had gathered a couple of suitable molehills to plant my houseleek babies in, thanx moles! Overnight mooring was at Earlswood in a nice open sunny position. It was only spoilt by the prat on the permanent moorings opposite running his LOUD engine until 9pm.
Friday, 18 July 2014
We paused for a break at Kingswood Junction, then turned north onto the Stratford Canal.The going would be easier from now on as the locks were all single chambers, phew. After doing seven locks we moored up for the night.Then I popped into the bustling little Canal Cafe/Shop where there were some delicious looking homemade cakes on display. Well of course I was tempted to buy some, just to build up our strength for doing so many locks you understand! We were just having a relaxing time after our evening meal listening to Jean Michel Jarre’s Oxygene when there was a loud banging on the outside of Oakfield. It was fellow bloggers Brian and Dianna from nb Harnser who had caught us up and were moored a few boats back. We had a brief chat, then they went off for a meal at the Boot Inn.
As we awoke very early next day and being fully rejuvenated we ascended the remaining thirteen locks in a couple of hours. Some of the paddle gearing was a bit stiff and wobbly. This idyllic cottage stands beside a typical cast iron bridge with a slot through the centre through which the towing horse’s rope would pass.