Behind again with the blogging!

The time seems to be whizzing along although we are not. We had a nice quiet weekend on our countryside mooring after the locks at Semington. The canal is reasonably quiet at the moment; a few hire boats, and others like ourselves just passing through.

On Monday 10th July we were moving again for a rendezvous with a second cousin of mine (my mother’s cousin’s daughter) and her husband; we are never quite sure what the relationship is, but have been in touch for a number of years now. Sandra and Brian live in Essex, and have a daughter that lives nearby to where we were moored; they travelled to visit us in their motorhome and combined it with a visit to their daughter. We had to get through some locks to meet them so were up early and on our way to Sells Green, managing to get moored with the bow on the very end of the visitor moorings, and the stern in the rough and way off the bank; so plank out once more. We met Sandra and Brian at The Three Magpie’s pub for lunch, and they had managed a parking slot in the nearby campsite. It was lovely to see them and catch up, but sadly didn’t take any photo’s of them this time. In the evening Izzy had a good play with Sandra’s GSD puppy and another terrier type in the campsite’s dog field. The weather has remained very warm and humid, and for these few days it remained overcast. Tuesday 11th July we said goodbye to Sandra and Brian, hopefully we see them again soon. In the afternoon we had heavy rain (the first for a while), and we noticed that we had water coming in from somewhere; summising it was probably the kitchen window, although not sure. We needed to turn the boat around to sort it out as the window was canalside and Charlie couldn’t see properly whilst hanging off the gunwales. So Wednesday 12th July we moved along a short way to Foxhangers wharf, as there was a winding hole there and we could easily turn the boat round and reverse back to the mooring spot. Charlie resealed the offending window; hoping it is going to sort the problem. We will have to wait for the rain again to see. Later in the day we walked up the locks with Izzy to Caen Hill.

Thursday 13th July and we moved up 6 locks to a rough mooring before the Caen Hill flight, and decided we would stay for the weekend as no time restriction.

our rough mooring for the weekend

our water garden from the kitchen window

We heard from our boating friends Mary and Stephen, informing us that they have left Bristol and heading for Bath. We were planning to do the 16 locks of the Caen Hill flight on Monday, but had an alert from crt that the flight was opening late (10am instead of 8am), due to a broken paddle needing fixing on one of the locks within the flight. On Saturday we were able to get onto one of the 48hr visitor mooring slots in the pound below the flight, so we decided we would move up the locks on Sunday as they open. The weekend had remained overcast but warm.

ready to do the Caen Hill flight again

and another view

Up and atom on Sunday 16th July; early breakfast and into the bottom lock as the lock keeper arrived to unlock the flight. A hire boat that had been moored behind travelled up with us. It took 2 hours and 30mins for us to do the 16 locks. Charlie did the lock wheeling and I handled the boat. I managed to get a shot of this chap overseeing the proceedings.

heron surveying the view from the lock bridge

There was no one travelling down the flight which was very unusual for a weekend; and we stopped on the 24hr moorings at the top of the flight. As we had done the whole of the 29 locks in one go on the way down; it was nice to take our time and split it up on the way up.

Another 6 locks negotiated on Monday 17th July and again another stop at Devizes Wharf, as we didn’t stop here on the way through. 72hr moorings here; and it is quiet on the towpath as it is closed for upgrading. Tuesday 18th July and we walked into Devizes for a look round.

Wadworth’s brewery building. They still deliver locally with Shire horses and dray.

Wadworths are the biggest in this area owning many pubs.

market place view

memorial fountain for a former member of parliament. Haven’t a clue who the chap is.

another memorial that has a funny story attached to it. Apparently in the 1700’s 3 women agreed to purchase a bag of wheat for a certain price. When the money was counted it was found to be a shortfall. One of the women was asked to pay the difference, but she was so adamant that she had paid her dues, she said “let me drop down dead if this is not true”; and subsequently she actually did. There is a moral there somewhere.

We purchased a couple of items, and I found another barbers for a haircut. Checked out the charity shops as always (much to Charlie’s disgust), but managed to find 2 nice shirts in them. I’m also investigating whether I can send a box of Shreddies to Oz as the grandkids cannot get them there. The post office lady said I couldn’t but so far I’ve not found anything to suggest I can’t.

Today I set off early for a haircut (£8.50 my kinda price), and had a quiet mooch around the shops on my own. Overnight we had some rain with thunder, but no further water leaks thank goodness. We will be moving again tomorrow to hopefully stop at Horton and The Bridge Inn. We had a nice meal there before so we may treat ourselves again. I also need an easy access place for Sainsbury to deliver.

Moving along slowly

Catching up with things we didn’t see on the way through. I marked all the good moorings in our canal book so we know where to moor successfully.

From Bath we stopped at Bathampton and arranged for a Sainsbury delivery at the pub carpark there.The weather has done a dramatic change since we left Bristol, and is more overcast; so our solar panels aren’t doing so well.

After our early food delivery on Friday 30th June we moved to Claverton, managing to do a clothes wash along the way as we knew we could top up with water at Dundas.

Saturday 1st July, a new month and doesn’t the time fly in retirement! It was a cloudy start but the sun did make an appearance later. We walked to Claverton pumphouse, but it was closed and only open on certain days when they have special pumping days.

Claverton pumping station is a waterwheel powered beam engine. A Grade 2 listed building built in 1813 to raise water from the River Avon to the Kennet and Avon canal. It has been restored by volunteers and is a rare surviving example of Georgian technology.

Warleigh weir is in this area and is very popular as a picnic site and many people swimming in the water.

Warleigh weir on the River Avon which runs alongside the canal in places

Next we visited the local church and to our surprise within the grounds is a Ralph Allen memorial. Apparently he was the founder of the modern post office in the 1700’s. But on his tomb it showed he started work in the post office in St Columb when he was 17. Now that was the surprise.

Ralph Allen memorial

may just be able to read his life’s work on this plaque

It’s always good to see history linking up around our travels. The village of Claverton is very select and built of the same stone as Bath and Bradford on Avon. Dread to think the cost of these.

Claverton church

Victoria gets everywhere! This was on a converted building

The view over the valley

Sunday 2nd July and we decided to stay an extra night (naughty as only 48hrs); but it was quiet and no queue’s for mooring. Sunny day again and warming up. Did some maintenance on the boat and spoke to the grandchildren in Australia via FB messenger.

Monday 3rd July and we were off early to Dundas setting the washing machine again, filling with water and doing the necessary sanitary. Noticed a boat on the 48hr moorings that was there when we passed through the first time. There seems to be alot of local boats that do this; just wish they wouldn’t overstay on the visitor moorings. Stopped at Avoncliff as we couldn’t get moored here the first trip. Another aqueduct here but it isn’t as grand as the Dundas one, but built by the same architect John Rennie.

Avoncliff aqueduct

Jazzy train

River Avon

3 arched aqueduct from ground level. Built in 1804 it suffered from casual repair work over the years by GWR; but has now been tastefully restored.

Avoncliff is a small community that started as a centre of weaving. At one time the mills here were used for flocking (mattress stuffing). The old weavers cottages and mills are now converted into dwellings. There was also a hospital here at one stage that took patients to Bradford for treatment by barge; the nurses had to stretcher the patients on and off the barge!

sign at the station

Avoncliff weir on the river

local pub

pub garden

Tuesday 4th July and we moved to Bradford on Avon. We walked into town and I checked out the co-op to see if they sold our favourite olives; but no they didn’t. Back on the boat and 2 firemen came past offering fire safety advice and they gave us 2 smoke alarms and 1 carbon monoxide detector, despite us saying we already had them fitted. Think they have their work cut out though with the state of some of the boats on this canal. Later in the afternoon a chap moored behind us and we got chatting; it transpired he came from Dartford (where I was born). Small world.

Wednesday 5th July and as I didn’t have a good signal and couldn’t update the blog we walked Izzy around Bradford Farm park, and then visited the museum in the afternoon, which was very interesting. Another very hot day.

The Shambles

looking down the Shambles

more Bradford views

Having seen all we want in Bradford and our time on the 48hr mooring was up; we set off early on Thursday morning to beat the heat. Through Bradford lock at 7am. More washing done. Water topped up above the lock. Stopped briefly at Hilperton to have breakfast and popped to Lidl for a few bottles of our favourite wine and some other goodies as well. Off again to the boatyard to fill up with diesel, and stopped at Semington, managing to squeeze into a Breakaway sized space. It is 24hrs here as I had written it on the way through, but somebody has removed the sign, and more non continuous, continuous cruisers moored here! Friday 7th July and we moved off and are now on a rough mooring just outside Semington. We can stay here for the weekend (to avoid the hire boat traffic); and we will move on Monday as we have a rendezvous with a second cousin of mine at The Three Magpie’s pub in Sells Green. As I had bought ingredients for a cream tea I made some scones. I had been seeing all the tea rooms in Bath offering them, so made my own much cheaper.

yummy, but no good for the diet!!

From Bristol to Bath

On my last blog I was very excited when I finally had it up to date with our adventures. Suddenly another week has gone by, and I find myself behind again!

Wednesday 21st June was another very hot day; we were going to visit Clifton and the bridge but decided it would be too uncomfortable so caught up on the washing and blog. Izzy had been upset by the heat as well. We invited Mary and Stephen over for lunch as in the evening we were all going onboard The Matthew for a fish and chip cruise. There was also a music festival over a five day period in Millenium Square, but we couldn’t hear it where we were moored. We went on board the Matthew at 6pm and set off for a gentle cruise along the harbour to the entrance of Cumberland basin; turned around and moored whilst we had our supper. It was quite a cool breeze going along which was very pleasant after the intense heatwave we had been experiencing.

onboard The Matthew

Beautiful evening

Thursday 22nd June and what a change in the weather. It had dropped 10 degrees overnight, and now we were feeling cold, despite this being the normal temp for the time of year. We had a few tasks to do in Bristol before leaving; new phone contract (old phone not enough storage), and visit to Primarni for a few chosen items. Mary and Stephen had invited us for supper to their boat in the evening, as we were leaving Friday and they were staying on in Bristol for another week. Hopefully we will meet up again somewhere on the K&A soon.

Friday 23rd June and we were leaving the harbour and heading back to Bath. We left early to empty cassettes before the ferry boats started; we encountered canoeists along the way to Netham Lock; and on arrival at the lock we had to wait till 9am for it to open as there had been a high tide. Another boat came along before we set off so we ended up sharing the locks along the journey. We wanted to get a mooring somewhere near to Bath city centre, as our friends Amanda and Shirley were visiting from Cornwall for the weekend. The proposed mooring was undergoing renovation and I didn’t fancy stopping there so we travelled through the first 3 Bath locks and moored along the first stretch of 48hr moorings.

Saturday 24th June and Amanda and Shirley arrived by lunchtime. This gave us time to find a place for lunch and do a bit of sightseeing. We lunched in Brown’s, and after went into the Roman Baths. This proved to be a very interesting excursion, through the vast excavations of the site. Much bigger than I had thought by looking at the outside entrance. An audio guide keeps you busy with all the history of the remains.

Roman baths. Re-incarnated in Georgian times so the gentry could partake of the spa waters

Goddess Minerva I believe

a Roman drain

channel where the thermal water flows into the pool

roman excavations

and more

Sunday 25th June and we met up by the Abbey, and walked to Royal Crescent

town houses in Royal Crescent

shame about the cars

These listed town houses were once owned by wealthy Georgians, who wanted a place to retreat to from their mansions. No 1 has been tastefully redecorated in the style, but we didn’t visit on Sunday. The one that has the tree around it’s frontage is a hotel (£1500 per night), they are not allowed to put signs up outside to show it is a hotel. Charlie decided to head on back to the boat whilst we ladies did a bit of shopping. We headed for Sally Lunn’s for elevensies but it was full, so opted for tea and a bath bun in the tea rooms opposite. When the Abbey opened at 1pm we had a peak inside.

Bath Abbey founded as a Benedictine monastery in the 8th century. The present Abbey built in 1499. Dissolved in 1539 by Henry VIII. 1700’s many monuments are added to the walls. Repairs in the 20th century due to WW2 bomb damage

main stained glass window

vaulted ceiling

one of the many tombs

butterfly artwork depicting the human struggle of migration

chantry chapel for quiet contemplation

main altar

memorial to the first governor of Australia

another elaborate fan vaulted ceiling

another tomb

I was quite pleased with the photo’s as I took them on my new phone. We went back to the boat for dinner that I had already prepared, and Amanda and Shirley had purchased some dessert from a french patisserie.

waiting patiently for dinner

They left us at 7pm as they were travelling back to Cornwall early on Monday to avoid the Glastonbury traffic. Lovely to see them.

Monday 26th June and we needed to move from the 48hr mooring we were on along to the next one 3 locks up, so we could continue our Bath adventure and complete our holiday! Once moored we set off for No 1 Royal Crescent to look around the refurbished Georgian house.

No 1 Royal Crescent

breakfast room

bureau with many books from the period


dining room. tables can be taken apart and stored in alcoves if a dancefloor required after dinner

privacy screen. chamberpots were used as no toilets within the house. pots were in most of the rooms

staircase ascending 3 floors

ladies bedroom

gentlemans sitting room

housekeepers room below stairs


cooking range

dog wheel to turn the roasting spit before animal welfare was thought of


The house was owned by a wealthy gentleman and when he died all of his possessions were sold. The items in the renovated house today are of the era, but none belonged to him; even so a fascinating insight to Georgian gentry.

Afterwards we decided to see if we could get into Sally Lunn’s tea room. Legend has it that she was a french Huguenot girl that found employment with a local baker, and introduced him to french festival type cakes or bunns; these were served at afternoon teas as they were light and delicious, which soon became part of Baths tradition. The building is very old with foundations linking back to Roman times, and the museum underneath shows the excavated floor of the different era’s.

Sally Lunn’s tea room

museum below the shop

how the bunns would have been made

strange carving in the museum

the bunn served with clotted cream and jam

We did get in and had the above with a pot of tea. The bunns can be served savoury or sweet, and you either get a top or bottom, and eat it with a knife and fork.

Tuesday 27th June and I had booked us into the Thermae bath spa (Cross bath), to experience the thermal waters. The Cross bath is across the road from the main spa and is alot cheaper as no other treatments are involved. For 1.5hrs we bobbed around in lovely warm water

bobbing around

and thoroughly enjoyed the experience; also got to keep the flip flops!! Afterwards we popped into another tea room and had tea and a bath bun. We then had a walk along the riverside to Pulteney weir and bridge.

unusual shape for a weir

trip boat returning

Pulteney bridge

looking back at the weir and bridge

There was once moorings before the weir but these have been discontinued which is a shame as it is a lovely spot.

On returning to the boat felt really tired after the warm bath.

Raining today and we have to move again; only a short hop to the next lot of 48hr moorings which looks over Bath city. Think we have seen all we want to, and sampled all the delights, so we now feel our holiday is over.

More of our Bristol adventures

So much to do and so little time! And the weather improving a little bit too much for comfortable sightseeing.

Friday 16th June and another windy day although sunny, and we decided to head for the @Bristol Science centre. We had a great time although it is mainly aimed at children; it was fully interactive, and with the addition of an armband that you can scan along the way, enabling the visitor to look  back on their visit via the website.

Charlie in a large hamster wheel

undercarriage of an Airbus A320

Remember Morph? 

We also had a 30min trip around the solar system courtesy of the 3D planetarium. Quite disorientating to start with but excellent.

visiting the planets

doing a space walk!

Our visit started to coincide with school parties so we were then surrounded by large groups of them. Luckily it didn’t impact on our visit, and it was nice to see the children interested in science stuff. I had a bit of a disaster as I caught my foot on a bench leg and took a tumble (no harm done and no one watching) ; then managed to spill my coffee in the coffee shop! We completed our visit and headed back to the boat for lunch.

Saturday 17th June it was Hot Hot Hot. We went off to the M Shed which is part of the Bristol museums group of free museums (donation appreciated though). 

It is a museum of Bristol life and people through the ages; and another very interesting collection.

view from the roof of the M shed.

It had a display of skeletons from Bristol and London that had all been found in various locations during building works. Very interesting to see that even in medieval times people suffered from tooth decay and osteoarthritis.

view along the harbour from the M shed

The afternoon and evening we spent up on deck under cover when rather alot of balloons came along; I’ve selected just 2 as there were too many to post.

just had to put this one in

Sunday 18th June and it’s Father’s day. Very hot again, and off we went early for a second visit to SS Great Britain, as Charlie hadn’t seen it all on our first trip. Free to get in with our annual ticket.

more from SS Great Britain

lavatories by royal appointment

first class promenade deck

butchering a porpoise

Walking back along the harbour Charlie said he would like a trip on the fireboat Pyronaut, so we booked a ticket for 13.45, and went back to the boat for coffee and cake, and returned at the alloted time. It was lovely and cool travelling along the harbour on the boat.

The boat no longer works as a fireboat but takes trips on certain weekends along the harbour to show the water canons in action. We travelled to Cumberland basin for this.

Pyronauts deck

water canons in action. the boat was extensively used in WW2

water spouts in the sky

proper dragon racing in action

Monday 19th June and we stayed at the boat trying to keep it and us cool, and I caught up with this Bristol trip blog (or many blogs as it is turning out). I did some washing as still have electric on the meter and water nearby. In the afternoon though we had a drunken youth climb up onto the roof of the boat and jump off into the water. Not to be recommended as the depth is only 1.5m, so he sustained a rather nasty laceration to his chest, and a telling off from us. The group did apologise but I sent an e mail to the harbour masters office to make them aware. This has been the first incident since we have been moored here.

Yesterday 20th June we headed off again early to visit the Bristol Museum and art Gallery, The Georgian House and The Red Lodge (all free but donation appreciated). We have visited most of the attractions we wanted to, but we are leaving visiting Clifton and the bridge as it is way too hot for man and beast.

Pliosaur exhibition in the museum

early flight

inside the Georgian house. Built and owned by John Pinney who earned his fortune from his sugar plantations in the Caribbean which sadly used slaves

dining room

housekeepers room

cold bath. Apparently John Pinney took a cold bath everyday



drawing room

bedroom. John Pinney settled in Bristol when he retired amassing a vast fortune which in today’s money would have equated to £17 million

the Red Lodge. Built in the 16th century, and has been a house and a school in it’s history

room in the red lodge

Elizabethan oak panelling and still intact as it would have been originally. The ceiling plasterwork is also of this period. The oldest 16th century survivor in Bristol

A well that was discovered in the house in 2010 after renovators dug up the flooring

garden laid in the elizabethan style

Back to the boat by 2pm and college students again collecting on the harbour pontoons in this nice weather. No trouble this time but we did see the lad who cut his chest; he needed 7 stitches, so maybe he may think twice about doing a stunt like that again. The harbour master replied to my e mail about the situation. Another group of students left their rubbish strewn along the pontoon, and a resident in the apartments above had been watching them and came down with a bag to clear it up, so we helped fish out the bottles etc from the harbour. Mostly though people take their rubbish away with them.

Today another day of searing 30 degree plus heat, so as we had decided not to venture out to Clifton I have done washing and more blogging, so now am totally up to date with our adventures. Tomorrow we will go into town to sort out the phone contract (hopefully), and we will leave on Friday heading back to Bath as we have 2 friends from Cornwall coming at the weekend. First though tonight we are going onboard the Matthew for a fish and chip cruise along with our friends Mary and Stephen.

Bristol-next installment

Well the weather is certainly warming up and the wind has dropped. Thursday 15th June we walked up to Brandon Park with Izzy. It was quite a climb up but worth it for the views. The Cabot tower is on the top of the hill and it gives far reaching views over Bristol. Unfortunately we didn’t go up as after starting to climb the winding staircase, Charlie felt dizzy so descended. I only had to look up at the tower to get dizzy so didn’t even attempt to go up; but we still got some great views.

Cabot tower

views from the base of the tower

We then strolled back down the hill to the cathedral and had a peek inside. Another spectacular building, though Charlie didn’t take any internal photo’s.

Bristol cathedral. Abbey founded 1140

College green in the foreground

Central library with it’s medieval arch

Plan for Friday is a trip to the science centre. More Bristol blogs to follow.

Brunel’s SS Great Britain in photo’s

We spent around 3hrs visiting the ship and the photographer did a good job of getting the atmosphere. As you venture round there are smells in the different area’s of the ship to add to the ambience of the experience. Also the engine drones along. Imagine 10 weeks on board this ship; obviously 1st class gave better food, but accomodation was cramped for everyone. In steerage (where us minions would have been), it was share and share alike, and if you didn’t get on with your neighbour, it would be  long journey! The cost for this experience was 15 guineas per person in steerage.

Stern of the ship

Elaborate decoration 

The iron hull that is kept at a constant humidity to preserve it (the same as the Arizona desert apparently). You can walk around the hull and above is a glass sheet covered in water to give the illusion the ship is floating

propeller and rudder. Revolutionary in it’s time; cutting down the time it took to do these long voyages

model of the ship under sail

top deck or weather deck. 1st class passengers had their own area toward the stern. Minions not to stand over the white line!!

1st class accommodation

Captains quarters

no explanation needed!

Galley. All food had to be taken along on the voyage; even livestock for milk and eggs. 1st class ate 3 course meals whilst steerage passengers gruel and ship’s biscuits.

chef cooking

Steerage accomodation; where we would have been.

The ticket allows 12mths free admission, so we decided to take another visit later.

1843 ship was launched as a cruise ship to New York ; 1845 arrived in New York from Liverpool in 14 days and 21 hours; 1846 ship runs aground in Dundrum Bay, NI, and it’s a year before she is rescued; 1850 Great  Western Steam Ship Co sells the ship to Gibbs,Bright and co; 1852 ship carries hundreds of emigrants from Liverpool to Melbourne (gold rush); 1855 carries troops to the Crimean War; 1857 modifications made to the propeller to make it easier under sail; 1861 England’s first cricket team travel to Melbourne on the ship; 1875 she makes her last voyage as a passenger ship; 1881 Anthony Gibbs and partners buy the ship and remove her engines and convert her entirely to sail (windjammer), making 3 voyages to San Francisco; 1914 her coal stores supply British warships in WW1; 1933 ship’s working life ends; 1937 ship scuttled in Sparrow Cove, Falkland Isles; 1939 British servicemen raise funds for Spitfires by auctioning souvenirs they make from ship’s timbers. Iron plates are used to repair HMS Exeter.; 1969 salvage planning starts. 1970 ship returns to Bristol; 1998 ship at serious risk from corrosion; 2001 Heritage lottery fund gives 10 million to save the ship; 2005 glass plate is finished and the ship is relaunched on her 162nd birthday


Bristol..Part One.

I’m going to split the blogs into sections as there is so much to see and do, and we have what seems like millions of photo’s.  We started off moored at the Harbour Inlet on visitor moorings there.

Harbour Inlet mooring on a very wobbly floating pontoon.

Charlie decided we may be better off on the other section of visitor moorings at the Arnolfini arts centre. This would be better for the visit of Simon and Nette, as car park was nearby, and also for Sainsbury shopping; so on Thursday 8th June we moved. This area is gated and gives extra security, but the pontoons don’t have water only electric.

Arnolfini mooring

The Arnolfini area is closer to bars and restaurants and reaching the city centre, shops etc. Once moored we decided to go and seek out the Elsan point, find the carpark and order online shopping. The weather has been quite windy, and Thursday was a mixture of rain, wind and sunshine. Friday 9th we walked into the shopping area (after our first Sainsbury delivery), through St Nicholas’ market, the Galleries, Cabot Circus in the area known as Broadmead. Now Charlie doesn’t do shopping but he did manage to get himself a pair of lighter weight walking sandals, so he was happy.

Saturday morning and Simon and Nette arrived early and got parked easily. Off we all went again to the shops, Overcast today so comfortable to walk around. In the evening we booked for the UK’s largest restaurant called ZaZaBazaar; a fusion of all different foods from around the world in a buffet style.

ZaZaBazaar behind Pero’s swingbridge

The restaurant was very busy with hen nights, and it was very reasonably priced (except the drinks which needed a mortgage!), but you are only allowed 1hr and 45mins at your table so gave a whole new meaning to fast food; needless to say the next morning we were all suffering with stomach aches. Altgoigh the moorings are handy to visit everywhere they are noisy with the bars and also the buskers (some of whom can’t sing in tune, and I was tempted to pay them to go away|).

Stag pirates in the V shed

Sunday 11th June and we had our second Sainsbury delivery. I split the shopping into 3 lots as there are steps to negotiate and would be hard with our garden trolley, and as I have a prepaid delivery pass it made more sense. Another windy day we had a walk around the free nature festival that was on over the weekend in Millenium square.

don’t often see a dinosaur at a nature festival!!

Lots of people looking around but again as with all these things very expensive items on sale.

Who are these people?

I cooked a roast dinner and Simon and Nette left late afternoon. It was lovely to see them., and also they had brought the post from our tiny house with them, along with a few things I ordered as they were coming. Have to make the most of these journey’s when people visit. Monday and another windy day and third Sainsbury delivery. Also a trip into town as I had a cheque to pay in to the bank, and I needed to check out my phone contract as it is soon up for renewal.

waterfall water feature at the end of the Centre Promenade

One of the many ferry boats that swiftly go up and down the harbour (causing waves)

padlocks on Pero’s bridge (saw same in Birmingham)

Dragon boats practising

William of Orange in Queen’s square

The Matthew replica of John Cabots ship that navigated from Bristol to Newfoundland in 1497. This one was built between 1996-97 and re-enacted the original journey to mark the 500th anniversary of the voyage

Tuesday 13th June and we were up early to move to the Harbour Inlet again. We were wanting an end pontoon and I had walked Izzy to check it was free and it was. Stopping at the Elsan point on the way before the ferries started. Once moored we hooked up to the electric point (that still had £7.27 on the meter), and filled with water and I started the washing. The wind has dropped today and the sun is shining. We walked back with Izzy in the evening to Arnolfini as our friends Mary and Stephen had arrived, and we popped along to say hello.

Wednesday 14th June hot and sunny, so we caught the ferry to SS Great Britain. Rescued in 1970 from her watery grave in the Falklands and brought back to Bristol where she was made. She was Brunel’s creation, made of iron and when she was built in 1843 was the largest ship ever built. With her steam powered propeller, and 1,000hp engine she was the most powerful afloat. She has been sympathetically restored and is well worth a visit. Pictures will be posted in the next section as there are many.

you can pay to climb the rigging!!

Harbour inlet mooring

looking toward the luxury flats

A very coastal view

We also walked further along the harbour to Underfall Yard and Cumberland basin. Next instalment to follow.

Change of plan

On Tuesday 6th June we moved to Bathampton on another 48hr mooring. We have been marking them all in our book for the way back. Gales were forecast and as it had been very windy already we decided to stay put. We also lit the fire again! We had a walk to the outskirts of Bath and were lucky that it rained very heavily when we got back to the boat and we had escaped it.

View looking over Bath

We were keeping an watch on the weather forecast, and as Wednesday was looking better we thought we would make the move to Bristol ( a slight change of plan) and leave visiting Bath for the way back.

We set off from Bathampton at 07.10am as we knew we were going to have a long day unless we could get moored on the river. We were  half way down  the first lock when another boat arrived behind us, so we agreed we would wait for them at the second lock.

travelling through Bath

another Bath view

Now travelling with another boat through the locks, and they were hoping to get to Bristol; so we decided we would too as it would make travelling easier, and the weather was reasonably calm. 6 locks in the Bath flight, with one being 19′ 6″ deep (the culmination of 2 locks being combined when the canal was restored in 1976); the gates on this lock were very heavy and luckily a volunteer arrived to help us open them.

Bath deep lock

Once through the locks we were on the River Avon.

River Avon views

view over the countryside

view from one of the locks on the Avon

old lifeboat, now someones home

Izzy sleeping on the journey

We arrived at Hanham lock (the last under CRT durisdiction), and we had to phone ahead to Netham lock and ask if it was safe to proceed. The little section between these locks is tidal, but as there had been little rain over the past few months we knew it shouldn’t be a problem; however the lock keeper advised us to wait half an hour as they had emptied Cumberland basin (entrance to the harbour from the sea), and were in the process of refilling it so the current would be strong. So we heeded his warning and waited in the lock. Off again after the wait and we arrived at Netham lock and the gates were open. We pulled over and went to pay the lock keeper for our stay. We had already decided to stay the full length of time (15 days), and have a holiday! The lock keeper was very helpful and actually extended our stay to 17 days; this would give us plenty of time for rest and relaxation, as so much to see, and we have never visited Bristol before. We eventually arrived at our mooring at approx., 17.30, which meant we had travelled 20 miles in 9 and a half hours and done 13 locks.

I will leave reporting on our travels through Bristol for the next blog.

Good signal?

Or so I thought. It has taken me a couple of hours to individually load the pictures for this blog! Anyway here’s to the next bit of our adventure. Bank Holiday Monday we stayed below Seend locks. As it had turned warmer we sorted some summery clothes from storage, and put away some wintery ones. We also changed the duvet to a lighter one. It was a typical BH in that it rained most of the day, so I made some gingerbread and a loaf. We still had the company of Mary and Stephen. Tuesday we decided to move to Hilperton getting caught in rain showers along the way. Moorings were still lacking, but we ended up by an industrial estate with a Lidl at the end of it. So I walked to it with the trolley to purchase some of our favourite wine and fruit and veg; oh and something for our anniversary dinner on Wednesday. We hadn’t taken any pictures along this stretch due to the rain. Later in the day we were joined again by Mary and Stephen.

Wednesday 31st May and it’s our 42nd Anniversary! We walked with Izzy to Lidl again and purchased some fresh croissants for breakfast. It turned hot and sunny again, and we enjoyed an anniversary meal of ribs (from Lidl), corn cobs and various salads, all washed down with a bottle of our favourite wine.

Thursday 1st June and it was lovely and sunny, so we moved quite early to Bradford on Avon. It is described as a mini Bath, and above the lock it was certainly very busy with walkers, cyclists and families (half term). There is also a hire boat base here, and many were venturing out.

Filling up with water at Bradford on Avon

We went through the lock with a day boat helping guide them with lock procedure. After exiting the lock we found a good mooring at the end of a line of concrete for 48hrs. There were volunteers rebuilding a stone wall near the old Tithe barn; they were using a stone cutter and suggested we may get covered in dust but as it turned out they didn’t use it much and left early afternoon for the weekend. We had a walk around Bradford Farm Park with Izzy, looking for the Saxon church but found out we were going in the wrong direction, so we decided to leave that for Friday. Later in the day Mary and Stephen moored behind us again. We are moored near the Tithe barn which is a very impressive building.

Great Tithe barn. Built in the 14th century by the Abbess of Shaftesbury. It is 168ft long which is broken by 2 porches. The barn is part of the medieval Barton farm which was part of the monastic estate of Shaftsbury Abbey

the beamed roof of the Tithe barn

Charlie drooled over this Austen Healey. We had a green one in our younger pre children days.

Friday 2nd June and we had our promised walk into Bradford on Avon and what a lovely place it is. A selection of the photo’s taken shows how olde worlde it is.

hillside view of Bradford

Holy Trinity church reflection. A 12th century church with additions over the next 3 centuries. Many of the names on the memorials relate to the woollen industry that made Bradford famous. It is now undergoing a restoration after a valuable painting was found within it; permission was granted for the church to sell the painting so it is that money that is funding the restoration. It certainly is a stunning restoration.

Saxon church of St Lawrence founded in AD705; the tiny church was enlarged in the 10th century and since then has survived unchanged. During it’s life it has been a school, a cottage and a slaughterhouse. The true origins of the building were only discovered in the 19th century, and it remains one of the best surviving Saxon churches in England.

the altar in the Saxon church

street view

and another street view

Town bridge. A nine arched bridge that is unusual for having a chapel in the middle (one of only 4 still surviving in Britain). Parts of the bridge including the chapel are medieval, but much dates from the 17th century rebuilding. During the 17-18th centuries the chapel fell out of use and was turned into a small prison serving the town as a lock up.

the chapel on the bridge

Abbey Mill (now retirement flats)

history of Abbey Mill

Heron fishing on the Avon

As we were walking around the town I was on the lookout for a hairdressers as my hair was in desperate need of a trim. Charlie keeps threatening me with the clippers! Anyway I went into a hairdressers to be told they didn’t do dry cuts and that it would cost either £30-40 depending on the stylist. I quickly walked out as I only wanted a haircut not a new wig! I spyed a sign for a barbers; asking the barber if he cut women’s hair he at first said no; then asked me what I wanted done. He then said he could do it there and then so Charlie waited outside with Izzy, and I had my hair trimmed by a barber. It was a first for both of us. I was really pleased with it as it is now nice and short again and should last a few weeks Cost £9.50 (that’s better on the old purse). We had a walk later in the afternoon to Sainsbury’s to have a look around. We met up with the couple on Hotel Boat The Billet. They had picked up some guests at Bath and were heading back. At one point we were following them.

Saturday 3rd June and we moved off early heading for Avoncliff. We said a temporary goodbye to Mary and Stephen as they didn’t want to get to Bristol too soon.

leaving Bradford

aqueduct at Avoncliff

We wanted to stop here as there is a quaint railway station here, but we were having the usual trouble of getting the boat near to the side. So we abandoned that plan (try on the way back), and carried on to Dundas aqueduct. Both of these areas have sharp turns to negotiate, but we managed without mishap. Both Aqueducts were designed by John Rennie, the architect of the K&A., and both built in 1804. We managed to moor on 48hr moorings just before Dundas aqueduct.

looking over the aqueduct to the sanitary station

looking up at the Dundas aqueduct from the River Avon

aqueduct goes over the River Avon and the railway line

We walked along the restored section of the Somerset Coal canal to Brassknocker Basin as we had been told the cafe sold nice ice cream. The coal canal was built in 1805 as a more efficient way to transport coal from the Somerset coalfields to Bath, Bristol and the rest of England. It carried a large tonnage of coal throughout the 19th century and it served 30 collieries more directly than the railway. There were many difficulties to overcome though due to steep gradients along the route. The canal was officially abandoned in 1904, as competition from the railway was reducing the traffic. A small section has been restored and is now private moorings and a day boat/canoe hire base with restaurant. We had our ice cream which was lovely but very expensive for one scoop! Must stock up in Lidl on the way back!

entrance to the Somerset Coal canal

Sunday 4th June was spent washing, polishing and cleaning the boat; then the rain came. I have now put the heavy duvet back on the bed as the evenings have turned chilly again. Half term is now over so things should quieten again hopefully. Today (Monday 5th June) we woke up to heavy rain but we needed to move off the 48hr mooring, so Charlie decided to leave the stern hood up while we travelled about a mile to Claverton. On another good mooring here as there is another pumping station nearby which we were going to visit, but rain has stopped play. We are now approx 4 miles from Bath and hope to get moored somewhere there over the next couple of days, then journey to Bristol for Friday.

And on to Caen Hill

Friday 19th May and we moved to Crofton. First though we had to reverse back to the winding hole to turn around. This I managed with Charlie on the bow with the long pole. I was very pleased with myself just taking it slowly, and occasionally straightening the bow with forward thrust. Past a line of trip boats as well. We don’t have the luxury of a bow thruster, but we managed and turned in the winding hole to face the right way. After negotiating  4 locks we arrived at Crofton. We said goodbye to Mary and Stephen who we had been sharing locks with, as they wanted to move further along, On Saturday we took Izzy for a walk to Wilton Windmill. It is only open to the public on a Sunday afternoon, but it was a pleasant walk anyway despite the showers.

Wilton Windmill

another view

Built in 1812 it was still in operation today. They mill flour here on certain days which is for sale when open. We walked back to the boat and had coffee and cake before setting off for Crofton pumphouse.

trains very close by; pumphouse on the other side of the tracks

Crofton pumphouse

Under a tunnel that takes you to the site, and there is an honesty box to pay the admission fee. Key dates of this building are

1809 First engine working; 1810 K&A canal completed; 1812 second engine working; 1841 London/Bristol GWR opened; 1846 first engine replaced by Sims combined; 1852 GWR took over K&A canal; 1896-1905 Lancashire boilers installed; 1959 Engines stopped as chimney shortened; 1968 K&A trust buys Crofton; 1970-71 both engines restored and back in steam; 1997 chimney rebuilt.

this engine is the oldest working steam operated beam engine in the world that is still in it’s original location. No 1 engine, single acting, condensing, 1.08m bore, 2.1m stroke, power 29kw, pumps 9,730litres of water per minute

the boiler; coal is burnt behind the 2 black doors to produce steam which drives the engines. made in 1899 and acquired from Imperial Tobacco installed in 1986. Contains 18,000litres of water, 1.4bar working pressure, 2.8sq m grate area taking 1 and a quarter tonnes of coal a day.

steam valves. there are 3 for each engine

the beams are the highest parts of the engines and connect the steam driving cylinders to the pumps.

No 2 engine. Cost £1637 single acting, condensing, 1.07m bore, 2.3m stroke, power 31kw, pumps 10,700litres of water per minute

Both of these engines have international significance for industrial archaeology

They were built on this site to help draw water from a fresh water source (Wilton water), to the summit level of the canal, as it had no natural water supply. The water is raised 12m before being discharged to the canal leat and thence to the canal summit. This is all done by electric pumps today.

The sort of big beasty boat often seen on this canal

Sunday 21st May. A lovely sunny day and we headed off early through 8 locks and 1 tunnel on our own and stopped at Pewsey, meeting up again with Mary and Stephen.

Pickled Hill; a relic of Celtic and medieval cultivation

The Vale of the White Horse

We had one night in Pewsey. I walked into the town on Monday morning with Stephen and Izzy, but I didn’t have the camera so will have to stop on the way back. This town is in the ancient kingdom of Mercia and a statue of King Alfred is in the centre of the town. I bought a “traditional pasty” in the bakery as someone said they were better than Cornish! I beg to differ; they were not a patch on a proper pasty. We had a lovely cruise to Honeystreet as another sunny day., and no locks!! We moored on 24hr visitor moorings outside a pub that sadly looked as if it were closed. Tuesday 23rd May and we moved along to Horton outside the  Bridge Inn pub on another 24hr visitor mooring. We had a shower then went to the pub and had a lovely meal and a pint.

lovely meal in this pub and very friendly staff

Mary and Stephen had gone on ahead to Devizes in readiness for the Caen Hill flight of locks; we met up with them again at the top of the lock flight at 8am. We will have to stop here on the way back and check out Devizes.

Caen Hill locks

The locks are split into 3 groups. 6 taking you out of Devizes; 16 in the Caen Hill section; then 7 taking you to Foxhangers. The weather on Wednesday started off misty and cold but soon turned very hot and sunny; a bit too hot for doing all these locks, but we had a good system going with our little team, and got through in 4 hours (with plenty coffee, juice and cake). We were going to stop at Foxhangers Wharf but the view wasn’t very tempting so we carried on a bit further to Sells Green to recover. 29 locks in just 2 and a quarter miles.

at Sells Green. This little opening in the canal was made to allow water to pass naturally from canal; before it was built the adjoining field was constantly flooded, so BW purchased the land to build this area

There were plenty of fish here and wildlife.

Charlie spotted a fox in a nearby field

cattle grazing in the countryside

I made cake and bread on Thursday, and it was another very hot and sunny day. Friday 26th May and we set off again for Seend Cleeve, stopping in the pound between the last 2 locks. Decided to have a BBQ with Mary and Stephen on Saturday as it was so nice. Managed to muster up a variety of food to cook, and between us had salady bits. Overnight though we had a thunderstorm and torrential rain, which cooled things down remarkably on Saturday, and brought with it a fairly strong wind. Undeterred we still had our BBQ but had to cook it under cover as it was so windy. Not the first time we have had to do that because of the British weather.

Today I woke early. A much quieter day weatherwise and sunny again, but the water in the lock pound was very low and threatening to put us on the bottom, so I woke everyone up and we were moved through the lock by 9.30am. Bank Holiday tomorrow so staying put as many hire boats too-ing and fro-ing. Next stop may be Hilperton; we have decided to go to Bristol after researching it. My son has a long week-end coming up on the 9th June, so he and his partner will travel from Cornwall to visit us in the floating harbour for the weekend. We will travel more slowly to ensure we don’t arrive there too early as it is quite expensive to moor in the harbour, but is good for exploring Bristol. But we have Bath to checkout first.

Finally some cute goslings


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