Worcester

As planned we were up early on Friday ready for the lock keeper opening the Avon lock at 8am. We were the first boat through. There is a short stretch to negotiate then a right turn onto the Severn river.

leaving the Avon

leaving the Avon

DSC02527

DSC02529

We were now on the Severn river and heading for Worcester. We had planned that the trip would take approx 6hrs. The weather was another glorious day, we have been so lucky this summer. The photos that follow are of our Severn trip.

Buzzard looking for prey

Buzzard looking for prey

Cormorants

Cormorants

M50

M50

Aggregate wharf still in use. Luckily we didn't see any of their boats moving

Aggregate wharf still in use. Luckily we didn’t see any of their boats moving

DSC02538

Upton on Severn

Upton on Severn

There's a different type of boat on the river!

There’s a different type of boat on the river! Lots of large gin palaces as well

DSC02541

DSC02543

DSC02544

After a while the river was becoming a bit boring (like a motorway with not much of a different view).DSC02546

As we headed for the Diglis river lock I phoned ahead to the lock keeper. He had seen us coming, and we had another narrowboat behind us at this point. He advised we enter the right hand lock, and keep to the right. Sounds simple enough, except as we entered the lock the flow of water through the leaking top gates pushed the bow towards the right, and I couldn’t reach the chain to get the bow rope wrapped round quick enough. Charlie had the stern secure, but I was floundering. The lock keeper advised we get over to the right, which we did and the second boat entered alongside. I wish we had got photos of this bit of the adventure, as the lock is one of the deepest in the country. It certainly scared me. The gates are automated, and once the water started to flow the lady on the boat alongside couldn’t hold her bow and it swung towards us. No harm done, and I was just glad when we reached the top and escaped. The next locks would take us back onto the Worcester and Birmingham canal, but the other end to where we had started after leaving Birmingham. The Diglis canal locks are double and there are two of them, luckily there were lock keepers and a hire boat had many crew so I stayed on board. The locks take the boats up to the canal basin, where there are boatyards and a marina. The lock keeper advised us to moor past  the bridge because there had been trouble with kids shooting the windows of narrowboats with air rifles. This made us feel quite uncomfortable I must say, but we needed to stop as we had travelled long enough; the journey having taken the 6 hours we had estimated. Saturday we moved along the canal through two more locks, and moored nearer to the area that would take us into the city centre. We wanted to take a peak and look around the cathedral.

Worcester cathedral

Worcester cathedral

Architecturally it has been described as one of England’s most interesting. The first cathedral was founded in 680. St Oswald then built another cathedral in 983, and established a monastery attached to it. St Wulfstan began the present building in 1084, replacing the earlier cathedrals.DSC02554

During Anglo Saxon times, Worcester was one of the most important monastic cathedrals in the country. It was e centre of great learning which continued into the middle ages. Worcester’s Benedictine monks went to university and studied a range of subjects such as theology, medicine, law and astronomy. Some of the medieval textbooks survive in the cathedral library today.DSC02557

The monastery continued until 1540 when (you guessed it), Henry VIII dissolved it. Some of the monks becoming the first dean and chapter.DSC02558

The cathedral was badly damaged in the Civil Wars, and as a result major rebuilding was required after the Restoration of Charles II.DSC02559

From the late 17th and 19th centuries there were campaigns to restore parts of the cathedral, but the Victorians from 1854-75 carried out the largest of these.DSC02550

Sir Edward Elgar performed in the cathedral many times at the Three Choirs Festival concerts. The cathedrals attractions include King John’s tomb, Prince Arthur’s Chantry, an early 12th century chapter house, medieval cloisters and Victorian stained glass. There was a charge for taking internal photo’s which is why we have none. There has also been major restoration work from 1988-2012. It was a lovely cathedral, and well worth a visit. We had a walk around the shopping area afterwards.

River Severn from the cathedral gardens

River Severn from the cathedral gardens

There are many museums and places of interest, but we have declined them on this visit.

The commandery. Now a museum, but started in the 10th century as a hospital.From the 13th century the masters of the hospital were called commanders, hence it's name. The present timbered structure dates from the reign of Henry VII in the 15th century, and served as Charles II's headquarters before the battle of Worcester in 1651.

The commandery. Now a museum, but started in the 10th century as a hospital.From the 13th century the masters of the hospital were called commanders, hence it’s name. The present timbered structure dates from the reign of Henry VII in the 15th century, and served as Charles II’s headquarters before the battle of Worcester in 1651.

On cooking dinner on Saturday afternoon our gas bottle ran out. We carry 2, but both were now empty. We hadn’t bought gas since the last bottle had too high a neck and didn’t sit in the gas bottle locker properly. I knew it was going to run out soon, but hoped it would have lasted until we got to Droitwich Spa marina. Luckily we were moored about 10 minutes away from Worcester marina, so after a phonecall to check they had gas, we set off with our trusty trolley to get a new bottle. On the way up the towpath we met a boat called The Bath Tub, with Simon and Karen, whom we had met on the BCNS Explorer cruise back in June. We had a quick chat as we needed to get the gas bottle before the marina shut; and they were going down to the river for the weekend. It transpires they moor at Droitwich Spa marina so we may see them again.

Railway bridge

Railway bridge

Sunday we set off to find a more rural mooring. We were getting bored with the concrete jungle view. The weather started off ok, and Charlie and I took it in turns to do the locks, which makes life a bit easier. All was going well until Tolladine Lock 10, when the heavens opened and we got soaked. Too late for coats and umbrella’s. Now it was time to stop as I was wet through and starting to feel cold and miserable. So we stopped for the night just below Offerton locks.

Monday being bank holiday there was a little bit more boat traffic, mainly with hire boats getting back to base. We went through the 6 locks at Offerton, taking it easy as the pounds inbetween the locks were very low. Sharing the locks again.

DSC02565

 

M5 again

M5 again 

We stopped at Tibberton where there are 2 pubs. We took Izzy for a walk and ended up having a bevvy at the quieter of the 2 pubs, overlooking fields. The weather has calmed again and the hot weather continues. After dinner we spent the afternoon sunning ourselves on the stern deck listening to radio 2 playing the best 40 albums of all time; oh and having a few more bevvy’s!!

DSC02568

Today I took Izzy for a long walk first thing whilst it was still cool.

Misty morning

Misty morning

Awoke to mist so autumn is on it’s way. We will probably move along tomorrow to Dunhampstead, which will see us for a couple of days before the final move to the marina for Saturday. I need to do washing etc before our visitors arrive., but I will wait now till we are hooked up to electric and water. Our good friends from Cornwall, Amanda and David are coming for a couple of nights, and then taking us back to Cornwall on Monday. Today the water level on the canal is causing issues. Rain is desperately needed. We keep going up and down on our mooring, occasionally resting on the bottom. Done some brass cleaning this morning. Too hot to do much else now, though I’m not complaining.

 

 

 

 

Tewkesbury (a day earlier than planned)

We left Pershore on Sunday, the weather having brightened up again, but the wind still fairly strong. At least on the river we can up the speed to help combat it. We were heading for Comberton Quay as a planned overnight stop. When we arrived there were 2 cruisers already moored having a BBQ, so we had to squeeze in where we could. They later moved and we moved back.

Comberton Quay mooring

Comberton Quay mooring

The Bredon hills. Never too far away from this stretch of river.

The Bredon hills. Never too far away from this stretch of river.

The church at Great Comberton

The church at Great Comberton

We had a walk up to the village, although nothing much there except some lovely thatched houses and a church. Oh and a red telephone box being used for used books to borrow, which was a neat idea. We got talking with an elderly lady who happened to be a local councillor and she was telling us about the decline of Evesham. Such a shame. We decided to stay a further night and then moor a bit further along if we could. The weather on Tuesday was again fantastic as we set off and the wind had ceased. The next lock we had to negotiate was Nafford lock. A bit of a dog leg approach, and the photo below shows a boat that obviously wasn’t watching. A bit disconcerting as you turn the corner to the lock.

disaster for someone!

disaster for someone!

Safely negotiated we carried on, and the first mooring we had chosen was already taken. (We found out on our arrival at Tewkesbury that this boat had outstayed it’s welcome on that mooring, and was going to be asked to leave). The second mooring we chose was by Eckington bridge, and there were workboats moored there whilst re-pointing work was being carried out on the bridge. The mooring was very close to a car park, so we decided to carry on. Strensham lock was next where we topped up with water. The Avon book says that moorings were here, but they seem to have been taken over by private moorers, so on we went, deciding that we now had to carry on to Tewkesbury. The Strensham lock was a bit of a nightmare. The bottom right hand gate wouldn’t stay open so I held it open and Charlie picked me up from the lock landing, though this proved difficult to then manouvre out of the lock space. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing (and me reversing into the wall and scraping the lower paintwork gggrrrhh), we got out. We found out yesterday from another boater that there was a pole to wedge the faulty gate, but I hadn’t seen it. Under the M5, and into Tewkesbury. On the way a dragonfly decided to land on my shoe and I managed to get a shot of it.We went past the lock here to find a mooring as we were now a day earlier than planned. We turned and decided to moor against the concrete wall, but on reversing didn’t notice the overhang, and the stern cover and a bit of paintwork got hammered again (more gggrrhh). We asked the lock keeper if we could stay 3 nights (£3 per night), and she agreed as it isn’t busy.

Dragonfly using my shoe as a platform

Dragonfly using my shoe as a platform

under the M5. We have travelled this route many times in the car

under the M5. We have travelled this route many times in the car

motorway sign

motorway sign

Avon lock, which will take us from the Avon to the Severn tomorrow

Avon lock, which will take us from the Avon to the Severn tomorrow

The Mythe bridge Tewkesbury

The Mythe bridge Tewkesbury; boats negotiate through the largest arch

an abandoned flour mill where we are moored

an abandoned flour mill where we are moored

We had a walk in to Tewkesbury on Wednesday to the abbey, along the Severn Ham (a flood plain that is used as common land for livestock grazing). The abbey of St Mary’s looms over this little town, and is well worth a visit. It was originally a Benedictine abbey and was consecrated in 1121. It survived the dissolution of 1540 due to the townspeople buying it from King Henry VIII for the sum of £453 (the cost of the lead and bells). Today the abbey has 13 bells, and is one of only 100 in the world that has so many bells.

Tewkesbury abbey

Tewkesbury abbey

the view from the Severn Hams

the view from the Severn Hams

Tewkesbury is very medieval with it’s tudor buildings and many small alleyways.

one of Tewkesbury's many alleyways

one of Tewkesbury’s many alleyways

DSC02523

DSC02516

Today we had another walk around the town browsing in the many little shops in the town. Tomorrow we will be leaving for Worcester as our two week Avon licence is up; a brief spell on the Severn River, then back onto the Worcester and Birmingham canal. Better remember to slow down then.

Lastly a picture of a dutch barge that went through the lock last evening (my new boat I wish).

It just about fitted in the lock

It just about fitted in the lock

I have enjoyed our two week river cruise and the weather has been fantastic, which has helped. The area does need rain, but I’m glad it didn’t rain much for us. I feel like I’ve been on holiday.

 

Pershore

Saturday brought the wet and windy conditions that were forecast, although the rain was very on and off throughout the day. A narrowboat had difficulty turning around as the wind was just pushing him along. He gave up in the end and moored up. We had our planned trip around Pershore, and enjoyed it much better than Evesham.

Pershore recreation ground mooring

Pershore recreation ground mooring

Looking toward the lock

Looking toward the lock

The rain prevented pictures of the high street and market. Pershore is a busy market down on the edge of the Vale of Evesham. The former abbey is now the parish church of the Holy Cross. Originally built on the site of a wooden building in AD689 by King Oswald. This was replaced in AD983 by Ethelwold, and again by a later Norman building and consecrated in 1239. In 1288 a fire destroyed part of the abbey and much of the town (red brickwork on the outside of the abbey denotes this); much rebuilding took place until the dissolution in 1539. Of the original Norman building the nave and transepts survive.

Pershore abbey

Pershore abbey

DSC02457

Opposite is a smaller church of St Andrews, and is now a community centre. This was built by monks in the 11th century who resented the fact that the abbey land was taken from them.

 

Church of St Andrew

Church of St Andrew

Inside the abbey the ceilings are unique and called “ploughshare”, due to the fact the brickwork within the beams look like medieval ploughs.DSC02459

On the walls are signs of the paintings being whitewashed over, similar to the guild house in Stratford. Most of this has been cleaned off and some of the original work survives.

looking up at the ceiling in the abbey tower

looking up at the ceiling in the abbey tower

We had a walk along the high street (I checked out the charity shops and bought a book). We walked around the busy retail market and I bought some fruit and veg; Pershore plums being a particular delicacy. I also bought a bag for our metal stakes to keep them tidy; it really was a travelling bridle bag, but had 20% off and just the right size. There was also a Pershore plum festival going on with live music and stalls. The fruit and  vegetable market was the first co-operative of it’s kind when it was founded in 1909. The bulk of it now is just outside the town.

This morning we have decided to move. Engine on to get hot water for doing the washing. I had cleared the main bulk of washing last Wednesday, but like to keep ours up to date. Cassettes emptied, and water topped up, so off we go. Planning 2 overnight stops before Tewkesbury.

Our river trip continues

The Frog Inn, Bidford on Avon

The Frog Inn, Bidford on Avon

We partook of a very pleasant 3 course Sunday lunch at the hostelry above. The weather continues to be glorious and we have certainly been very lucky over the past 3 weeks. The Sunday lunch was good value at £16.50, with the portions being ample, and the food well cooked. We had a bottle of red with our meal, then we had another! What the heck it was my birthday. We thought we would take the remainder of our second bottle and sit on the chairs by the boat; but there was a couple already there admiring our boat and the view. We got chatting and it transpired they had a sailing yacht moored in Falmouth marina. Small world. They lived locally to Bidford but went to Cornwall as much as they could. The wife was very interested in narrowboats, but her husband wasn’t so keen; we showed her around Breakaway. Whilst chatting we noticed NBGeorgina coming through the bridge, they were looking for the water point, and there weren’t many moorings available, so we called them over and they breasted up against us for the night, needless to say a few more glasses of red wine were had whilst socialising.

Pub side mooring with nbGeorgina breasted against us

Pub side mooring with nbGeorgina breasted against us. At one point there was a cruiser against them!

We couldn’t move on Monday until Eric and Deb left on Georgina, so it was a later start than usual for us; just as well as both of us were feeling a little fragile. My birthday, so after we left the pub mooring we headed for Harvington lock. The butchers and bakers in Bidford town were closed, but I managed to get some bargain reduced items in the local one stop shop for our BBQ. I have perfected the making of artisan bread, which is very easy, and turns out well, so really didn’t need the bakers anyway.

Offenham lock where we had our birthday BBQ

Harvington lock where we had our birthday BBQ

Looking toward the lock

Looking toward the lock. We helped the hire boat moor.

Our BBQ ended up being a meze, which was nice and not rushed. Whilst we were sitting eating a group of lads appeared at the lock and started diving in and swimming around. Good job the river isn’t busy with boat traffic, and the lock was deep enough for them to dive into. That evening there was a deep red sunset, but we were too low down to see it properly.

Sunset through the tree's

Sunset through the tree’s

I did manage to get a good moon picture though

Always amazing to see the markings on the moon

Always amazing to see the markings on the moon

Tuesday, and next stop Offenham lock and the sanitary station. We decided to moor here. It’s in the midst of a camping site and fishing area, though neither were busy. We had a little explore, and I managed to pick some more blackberries, which are now in the freezer. So far we have had a few blackberry pickings along our route, and a few apple and blackberry crumbles. Slowly I am getting through the washing.

moored at Offenham lock

moored at Offenham lock

Lighthouse memorial

Lighthouse memorial

We had a few bits of leftover BBQ to finish for lunch, and whilst eating this lunch I managed to crack one of my back teeth, a piece broke off, and then major toothache occured. I had to find an emergency dentist, as although I have an appointment with my own dentist in Cornwall, this isn’t until September, and I couldn’t be in pain that long. We were heading for Evesham, so I contacted the Dental Access unit at the hospital, and they could see me if I got there for 9am.

heading for Evesham

heading for Evesham

atmospheric Vale of Evesham

atmospheric Vale of Evesham

This one is for my friend Amanda who will probably know the breed.

This one is for my friend Amanda who will probably know the breed.

We were looking forward to spending some time in Evesham. It always sounds so up market. It is famous for it’s fruit growing and market gardening activities. It grew up around the Abbey church monastery founded in 702, but this was destroyed in 1539 by Henry V111 . The town contains many Tudor timber framed buildings. We moored opposite the Evesham rowing club (they have just had a former member win gold at the Rio olympics).  It was after 11am so I wasn’t going to get to the dentist, and would have to wait till Thursday. A lady walked along and started chatting telling us she felt Evesham had gone downhill in recent years, with many of the big name shops leaving or closing down. We had a brief walk into town to take a look for ourselves.

Workman bridge, Evesham

Workman bridge, Evesham

Evesham Abbey bell tower

Evesham Abbey bell tower

artwork in the park depicting a species of whale; the arch being the size of it's jaw bone

artwork in the park depicting a species of whale; the arch being the size of it’s jaw bone

Tudor building

Tudor building

old alleyway

old alleyway

more tudor buildings

more tudor buildings

spires of All Saints and St Lawrence's churches, with the Abbey bell tower close by

spires of All Saints and St Lawrence’s churches, with the Abbey bell tower close by

DSC02431

Abbey bell tower, all that is left of the Abbey church after Henry V111's dissolution of the monastery's

Abbey bell tower, all that is left of the Abbey church after Henry V111’s dissolution of the monastery’s

We had a pleasant evening sitting on the stern deck watching the rowers practising on the opposite bank.

moored on the Waterside town moorings

moored on the Waterside town moorings

The narrowboat behind us initially was a bit further forward, but for some reason decided to back up right against us, and continued to keep his engine running for well over 3hours. Luckily he pulled away, the noise and fumes were starting to get on our nerves. The boatclub opposite were having a social evening so we had music to go to bed with. That was ok, but after just dozing off to sleep we were wakened by what sounded like a group of men/lads not sure how many, laughing, drinking, belching and playing music (not speaking English) until 2am. Note in book to never moor there again. I was up early to get to the dental clinic, and after only 4 hours sleep wasn’t feeling too chipper., but got to the clinic for 8.40am and was first in the queue. Temporary filling applied, and advised I may need a crown (more expense), anyway toothache has gone and that’s the main thing; I was running out of paracetemol! Charlie had been getting the boat ready to go as we had decided to leave Evesham; we had originally planned to stay 48hrs. Next stop Craycombe turn moorings.

Craycombe turn trust moorings

Craycombe turn trust moorings

Weather still good though it is all set to change for the weekend. The Virgin balloon took flight over us

Virgin balloon

Virgin balloon

and there was a lovely moon

reflective moon

reflective moon

This morning I was a wake early. Rain was forecast and we wanted to get to Pershore before tomorrow as high winds and rain are forecast, and we won’t move if that happens. We were ready to leave by 6.45am, by which time the rain had started. For the first time we travelled with our stern hood up, as the bridges are high; it did keep some of the rain off us. No photo’s taken on the journey as too wet. We did 2 locks, the second we waited for a cruiser to come along and share the lock (a diamond shaped lock at Wyre Piddle). They were very grateful and mentioned that not all boaters were as considerate. We are now on the recreation moorings at Pershore. We had a quick trip into Asda for some top up shopping. The rain has now stopped for today. Tomorrow we have promised ourselves a trip to see Pershore Abbey, the town centre and the market. Hopefully will get some pic’s tomorrow even if it is raining again. Another week left on our licence, and we plan to get to Tewkesbury by Wednesday.

The River Avon

Everything was ready for our trip along the river. I haven’t been looking forward to this part of the journey, as I am not very confident around water, and didn’t know what to expect of a river. Especially as we had seen the Avon at it’s worst in the flooding of a few years ago when we crossed the M5 in a car. Anyway there hasn’t been any rain to speak of so we should be ok.  A few photo’s now of Stratford canal basin.

On the pontoon in the basin

On the pontoon in the basin

Shakespeare's memorial

Shakespeare’s memorial

Statues of various characters surrounding the memorial

Statues of various characters surrounding the memorial

DSC02354DSC02355DSC02357

Despite this area being very affluent there were still people sleeping rough in the gardens. We set off very early Friday morning and the lock onto the Avon was set in our favour. The weather was perfect as the wind had settled down.

looking back into the basin from inside the lock

looking back into the basin from inside the lock

in the wide lock all alone

in the wide lock all alone

getting ready to exit the lock

getting ready to exit the lock

and onto the river

and onto the river

It was approx 7am when we set off onto the river. I needed to start getting on with the washing that had been created by all the visitors. I was allowed to do 2 loads along the way, and we managed to top up with water too. The batteries hadn’t had a good run for a few weeks so this was a good opportunity to do this and get them fully charged.

Passing the RSC theatre

Passing the RSC theatre

beautiful river views

beautiful river views

DSC02371

first lock on the river

first lock on the river

and it's weir

and it’s weir

caravan park alongside the river

caravan park alongside the river

DSC02377

one of the many lovely houses along the riverbank. I'll have this one if we win the premium bonds!

one of the many lovely houses along the riverbank. I’ll have this one if we win the premium bonds!

We travelled for approx 6hours. 2 loads of washing done and the batteries fully charged. Think we may have sussed out our new battery monitor too. We stopped at Barton lock as the sun was very hot and we had had enough for the day. The difference with the river to a canal is that you have to moor where there are allocated moorings and not just where you like, as the land will be private.  There are tall posts with rings at the bottom to tie the ropes to; this would enable the boat to rise with the water should it need to. Saturday we walked into Bidford-on-Avon, another lovely little town full of old buildings, and quite an array of shops for it’s size. I managed to get a second whistling kettle for a bargain price. We booked Sunday Lunch at the Frog Inn, as an early birthday present for me; and arranged to moor outside on a 24hr mooring. Perfect. We can partake of some wine with our meal and we don’t have far to stagger back!

The bank at Bidford on Avon

The bank at Bidford on Avon

The Bull Inn in the high street

The Bull Inn in the high street

Bidford on Avon bridge, Originally built in 1482 by the monks of Alcester.

Bidford on Avon bridge, Originally built in 1482 by the monks of Alcester.

the church

the church

Tudor house

Tudor house

stone cottages

stone cottages 

Today we have arrived at our pub mooring after Charlie set the lock, and I handled the boat. The gates are very heavy and my back is noticing it! Another load of washing done, so hoping for the sun to emerge to get it dry. Sunday lunch at The Frog Inn; can’t think of anything better., and so far our river journey has been good.

More visitors

As previously mentioned our daughter and her family arrived on Friday evening, with her two dogs. Wow a tight fit on our 50′ boat! The weather is still very warm so we were able to use the stern hood like a tent for extra bed space and leave the doors open.

We had moored back at the Premier Inn slot we had before. Handy for shops and a short walk into Stratford town. We went to town on Saturday, and I showed them the sights we had learnt about on the Stratford walk. We went back on Sunday and found a market going on and sand sculpture that the kids participated in, followed by football on the green. An adventure playground proved popular and the paddling pool was just too good to resist despite having no towel or swimmies. Now this is where the adventure begins. We woke at 2am to find the boat listing at a near 45 degree angle, and glasses falling off the worktop and smashing on the floor. Charlie and I managed to get out, and looking at the lock in front found that someone had opened fully both top and bottom paddles, so the long pound we were in was drained of water;not totally but enough to push us onto mud and tip the boat. There was a hire boat in front in a similar position, but being crewed by a bunch of lads I suspect they were asleep due to alcohol. The boats opposite on the linear moorings seemed ok, but we had to act to get us floating upright again. Paddles closed at the lock, then armed with windlass and torch I walked 3/4 of a mile with my daughter to the previous lock to let some water down. Forgot the phone, so we started to walk back to see if what we had done was enough, when we heard someone coming toward us. Pretty scared we shouted out at this person with me brandishing the windlass; it turned out to be Charlie; phew; lucky we didn’t hit him! Back to boat for phone and son in law, then back to lock. Bearing in mind we were all in our PJ’s we were glad no one was looking. 45 mins later the call came to say we were floating again. It was now 4.30am. Cup of tea needed and toast. Family tucked back up in bed again; Charlie and myself got dressed and decided we would move down to the bridge just before Bancroft basin, once it got lighter. 6am we reversed to Valley Wharf to the services, and then down through 4 locks, all but the last had the paddles open. I was told by a dog walker that a CRT operative opened the paddles at 9pm. Strange because they never open them fully or leave them overnight. The other drama on the way was nearly getting stuck in a lock because the gate wouldn’t open enough. Poor paintwork certainly taking a hammering. Once we had moored we walked into the basin and complained to a CRT worker.

Tired and teasy we went to the park and pool with a picnic this time and the correct attire. All slept well that night.

Tuesday back to the park and pool, lunch out of fish n chips, followed by a rather large ice cream!  

   
I only have these 2 photos of the children with the Stratford Knight. I took the kids back to the park at 5pm for an hour and a half, and on our return we all went to a pub about 100 yards away, and the children found more children to play with. We had a late tea last night.

Today the family have gone, and we have moved into the basin. We had a fair bit of tidying and cleaning after having so many people and animals on board. We walked into town and purchased a new whistling kettle, as ours is disintegrating somewhat. A mishmash lunch to use up all the leftovers, and a quiet afternoon. Tomorrow we need to prepare the boat for the river and get life jackets, life ring and anchor all available, oh and purchase our license for the Avon. We have 3 weeks to get from Stratford to Droitwich Spa ready for our next lot of visitors and a journey to Cornwall.

This evening a boat pulled into the basin and we were surprised to see NB Georgina, one of the boats who did the BCNS explorer cruise on June. Good to catch up with them.

Busy weekend with friends

We made it back to Wilmcote on Thursday and moored outside of the 48 hour moorings as we needed to be here to meet our friends. We decided we would have a morning in Mary Arden’s farm on our own to catch up with the things we may have missed when with the children.

Our quiet mooring on the edge of Wilmcote

Our quiet mooring on the edge of Wilmcote

second farm visit; hungry piggies

second farm visit; hungry piggies

doing the washing Tudor style. Apparently they used 2 week old urine to get stains out of the clothes...nice!

doing the washing Tudor style. Apparently they used 2 week old urine to get stains out of the clothes…nice!

baby Barn Owl

baby Barn Owl

Talia the 28 year old Eagle Owl. A close encounter!

Talia the 28 year old Eagle Owl. A close encounter!

The man showing off the Eagle Owl owns all the birds of prey in the farm. He takes them home every evening and brings them back in the morning. He has had this Eagle Owl since she was 10 weeks old

The man showing off the Eagle Owl owns all the birds of prey in the farm. He takes them home every evening and brings them back in the morning. He has had this Eagle Owl since she was 10 weeks old

I mentioned in a previous blog about the post office in this village being a van, and what a good idea it was

and here it is the mobile post office, that comes daily to Wilmcote. Why can't other areas adopt this practice as it is such a good idea and would save money on building rent.

and here it is the mobile post office, that comes daily to Wilmcote. Why can’t other areas adopt this practice as it is such a good idea and would save money on building rent.

Our friends arrived on Friday early afternoon, and we met them at their accommodation and partook of an alcoholic beverage whilst having a catch up, as we hadn’t seen them since March. We had an evening meal there also which was very reasonable. Saturday we took the train to Stratford-upon-Avon and had a gentle walk around the riverside and the canal basin.

Looking over at the canal basin

Looking over at the canal basin

We bought lunch from the Baguette Barge, and joined the Stratford Town Walk at 2pm. This was a very informative tour lasting 2 hours taking in the sights of this market town. Charlie had difficulty in hearing the guide so he was entrusted with the camera.

Busy Stratford street

Busy Stratford street the Tudor building being a christmas shop

Shakespeare's birthplace

Shakespeare’s birthplace

wider view.

wider view.

more Tudor buildings

more Tudor buildings

The oldest pub in Stratford in the middle

The oldest pub in Stratford in the middle

Inside the Guild Hall where Shakespeare would have started his schooling. Note the fresco above the window which was whitewashed over when Henry V111 abolished the catholic faith in order to marry Anne Boleyn. The fresco is now being restored

Inside the Guild Hall where Shakespeare would have started his schooling. Note the fresco above the window which was whitewashed over when Henry V111 abolished the catholic faith in order to marry Anne Boleyn. The fresco is now being restored

The tower of the Guild Hall with the grammar school next to it where Shakespeare would have continued his learning

The tower of the Guild Hall with the grammar school next to it where Shakespeare would have continued his learning

Shakespeare's daughter Susannah lived here with her doctor husband

Shakespeare’s daughter Susannah lived here with her doctor husband

same house wider view

same house wider view

Inside the church where Shakespeare is buried

Inside the church where Shakespeare is buried

After such a long day  I decided to cook the evening meal, as we could all have a drink with it and not worry about driving. The train back was delayed so we caught a cab back to the boat. A few bottles of red wine were polished off which went well with the spaghetti bolognese I cooked.

Sunday we had a drive around the Cotswold’s area. Very rural countryside. We stopped at Bourton on the Water (billed as the Little Venice of the area), and it was very busy with tourists enjoying the sunshine.

To prove we have been there!

To prove we have been there!

The River Windrush. Not very deep as even the ducks were walking on the bottom

The River Windrush. Not very deep as even the ducks were walking on the bottom

All the buildings made of the Cotswold stone and looking pristine. House prices not too bad considering the area. Though we couldn’t afford to buy one.

Side street view

Side street view

We had Sunday Lunch in a pub on the edge of the town and it was less busy. We then drove after lunch to The Cotswold Lavender Farm. The smell of all the lavender fields was quite intoxicating; the only down side was the admission fee which we all felt was a bit steep just to walk around fields of lavender.

one of the many lavender fields

one of the many lavender fields

They make many products there from the lavender and they have many varieties growing from what we could see over the fence.

Swallow nesting in a building at the lavender farm

Swallow nesting in a building at the lavender farm

We then drove back to the boat for another lovely evening of chatting, ploughman’s and more alcohol! Better have a few days rest now methinks. Later this week we will see our daughter and family again albeit briefly, as they are off to Spain (but that’s another story!). We will head back toward Stratford again in the next couple of days, and once the next set of visitors have gone we will be going on to the Avon (so praying for the dry weather to continue for that).