Normal service resumes.

The only problem with leaving the writing of the blog for so long is can I remember exactly what we have done. I am sure I will be corrected if I miss anything out.

Whilst we were awaiting the arrival of Wendy and Dennis on the 16th September, we walked into Droitwich town. When we had been before with Amanda and David we hadn’t quite found all of the shops; but this time we did. Waitrose and Morrison’s, as well as a small shopping square with many famous name shops there. Our first port of call was Boots the chemist, to ask when they would be starting their flu vaccinations, as we wouldn’t be going back to our own GP for a while. The answer from the pharmacist was that she could do them straight away. What service, so we got them done and ticked that job off the list. We did a little bit of fruit and veg shopping, and then made our way back to the marina. Wendy had been in contact and said they had left at midday from their home in Canterbury. They were expecting a 4 hour journey, but the M25 had other plans and it took them 7 hours! Luckily I had prepared dinner in readiness for their arrival with a much needed glass of red wine.

On Saturday the weather was a bit overcast but after getting breakfast and showers etc, we headed off in the car to Spetchley Park and Gardens. It was somewhere a friend of Wendy’s had recommended. Set within 30 acres it is a display of tree’s and plants creating one of the largest private collections of plant varieties. The house isn’t open to the public as it still is a family home to the Berkeley family. DSC02584

DSC02585

The mansion built in 1811 by John Tasker to replace the Tudor house that was burnt down on the eve of the Battle of Worcester in 1651. It has magnificent views of the Malvern and Bredon Hills.

The mansion built in 1811 by John Tasker to replace the Tudor house that was burnt down on the eve of the Battle of Worcester in 1651. It has magnificent views of the Malvern and Bredon Hills.

A cork tree which can grow new bark when the old is taken to make corks.

A cork tree which can grow new bark when the old is taken to make corks.

A rather impressive form of conifer

A rather impressive form of conifer

The Fountain Gardens designed by Rose Berkeley and Ellen Willmott. 36 separate beds surround the central stone fountain

The Fountain Gardens designed by Rose Berkeley and Ellen Willmott. 36 separate beds surround the central stone fountain

Statue of Eve

Statue of Eve

Statue of Adam

Statue of Adam

Not statues at all!

Not statues at all!

Bill or Ben?

Bill or Ben?

The kitchen garden guarded by the imposing bronze Ramsey stag

The kitchen garden guarded by the imposing bronze Ramsey stag

We had a nice lunch in the tea rooms there, and spent a couple of hours looking around the gardens; this was made more interesting by the use of Audio guides, which charted the history of the gardens and house as we walked around.

All Saints church in the grounds of Spetchley. Dates to the 14th century and contains the tombs of the Berkeley family. Now sadly decommissioned

All Saints church in the grounds of Spetchley. Dates to the 14th century and contains the tombs of the Berkeley family. Now sadly decommissioned

Sunday we had booked the Eagle and Sun again for Sunday lunch at 1pm. I walked ahead to book us in as Wendy and Dennis were enjoying chatting with the volunteer lock keepers on the way up. One of them had recommended The Navigation pub as being a good place to eat., and also the Droitwich Salt museum as a place of interest. Another good Sunday lunch was had, but this time we declined pudding as Wendy had brought home made apple pie, bread pudding and carrot cake. We didn’t have room for pudding straight away, and we asked for a doggy bag to bring left over meat home for Izzy (which she has enjoyed over a few days).

some captivating moon photo's taken one evening

some captivating moon photo’s taken Sunday evening

Moon with an oak tree in the marina that was lit up

Moon with an oak tree in the marina that was lit up

We had promised our guests a ride in the boat, but Monday was a day of mizzle, so we went into Droitwich town and looked around the salt museum that was housed in the Heritage and Information centre on the former brine baths site.

Droitwich Heritage and Information centre

Droitwich Heritage and Information centre

It was only a small display but very informative. The salt industry is traced using displays and old photographs , through the roman, saxon and medieval periods, and finally the Victorian era.

Droitwich Spa coat of arms

Droitwich Spa coat of arms

Droitwich brine is the strongest natural salt water known, and contains 30% natural salts. This is 10 times more concentrated than sea water, making it as dense as the Dead Sea.

Mosaic in the town

Mosaic in the town

another mosaic depicting the history of the town

another mosaic depicting the history of the town

commemorative plaque in the pavement

commemorative plaque in the pavement

town view

town view

Tuesday the weather had improved so we were up reasonably early and away by 9.30am, ascending the locks and heading up the Astwood locks to try the Navigation pub lunch at Stoke Bottom lock, Stoke Wharf. 10 locks in total, we arrived at 1.30. The lunch was worth the hard work of getting there with a set 3 course meal with a drink for £10.99. Off again by 4pm to get back to the marina before it became dark; we just made it, pulling into the berth at 7.20pm. A distance of approx 4 miles to the pub! Wendy now knows how to work the locks, and how long it takes to get anywhere. Dennis was the official photographer for the day and we look forward to seeing his photo’s.

Our guests left at midday on Wednesday, and we were once again on our own. The next few days were taken up with painting the rubbing rails on the sides of the boat, and a bit of blacking below the gunwales, and also some minor chips on the handrails. We walked again into Droitwich on Saturday and had a top up Asda delivery of the heavy items.

Today is Monday and after topping up with water, emptying the cassettes, showering in the marina facilities, saying goodbye, we are on our way again on our travels. Still not 100% sure of our destination yet.

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