Moving on from Devizes

I had forgotten to mention in my last blog that I had a complete catastrophe with my contact list on my new phone. Silly us thought that the contacts were stored on the phone; but no they are stored on the Icloud thingamy; so when we were trying to sort out the old phone we hadn’t switched off the icloud on it, so the system thought the 2 phones were actually one; therefore when tidying up the old phone and clearing numbers that Charlie didn’t want, it cleared them from mine also. Panic ensued with multiple messages to my son who I could tell was despairing at us old folk tackling with technology. I have managed to get some contacts back, and emailed others, but I am sure I have lost a few forever. In Devizes I bought a small address book as back up.

Anyway after that little disaster we moved from Devizes after our 72hr stay, and headed for Horton and the Bridge Inn.

narrow canal that should be for wide beams

We had a meal there on the way through before so decided to treat ourselves again. We both had burgers and it didn’t disappoint as once again we had a lovely meal. The school holidays have arrived and so the weather has changed as usual to overcast, wet and windy. On Friday 21st July it was forecast for wet and windy weather so we shuffled along from the pub onto a rough patch and stayed there. It rained all afternoon and we noticed we still had a leak in the saloon. Saturday we took some solar lights out of the kitchen window (as that was the only difference), to see if it cured the problem.

back in the Vale of the White Horse

Sunday we moved again and wanted to stop at All Cannings, but it was full of continuous moorers and their power tools, so carried on to Honeystreet. The pub there had been closed the last time we were here, but now it was open. I checked with the landlord if it was ok to have Sainsbury deliver to their carpark and he gave the thumbs up; so I ordered my Sainsbury shop for Monday. A bit later than I usually like but the driver was 20mins early, and he helped us back to the boat with our bags. We heard from Mary and Stephen again; and they decided not to stop at All Cannings either and caught us up. We had drinks on the towpath.

cattle grazing the neolithic hill

Tuesday 25th July and we were up early and set off before Mary and Stephen. We topped up with water so I could keep up with the washing and headed for Pewsey. Although busy we managed to get moored on the end of the visitor moorings, and Mary and Stephen managed to get in behind us. We walked into Pewsey, and I investigated the Co-op for our favourite olives; success they had some so I bought all they had, now safely stored onboard. I had invited Mary and Stephen for supper and we managed to sit outside in the evening to eat. I even managed to send my food parcel to Oz (Shreddies, Doritos and monster munch);very expensive to send so won’t be doing that very often. Will have to wait and see if Oz customs allow it through. Wednesday 26th July it rained all day so stayed inside.

Thursday 27th July and we moved again. Had a short stop at Wooten Rivers (I wanted to stay, but Charlie didn’t); so headed off and got caught in heavy rain. We managed to share the locks into Crofton with a hireboat; but I wasn’t expecting to do 10 locks that day; we also got grounded on the summit pound after a widebeam boat went past as the water levels are very low. The hireboat pulled us off successfully. We got to Crofton, shortly after Mary and Stephen arrived, and we all partook of a few glasses of wine before supper! Another surprise in that an ex patient cruised past us on their hireboat; so had a brief chat with them as they had to get back to the boatyard in Aldermaston. Small world.

Friday 28th July was very wet and windy which also made it very cold. We were joined by Laura and Alison on nbLarge Marge. We had heard all about them from Mary and Stephen (they had bought their boat from them). They breasted against our two boats as no room. We had supper all together on Mary and Stephens boat, and had a lovely evening.

Saturday 29th July and Crofton pumping station was having a steaming weekend so we decided to go before moving again. They were doing a promotional video with Phil Harding from Time Team.

steaming up at the pumping station

Phil Harding not looking too happy

the dynamo’s were working

stoking up the boilers

full steam ahead

Only one of the two beam engines were working, but good to see what they could do; the water it was pumping was going back to help fill the summit pound.

Large Marge managed to get moored in front after a few boats moved; and Izzy was totally fascinated with their parrot; so much so that she didn’t want to move from their window.

2 very different boats in size

Izzy’s new friend

After our pumping station visit we headed off again in the rain through 4 locks to Great Bedwyn. Again very busy so breasted up against Mary and Stephen’s boat for the night. We are getting good at all this.

Today we managed to get moored up properly. Another showery day, so lazy Sunday. We will be off again tomorrow. This is now the part of the canal that will have locks on each journey; and so the hard work begins again. We also think we may have cured the leak so fingers crossed.

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!!