Trip Reports 1996
7th January 1996
Replaced switch purchased from Sankey for £7.26. Took off all connections filed down to bear metal including the starter motor and alternator. Tried again and off she went batteries seemed well up in power. Left engine running in gear for about 1 hour to top up batteries.
10th March 1996
Flashed up engine all O.K. started after a few seconds, left running in gear for about 30 minutes.
24th March 1996
Brian Perkins and I serviced the engine in readiness for the season. Replaced filters, oil, fuel and air. Changes oil, checked all connections and generally cleaned up. Water pump was leaking the seal had gone I tried to get another gasket but could not so I bought some sealer called "Hyloman" which worked a treat. The whole thing took all day but worth it. Used some spares already here. Total cost £40.00
31st March 1996
Decided to fix pump from shower it has always pumped out very slowly. When I got to it, the pump was blocked, but when cleaned out made little difference. Bought replacement pump from Paul at Sankey, faulty. Sankey to get a new one. Chugged to water point pm and cleaned boat all round, filled water tanks all O.K. cleaned out water and oil from engine room.
Good Friday 5th April 1996
Alison, Vernon, Jak and Daniel came for the night. Went to Sankey for dinner. For the eight of us it cost £44.65. Chugged back about 10pm. Ferry rope down!! The Spencer’s stayed on the boat first time it has slept 4.
Easter Saturday 6th April 1996
Chugged to Sankey for dinner and night.
Easter Sunday 7th April 1996
Woke up early 7am. Weather still dry. Replacement pump not very new looking so decided not to fit it, Paul obtaining yet another pump. Going to Pershore today time now 10.50am listening to the Archers weather getting brighter. Wendy re-doing the fire cement, the previous cement round the chimney went to dust, when finished lit fire and filled the boat with smoke, blocked chimney, now O.K. Arrived Pershore 3pm having left Sankey at 12 noon. Weather now fine, dry and sunny. Fantastic TV picture. Got takeaway Indian and watched TV in banked up fire too much and it got very, very hot overnight.
Bank Holiday Monday 8th April 1996
Overcast, windy and cold. Left Pershore at about 12noon back to Evesham.
Friday 12th/Saturday13th/Sunday 14th
Sankey at various times. No pump.
20th April 1996
Sankey and stayed overnight, still cold but quite sunny.
27th April 1996
Left 7pm to go to the Bridge Inn. Stayed overnight Wendy and I both had T.Bone steaks. Weather fine and warm.
28th April 1996
Fitted "new pump" and it works. Great, problem now is pump to good at sucking and stops because of air getting in the pump, filter needed to restrict the flow. Fine sunny but cool.
2nd May 1996
New man Jeff Dennis started at work last Monday so decided to take 2 days off and go to Stratford. We left at 10.30am weather cold, windy, overcast but dry. At Evesham lock we met another narrow boat, an Anglo Welsh hire boat also going to Stratford-upon-Avon. We attempted to keep up with it but no chance. The wind was blowing hard and the flow of the water was very fast. Making the engine go faster only made the temperature go up and the oil pressure down. We decided to just go slowly. At times the boat was almost standing still but we kept going. Reached Bidford in 3 hours we were now very cold but decided to keep going. All the locks were against us the weather got worse but stayed dry! At 7pm 81/2 hours after leaving we arrived in Stratford-upon-Avon and moored on the Rec. opposite the Theatre. It’s not often that I get fed up on the river but this was one of those times. I was freezing and very glad I could switch off the engine. We dined at the ‘Sol Cantina’ (was the Water Rat) on the Rec. in sight of the boat. We both had steaks and lots of spicy beans and sauces, back to the boat at 10.15 and slept soundly.
3rd May 1996
Woke early lovely sunny day although cold went shopping in Stratford-upon-Avon, Marks and Spencer, British Home Store, Lacey’s, Debenhams and bought 2 pairs of trousers and a pair of boat shoes and a dressing gown for the boat, all for Andrew. Left at 11am. Most of the locks were against us again, some with paddles left up! Very pleasant journey made yesterday worthwhile, slight mishap below, Ludington Lock at a sharp left hand bend, a hire boat from Bidford Boats came zooming round on the wrong side of the river, to avoid it I had to go into the side smacking the boat on a concrete mooring at the same time. We shouted at the offending boat, which stopped and we got the drivers details a John Styles. We continued and when we got to Bidford stopped at the yard to inform what had happened. The other boat had already phoned through so they were expecting us. A slap of blacking to the hull and we continued again "These things happen". At the Bridge Inn Offenham James and Brian met us. They had phoned through to ask for a trip. James bought a round of drinks! Got back to Evesham at 6.30pm moored on Workman Gardens that night fish and chips supper on the boat.
4th May 1996
Andrew walked up to work Wendy stayed with the boat. Cleaning and tidying day and touch up some of the external paintwork. Watched the Rowing Regatta on today and tomorrow. Evening Sankey, stopped overnight, large party of P.V. owners in for a B.B.Q. from Hampton Ferry. We had an early night. Weather sunny and warm.
5th May 1996
Left Sankey and traveled to Pershore, uneventful trip, quite and cold. Arrived 4pmish and the last mooring lucky. Indian takeaway and TV in the evening.
6th May 1996
Bank Holiday Monday, Archers, then back to Sankey for lunch then home approx 5pm
10th May 1996
Grill fitted to stern door (£150) same person from Bidford who made the bow grill.
17th May 1996
New building on mooring to keep covers etc. laid new footings with building on top a bit flimsy but should be OK (120 total cost)
25th May 1996
Sankey weather not good decided not to chug to far.
26th May 1996
Home am. Raining and cold went to Braunston Boat Show. Good show plenty to see. Stopped raining at this point. Met Stan and Judy Voets from USA. They and Linda Anfuso also from USA are over here for the summer. They are both artists. The ‘Bridge’ picture on the boat is by Linda. I first ‘met’ them on the Net Canal Newsgroup, http://www.Blacksheep.org, (now www.canals.com) very interesting to meet them in person.
1st June 1996
Sankey for dinner, quiz night, good fun.
2nd June 1996
Weather warm and sunny, stayed at Sankey listened to the Archers read the papers had a few Pimms at lunchtime then home pm.
7th June 1996
Finished new rubber floor on deck looks very good, slight bubbling this might walk down in time. Total cost £63.86
Boat to Upton-on-Severn - New Roof
8th June 1996
9am Took two cars to Upton leaving one for our return home on Monday. When back in Evesham realised the insurance had run out, after one or two phone calls Wendy returned to Upton, the agents for Haven Knox Johnston to deliver cheque and collect cover note, now OK. Left mooring 11.43am good run through to Pershore very hot 27c. Arrived 3pm and moored on the rec as usual relaxed pm. Indian ppm very good as usual tried putting the cushions from the garden chairs on the bed to help my back.
Not a good night my back still no better overnight, just seems to be that bed. I sleep OK in all other places. I am checking the engine all seems OK. Yesterday it got a bit hotter than normal up 5o or so and the oil pressure dropped a bit (40) but it was very hot, anyway all seems OK. Archers, Haggis on toast for breakfast, left Pershore 12 noon destination Tewkesbury. Weather mixed quite warm and sunny off and on but very windy. As we approached Strensham lock the wind caught us and blew us off the mooring, we had to reverse back, wait for the lock to clear of boats and then go again, this time with success. No other mishaps and we arrived in Tewkesbury at 5pm. We moored up on the ‘Severn ‘ side of the lock, this enabled us to leave earlier than the 9am the lock opens. Dinner in the evening at the Hen & Chickens, Church Street, Tewkesbury (01684 292703) hosted by John & Karen. Wendy had lamb braised and marinated followed by Stilton cheese and I had steak followed by a gooey chocolate thing, all was excellent. Wendy said the Stilton was possibly the best she had ever tasted. Back to the boat via the river and saw "Just the One" our old boat looking very good, she was however, up for sale so we don’t know if the owners had got fed up with boating after a very short time or have gone for a better boat £2,500 the asking price, we sold it to him for £2,000 so he’s being a bit cheeky, anyway nice to see her looking OK.
Off at 8am cloudy and windy. We again went quite fast keeping a close eye on the dials. Arrived after a fairly choppy trip at 10am. The engine was stopping on it’s own as we moored a flick of the control brought her back to life, but the engine did eventually stop on it’s own when we moored up proper. Obviously she didn’t like the speed for the 2 hrs up the Severn. Saw Ian did the change over , chose the colour Oxford Blue and came home arrived 11am
Collect boat from Upton ‘A fantastic job’. The job took longer than planned as the previous roof covering had to be chipped off with a hammer and chisel. Ian tried all sorts of other methods, heat, chemicals, grinder but chipping gave the best finish. The textured finish is very dry sand sprinkled into wet paint. The two vents were also replaced with nice brass ones. Total cost £1048.39 about £50 more that the original quote. Wendy and I are very pleased with the result.
Chugged to Tewkesbury through the lock to moor at the Marina. Arrived 7.30pm, dinner at the Hen & Chickens the meal excellent. The town was very quiet due to the England/West Germany ¼ final of Euro 96 Football. On our way back to the boat we passed a pub that had the match on in it’s final stage, penalty shoot out. I’ve never seen people so devastated and disappointed as when England lost. One man was actually crying.
Left about 10am back to Evesham nice hot sunny day. Only one hiccup the engine stopped and would not start again, faulty connection to starter motor soon fixed, stopped at the water point for 2 hours ish to clean the boat top to bottom. Arrived back at dusk about 9.30pm.
Rosemary staying with us for a few days over from USA. Chugged to Fish & Anchor Pub at Offenham, weather over cast and nippy but dry. A very good day.
8th – 10th July
General maintenance repaint and repair poles and plank.
Chug to Waterside mooring ready for Evesham River Festival. Slept on board with spring mattress from the house much better for my back.
Slept on board same mooring.
All went well during the day I arrived from work 6pm. Many friends came Val & Mike, Jackie & Roger, Richard, Tina, Denise & husband, Martin & Julie, Tony & Lyn, plus many customers and workmates of Wendy. Wendy finished the ‘pig roast’ 8.45pm hot and tired. Bucks Fizz and bee r with the illuminated parade. Evening finished at 2am 14th, a great night.
7am start for Wendy for breakfast cooking fantastic weather all weekend. Prize giving am Sankey for lunch till 4ish. Chugged to the Bridge Inn for ‘just the one’ then home approx 8pm shattered but a great few days away.
Fitted new external TV Ariel to boat at bow. Picture not as expected (£30.00ish)
Finish fitting ariel larger with better reception than the first one. All OK now.
Sankey for night returning tomorrow in readiness for Mary and Brian and the great Llangollen Trip.
20th July ‘aam’ woke up at 6am! Best nights sleep for a long time, Wendy said. 9am cleaning boat, then home.
Evesham - Llangollen - Evesham
This next section is the report I wrote at the time to the newsgroup
Our fantastic 4 week trip is now over and I have split it into 4 sections
I hope you will find it interesting.
You might remember that our friends Mary and Brian are taking Nb One Moore for the first week, then we are swapping over and then back again over a four week period. Here is the report of The first week written by Mary.
Saturday July 20th.
Started 10.15am. Andrew and Wendy had spent the evening at Sankey Marine on the Friday. Left the mooring in Evesham at 12.15pm, arrived 4.15pm in Pershore. Very nice chugg, in good weather. Shopped at Leos in Pershore, experience not to be missed!!. BBQ in evening, on the river bank. Steaks and a few beers all round. James, Andrew and Wendy's son collected them 9.15pm. Bed for us 10.30pm very comfortable, lots of room.
Sunday July 21st
Left in haste as bonfire in next field was causing ash to fall all over the boat
(rather inconsiderate for a Sunday morning). Went to Pershore Lock. Took TV ariel down, opps!. We saw a cruiser in the lock ,first time out, left rope around the bollard as they were leaving. I felt a certain amount of sympathy.
Everyone extremely friendly. Stopped at the Country Park, pleasant sheltered mooring, had breakfast, listend to The Archers (British Radio Soap). Very warm again, river like the M1-Huge 'gin palaces' and inflatables with 10 passengers. Arrived in Tewkesbury at 3.30pm. Walked into town, rather rowdy, decided to go on. Waited 1.1/2 hours to get through the lock, we were the 65th boat that day. No moorings available on the Severn side of the lock so kept on going eventually arriving in Upton On Severn at 7.45pm after a very nice chugg. Tidied up and walked the short distance into town. I had 1/2 pint of ice cold Murphys, bliss. Brain a pint of ice cold bitter. Fell into bed, exhausted.
Monday 22nd July
Good night sleep, still very hot. Walked into town, went into the new resited Tourist Information Centre - we were the 1st customers!, all very pleasant. We like Upton very much, lots of history, the scots were here in the civil war.-Mary is Scottish-(Andrew),people wonderful. Had brunch at Upton Marina, everything spotless. Left Upton at 1.00pm, fond farewell. Going aslong the River Severn is much like boating in France. Not much traffic today. Saw 5 herons in a circle! can only think it was Mum and Dad and 3 babies, first time I have ever seen more than 1 heron. Diglis lock was a treat!. NO, I was'nt frightened I'v been on Indiana Jones and the runaway train. Did we really go through this huge lock in little 'Just the One' - our previous cruiser - useful to have your boat hook handy. Arrived Worcester 4.00pm swans everywhere, beautiful outline of towers and spires. Went to see a friend in hospital but he was tired, so left some sweets for when he wakes up. Staff seem optimistic. Got back to the boat at 6.00pm and departed for the pub. Feel the moorings in Worcester are a bit open, lots of young travells and diddies on the racecourse. Used camera as some lads started to throw mud at us from the bank, worked a treat, they covered their heads with tee shits and showed us their bums!!, then legged it. No damage done but it could have been nasty. Stopped at the Camp Inn, wonderful trees super spot, full of characters, peacocks in the garden, idyllic. This pub would make a great house. Moored on the new jetty, chap who built it said it was unusually quiet, he seemed to think less people were using the river. Thunder storm at 4.00am, made a cup of tea.
Tuesday 23nd July
Bevere Lock at 8.45am very little traffic, lovely lock, so easy. Cooler today, nice breeze. Saw 3 Kingfishers, Grebe, Guillemot. Stourport Basin at 1.00pm. Walked around the town, its in a time warp. Visited the toy factory, had a pint
in the pub by the river then on to Kidderminster, nice chugg, arrived in Kidderminster at 6.10pm. Moored under St. Mary's Church but moved over to Sainsburys on the opposite bank, seemed safer.
Wednesday 24rd July.
Walked into Kidderminster, amazing store, TJ'S I think, bought some sunglasses 20ukp reduced to 3.99, Very good Sainsburys. Chugged to Greenforge Lock decided to go through, use the nice secure moorings, near water. Got to pub by the lock at 8.10pm, stopped serving at 8.00pm!!!, **** starving, went back to boat, not drinking in their pub. Ate breakfast for dinner.
Thursday 25th July
Left at 10.30am. Beautiful morning, very pretty, few locks to Bratch. Took a long time to go through as the lock keeper likes to let 3 boats up/down. We still went on our own, well worth a look round, kept spotless. Wolverhampton outskirts very attractive, some nice houses. Coven is a good stop provisions
Daisy Frozen Food Centre, will also give cash on a card, very helpful. Decided we have to go on if we were to get onto the Shroppie for a decent mooring. Eventually stopped at Brewood (Brood) after a smashing day. The Shroppie is full of surprises, bit narrow in places, lovelly bridges. Got to the pug for dinner and it was serving food! (Bridge Inn), I think I would have cried if they had'nt. Tonight is quiz night, most entertaining and really good fun. Everybody very friendly.
Friday 26th July
Walked around village. Brian stayed in bed, nasty cold. Came back later to get him, bit better now. Went into the church to look at the flowers. Walked again into the village. I could quite easily live here. Had coffee in a super little antiques shop with an open garden. Bought 2 pairs of knife rests. Lots of good places to eat. Sorry to leave. Not so hot today, thank goodness. Got a bit burnt yesterday standing about talking at Bratch. Left at 1.00pm. Stopped at Gnosall (Nozel). Bit of a poor place, walked into the village, not really worth it. Some nice new houses on the canal. Decided to go on to Norbury Junction. Now cold and wet. Arrived at 5.30pm. Ate at the pub. Execellent. Also a useful shop. Great ducks.
Saturday 27th July.
Cleaned boat,she looks very good. Very busy spot. Spent the day doing nothing, what holidays are for. Today is changeover day. We have had an excellent week, no problems, all very comfortable. Booked table for 8.30pm tonight at the pub.
Week 2 to follow- Andrew and Wendy's first week.
Andrew and Wendy's First week.
Saturday 27th July
Arrived at Norbury Junction 7.00pm. Car journey from Evesham - M5/M6 1.1/2 hours (Mary's little white car goes really well at 120mph :-). Debrief, all well no problems, apart from Brains cold. Dinner at the Pub, Junction Inn, excellent value 3 courses plus 2 bottles of wine(red) for 4 38UKP, carvery style, very tasty.
Sunday 28th July
Mary and Brian left to go back to Milton Keynes (in the little white car) at about 8.00am. We messed about, unpacking this and that, as you do and
eventually left at 10.00am.Chugged for 1.1/4 hours to Shebdon and decided to stop for mucky breakfast on the boat. It started to rain. Mid day ish we carried on to Market Drayton through some smashing countryside, most of which was difficult to see because of the rain. Not hard rain, but rain all the same.
We arrived at Market Drayton at 3.00pm. This was to be our original stop for the night but due to the weather and the time of day we decided to carry on to Audlem. 5 easy locks to this point. The next 2 hours were great, counrtyside, canal interest and rain. At 5.00pm we were at the top of Adderley flight. Do we stop? It was now raining cats and dogs, hard, and we were soaking so we caried on and 16 locks later, at 7.00pm we arrived. After changing and hanging up the wet clothes, our boat looked like a laundery, we went to The Bridge Pub for dinner. T-Bone steak for me, rump for Wendy, fabulous!. A few pints of the Irish black stuff later we left and headed for the boat. Did I mention it was raining, well it was. Asleep by 10.30pm exhausted, dreaming of the Woodseaves Cutting and the bridge with the telegraph pole in the middle of it.
Monday 29th July
Got up late! 9.00am, 10 hours in bed much needed. What a difference, hot and sunny. Overnight the level of the water in the pound had dropped somewhat and Nb "One Moore" had a serious list to port, soon corrected by undoing the roaps a bit. Walked along the towpath to the canal shop. Left at 12 noon. Short wait while other boats were going through the 4 locks in this flight and then off we went. The stern gland was leaking a bit more than usual so had to use a little extra grease to stem the flow.This stretch of canal is very pleasant,wide open countryside,lots of old bridges to navigate through and a hell of a lot of black and white cows. At Hack Green Lock we came upon a long haired, long bearded man selling painted pots and pictures. Not much of a salesman as he did'nt look up from his book once the entire time we were going through. Stopped at Nantwich Canal Centre for water and dunny dump. Very good canal shop, ordered a new thermostat for the Lister, Brian thinks the engine is running a little cold (42ukp!!). Chugged on to Barbridge Junction, between bridges 100 and 101 and moored outside the Barbridge Inn. I like a bit of T.V. now and again and have bought a proper roof top ariel, which I attach to the front of the boat on extending poles, Wendy calls it my erection, It stands about 8 foot above the boat and usually gives a first class picture. It did here
and I was able to get my fix of Coronation Street (British soap). To the pub for dinner. The Barbridge Inn is a bit fast food steak and chips, Wendy played hunt the fish in the fishermans pie. A walk 20 yards back to the boat then bed. Dreamed of the incident at bridge 96 in the afternoon. I was about 10 yards from the entrance when a little white plastic cruiser suddenly came from round the corner and under the bridge!. Full astern for me, letting the boat through quite unaware that he had nearly caused an accident. You silly billy, I said, or words to that effect.
Tuesday 30th July
Breakfast and walk to the little shop down the road for a paper. Then off to Hurleston Junction to join the LLangollen Canal. We arrived at 11.15am, guess what? it's raining. A queue of 4 boats in front of us. Moored up and watched the antics of a cruiser trying to get into the second lock up the flight (and not making it). After 50 minutes it was our turn and at 12.35pm we left the top and on we went.It has stopped raining now. The canal was very different to the shroppie, very narrow in places, little bridges but still fairly open.We chugged on to Wrenbury and moored up, having gone through the lift bridge without any problem. Time now 4.30pm. Good T.V. picture!. Drink in the Dusty Miller and in the Cotton Arms. We decide to eat in the latter.The Dusty Miller looked a bit to restauranty for our taste that evening and anyway Wendy fancied the rabbit pie in the Cotton Arms. A good choice as it turned out.
Wednesday 31st July
Up at the crack of 9.00am. Short walk to the canal shop. Nearly bought a picture but the shop did'nt accept credit cards under 20UKP and I was running out of cash, so no sale. Weather quite warm today but overcast. The chugg this morning takes us through some wide canal and some long very straight parts, very nice. We entered Quoisley Lock feeling great. Some swallows were nesting in the bottom gate, we stopped to watch and video them, super. On leaving the lock my heart started to race as I looked at the engine temperature. It had shot up to 95 and steam was coming from below decks. We pulled in quick. On examination one of the hoses had come loose and water was not going into the heat exchanger where it should. Problem soon fixed thank goodness and off we went again. Just up the cut is Willey Moor Lock, which has a pub right by it, well, it would'nt be polite not to sample the beer, so we did. On to Grindley Brook Locks and staircase.What a great experience that was. I gave the BWB man a can of beer for his trouble, he thought it was christmas, what a nice guy. Looked for Tam Lin, no sign. Took on Water, dunny dump and off we went. Seems to be a few more boats around now but nothing like as busy as I was told it would be. This part is really great, interesting bridges, including lift ones, long overgrown parts, very narrow and shallow in places, lovely counrtyside. We moor at brigde 43, 300 yards from the Waggoners Arms. The first pegs I put in come out when a boat goes by, so re peg using 6 stakes, this holds her. Another excellent T.V. picture. I showered and the pump packed up. Not my day this. Will sort it out tomorrow. Pub for dinner, Very good steaks.
Thursday August 1st, 'P' Day
Woke early, for us, left at 8.50am. Still great canal this, narrow, blind, I am
using my horn alot. Past the lovely Meres through the small tunnel to Ellesmere, 12.30pm ish. Wendy walked into town to find the famous Deli, which she did and yes it is worth the effort. Scotch eggs still warm for lunch that day.There is also an expensive ladies shoe shop, chaps beware! I fixed the shower pump. On again at 2.30pm. At Frankton Junction the bridge numbers change from 70 to 2, I don't know why, we stopped at bridge 5 for the night, by the Narrow Boat Pub. Good mooring place this very helpful in the marina. Water dunny dump and overnight all free. The T-Bone steak was good to.
Friday August 2nd
Off at 9.00am and within minutes had run aground but soon off again.Overcast today but dry. Stopped at The Poacher bridge 19 for a quick one,great pub this a shame we can't stop longer. Across Chirk aqueduct and through the tunnel, smashing. The canal seems to get even narrower, through tight tree covered areas and onto the big one, the Pontcysyltile Aqueduct. Now I dont like heights, but this was spectacular.120 foot high and 1000 foot long and just enough room for the boat. The wind was quite strong and I was pushed to the towpath side all the way over. At the end a sharp left hander under a bridge and onto the final stretch to LLangollen. This section is beautiful. Fabulous views,
overhanging trees, stretches for literally one boat only, tight bends, narrow bridges, even a lift bridge. This stretch seems to cram into 4 miles everything
that a canal should have. We arrive at 4.30pm and are lucky enough to get the last mooring at the very end. Another 5 minutes and we would have had to go back quite a long way to be able to moor. We are now under trees with a view across the valley. Aahh. Fancied a curry that night so went to the Syleht Tandoori at the top of the town. Food excellent, service slow but they were very busy. Back to the boat at 11.00pm and noticed the gas has gone. Had to change the bottle, not easy after a few pints and in the dark, who forgot the torch then?! Slept well.
Saturday August 3rd.
Got up late, sore head. Cleaned the boat inside and out. Walked to Horseshoe Falls along the towpath, smashing. When we got to the end past the scruffy hotel, we discovered that we could walk over the bridge and get a steam train back to LLangollen. So we did, after a cup of tea and a cake in the little tea room on the platform. Walk around the town for a couple of hours, There is quite a lot to see and do and happened to bump into Mary and Brian. Arranged
dinner for that evening at the Gallery in LLangollen. An excellent meal, the best fillet steak I have had in a long time.
Sunday August 4th
Home to Evesham in the little white car. Can't wait for next saturday. We have had a fantastic weeks holiday, enjoyed every minute of it.
week 3 to follow.
Mary and Brians, 2nd Week. Written by Mary.
Saturday August 3rd,
Had a nice supper with Wendy and Andrew. Very comfortable B&B. Very busy place LLangollen. Had nightcap at the "Sarah Ponsenby" (lady of leisure)
Sunday August 4th
Hand over day. Andrew and Wendy drive home to Evesham, in the little white car. They drive right round the Horseshoe Pass, stopping at the "Ponderosa" for brunch. If you have time, this is a great stop. The sheep will eat out of your hand. Drive time approx 5 hours. Weather lovely. Smashing breakfast in the B&B. Drove out of town for a few minutes, spectacular views. Brian tidied our goods and I walked into town. Nothing much open till 10 or 11.am. Walked back to boat to collect Brian. Town to boat no more than about 15 minutes. 11.15am went to Dr Who, Model Railway and Narrowboat exhibition all housed under one roof. Walking round Dr Who section, a DALEK, yes DALEK followed me. It was quite scary. We found out later it was voice activated. Very amusing. Brian had photo taken with a CYBERMAN. Did same journey as W&A, up to the falls and train back, lovely trip really enjoyed it. Walked into town, had cup of tea. Town packed. Returned to boat, decided to get water and turn round. That was something else. Our mooring place had gone upon our return, so chugged on to moor at the bottom of the ruins of castle Dinas. I'm going to make supper, reading newspapers, having a quiet peaceful evening. Absolutely perfect. Brian altered the idle speed, up a bit he commented "the boys got a dry boat here, lovely". We watched people climbing the hills, bats skimming the water, fascinating. Bit of telly, early night.
Monday August 5th
Fine day, what a contrast of canals, windy, the assortment of trees is stunning. We met several water-hogs, we couldn't believe that we made it through some of the bridges. Stopped at Aqueduct, met 'Josel'(boat from Cosgrove) going over the Aqueduct Brian's fear of heights were overtaken by his admiration of engineering feats. Breathtaking. Met boat from Fenny Stratford. Stopped for lunch at Crick Bank. Doorstop type baps, shopkeeper very helpful, found a nice LLangollen brass for us. Continued chugging, met quite a few boats. Got to Ellesmere at 7.30pm. Spledid mooring, had drink in pub. Slept well!!
Tuesday August 6th
Not an early start. Walked into town, what a quaint place, market day. Did shops. Weather now darker and gloomy with some thunder and lightning. Had coffee in pub. Break in rain so dash for boat and chugg to dunny dump and on. Left Ellesmere at 2.15pm, noticed new marina being built. Very pleasant now going through the countryside. Meres very scenic and wide variety of trees. Bridge 55 delightful house with pond building in progress.Getting very overcast again now. Canal widens out. Decided to go to Whixall Marina, situated at the end of the Press Branch. 1.5 miles. Charming rural scene, 3 swing bridges, bought Bloo-Loo and changed gas at the amazing marina. Hundreds of boats, very secure, used to be a clay pit. Excellent chandlery, helpful proprietor. Now quite cold and dreary. Made 'The Waggoners' at 6.45pm. "How can such a relaxing holiday be so tiring"?. Brian when to Pub for pint.
Wednesday August 7th
The road traffic alongside the canal was a bit hairy. Mary walked back to the shop in the barn. What a delightful spot. See what Andrew means about soft moorings! Set off at 11.00am. Still overcast but not raining. Got to Grindley, had sandwich whilst waiting to go down. There are certainly a few 'crackers' about today. Saw Hercules plane flying very low. Arrived in Wrenbury at 5.30pm. No boating problems although it has been very windy. One hire boat we saw, got its bow caught in the front lock gates. We ate at Dusty Miller as Cotton Arms full.Fish and chips for Brian with mushy peas, cheese mushroom pasta and garlic bread for me. Very tasty. Lovely evening, watched people having fun with the electric swing bridge.
Thursday August 8th
Up early, well early for us this week. Brian walked into find shop."Just up the road" he was told, turned out to be about 3 mile round trip!. I walked to craft shop, 100 yards. Lots of activity on the bridge. One lady got out of her car and shouted at the boater to hurry up as she had a doctors appointment, he replied "no doubt you suffer from stress", she shut up. Brian bought book, pleasant stop. Left Wrenbury at 10.00am. Overcast but warm, chugged on, met up and went through locks with cruiser, worked really well. At Swanley Lock No1 met man with plants on an old cruiser and he was living on a narrowboat attached to it. We have some plants on the boat and he wanted to know where we got the tubs from. We explained it was'nt our boat ect and we did'nt know for sure. Anyway he came running up and gave me some pansies. I felt a bit sorry for him but he would not take any money. He was certainly different. Some Canadians on a hire boat commented we had a pretty boat. Throughout the week several people have praised her. Down the last four locks to the Shroppie, still with the cruiser, he was terrified. Stopped at Nantwich and picked up the new thermostat, busy boatyard. Took long time to get through lock to Audlem (Bedlum) as there were queues. Finally got into Audlem and moored at lock 13. Went to Shroppie Fly and the Bridge Inn. Back to Shroppie Fly to eat. Brian steak, me chicken, lovely. Super pub done out with narrow boat bar and books everywhere. Have already seen a boat listing, hope ours will be o.k.. Slept soundly.
Friday August 9th
Up at 7.30am, yes 7.30am. Very busy spot. Weather fair. Moved up 2 locks, walked into town for paper. Off for real at 10.00am. We were really lucky, apart from 2 locks, we met boats coming down. At the last lock a boat came in with a great big fluffy rabbit, honest, and I hav'nt had a drink yet today. Did Adderley on our own. Unusual how each cutting has its own character. Moored up in Market Drayton at 2.00pm. Brian changed the engine oil, the old stuff was getting a bit thick and black, Mary walked into town. Its ***** miles!. Home of' gingerbread' so bought some in a nice little wooden box for the boat. Also bought a blouse. The locks at Tyrley took a long time as there was a queue going up but nothing going down. Rolling countryside, very narrow, Brian thought it a bit spooky. Lovely evening, saw moorhen with 4 chicks, lots of cows. Arrived at Bridge 42 at 8.00pm. It's been a long day, bit weary. Eat on board and walk to The Anchor for a pint. I can't think I have ever been anywhere like it. Beer poured out of plastic jugs, no food but "would make you a sandwich", nothing seemed to work, empty optics and no sign of any spirits, no phone. The boaters, campers and general ambience of the place was unique, an unexpected bonus for our last but one night. Had lovely evening.
Saturday August 10th
Rained quite a lot during the night. Walked back to the Anchor, bought sweatshirt. Brian got lift into next village from camper. Bought papers. Off to Norbury Junction at 10.00am, arrived 11.15am. very busy. Cleaned boat, water, dunny dump, etc. Raining. 4.00pm Brian snooze, Mary watched old B&W film on T.V. I keep thinking that there are 1 or 2 more things I should have written down. Overall We were fortunate with the weather, met some nice people, 1 or 2 canal hogs. Boat super, mechanically and comfort, all in all a lovely time. Back to reality tomorrow. sitting waiting for A&W to arrive, doing a bit of polishing. It's the nicest part of the day. Have just watched hen party coming in from a day hire boat with a large doll and inflatable phallic symbol, what a riot. Poor bride dressed up as a diver!. Andrew and Wendy arrive 7.30pm with pouring rain. Into dinner, Junction Inn 8.30pm. All very good as before. Bed 11.30pm ish.
When can we do it all again?
Week 4 The Final week to follow.
Andrew and Wendy's 2nd week. Final Week of trip.
Sunday August 11th
Up at 8.00am. I think I had one over the eight last night, good night though. Said goodbye to Mary and Brian, messsed about till noon then chugged. very pleasant pm, a little cold at times. Nice countryside, canal and views. Arrived Brewood (broode) 4.30pm and moored by bridge 14. Good T.V. picture. Bridge Inn for dinner. Not open when we got there at 6.45pm so went into St.Mary's Catholic church just over the canal. Lovely church. Met Father Raymund Jones in the churchyard when we were looking at some of the gravestones. Nice man, he was just locking up and explained about recent break ins and damage done to the church and grounds. Amazing that people can do such things. Time was now 7.15pm and the pub had opened. Very modern inside and full of 20 somethings nice people though and good service and food. T-Bone for me, sirloin for Wendy, very tasty. Back to boat early bit of T.V. then bed.
Monday August 12th. 'The Glorious 12th'
Up late 9.30am. Notice some water in the bow lockers, nothing thats likely to sink us so will investigate later. Walking into Brewood took about 10 minutes. Super little village. Had coffee and cakes at the Antique Shop down one of the side streets. Opposite was a local butcher W. Maiden and Son, fantastic value, good quality fillet steaks, just over 1 pound for 5.60 UKP. We are eating on board tonight!. There is also a very good deli/cheese/general store called Coopers in the village. Back to the boat and off at 1.00pm. Very hot and sunny today. Super canal chugg, some narrow some wide, lots of very picturesque bridges and cuttings, my video and still cameras were going mad. All was going swimmingly ,then the phone went, problem at work!. Got hold of my partner in a hurry, hope he can sort things out, if not I will have to go back and leave the boat. We carry on but my thoughts are now mixed. We get to the end of shroppie at Autherley Junction. Stop Lock. This is a very narrow and tight junction. I am in the lock waiting to come out and TWO narrowboats are trying to get in under the bridge, hire boats I might add, they seem to think I can get through a 3 foot gap. Well I'm not going anywhere until one of them move out of the way, eventually one does and off we go. The Staffs and Worcs, seems somehow darker, dirtier, perhaps this bit is but it gets much better further on. Stopped for dunny dump and water at a small boatyard 1.25 UKP. Bought Autherley Juntion horse brass. Got to Compton Lock and just below is a boatyard selling diesel 16.9 pence per litre. We filled up! 24.28 UKP. Excellent. We also bought 2 hooks that go into the metal shuttering on the canal side to fix the mooring ropes to and very effective they are too. Time now 5.00pm we moored up just below bridge 59. We have never moored on our own before, that is with no other boats about, apart from an unattended Nb across the cut, I feel a little uneasy but we decide to stay anyway. Walk up to the road to get a decent phone signal, all now seems o.k. at work. Problem sorted until I get back. Will know for sure in the morning, I can now relax again. Lousy T.V. picture. Water in bow lockers seems to be rain water from last week, put newspapers in to soak it up. Wendy cooked the steaks. What a meal, prawns in mellon to start and a nice bottle (or 2) of red wine.
Tuesday August 13th
Rose early and chugging by 8.00am. An early start a good idea just in case I had to leave. Phoned my partner at 9.10am, all sorted, YES!. Weather hot and sunny again. Chugged on to bridge 49 Awbridge and stopped for mucky breakfast at 10.00am. left at 11.00am. The chugg now smashing. On to Bratch Locks, very interesting with its small pounds and almost straicase appearance. On again to Wombourne, some nice canalside houses here. When going through Botterham Staircase another boater advised being very careful in the bottom lock. If the lock is over filled then the boat can catch on the overflow and get stuck. We were careful!. When leaving this lock we ran aground and had to wait until the lock emptied again to float us off, Woman drivers!. On to Swindon,and then to Greenforge Lock. This really is a smashing canal. At this point we should have dumped the dunny, we did'nt and later realised that there is not another one until Stourport. We always carry a spare base, good job too. Wendy stole some newspapers from the rubbish bins for the bow lockers and engine compartment, to soak up the excess water and off we went again. All go this holiday. The canal is lovely through this stretch, parts for one boat only, large wooded areas, tight turns and a small aqueduct at Devils Den. Arrived and moored at Stewponey Lock for the night at 5.30pm. A very good day. Wendy and I decided on route that our next boat would have 2 portapotties, one on each side of a fixed double bed. In the event of having to get up in the night due to a call of nature, one person would not disturb the other. We would call the boat TWOLOOS-NOTREK :-). Bad T.V. picture here, channel 4 only and thats terrible. Went to the Stewpony and Folley Arms for dinner, Very good meal, 2 meals for the price of one i.e. 2 peppered steaks with all the bits and bobs for 8.35 UKP. Service was a bit like Butlins on a bad day. Back to boat about 9.30 and asleep by 10.00pm. Very tired after a busy but very good day.
Wednesday 14th August.
Woke earlyish and left at 9.00am. Slight bang from the boat in front moored to close. In fairness he moored fine until a hire boat went down to fast,and knocked us together. Why do people want to go so fast?.Chugged to Kinver, lovely canal sights once again. Walked into kinver, not much to look at but a good overnoght stop I should think. Good choice of pubs, one on the bridge by the lock, indian food, fish and chips (2) and some good provision shops. Avoid the Barclays Bank Cash Machine, it counts out the money then refuses to hand it over. Reported to the bank staff who were uninterested, eventually it worked o.k. On again at 1.00pm through some great canal bits, interesting tunnels, lovely cuttings, overhanging rocks, very narrow bits, really smashing. At Wolverley Lock we thought we had an engine problem, so stopped to take a look. It was making a strange high pitched clicking noise the temperature went up and the exhaust seemed to be smoking more than usual. Turned out to be some string round the prop. Moored at the top of Lock 16 in Kidderminster underneath the church clock at 5.00pm. Good mooring quite safe, on the opposite side to the towpath and Sainsburys. Good T.V. picture. Had Chinese takaway for dinner that evening. As usual I bought to much but it was very tasty.
Thursady August 15th
Up late, Wendy walked into town. I did some engine maintenance. Wendy got back about 11.00am and we had left over chinese for brunch. It still tasted good. Left mooring at 12.00 noon. Under the roads in Kidderminster and on to lovely countryside once again. Arrived Stourport 2.00pm. Short wait to get through the top lock into the basin. Dunny dump (2) and water. We then sat in a queue for about 30 minutes with 5 boats ahead of us waiting for the narrow locks from the basin to the severn. These are staircase and slow. The boat at the front of the queue had been there for 3 hours!. The large wide locks were closed, saving water. Tempers were starting to get a little hot when BWB, decided to, open the big locks. Saved a small riot I think. We were put in our place with another Nb and we waited our turn. The hire boat a 60 footer and the family on it were all in good form and got chatting as you do. Our wait was 1 hour 50 minutes and then we hit the mighty Severn. Well, mighty to us after the canals. The weather has been very hot and sunny today and this final stretch to the Hamstall Cider House, via Limcom Lock was super and such a contrast. We moored up right by the pub at 6.15pm. Lousy T.V.picture, but great shower on the boat. The pump seems fine now, (fixed in week 2 ). Up the wooden steps to the pub and ordered our meal at 8.00pm sharp. At 9.15pm after I had complained my steak arrived, overcooked and cold. I was to hungry to complain again. Wendy had Lamb and Leek pie, which was, she said, quite tatsy but not of lamb or leek. The worst meal we have had all holiday. Shame, spoilt an otherwise super day.
Friday August 16th
Up early and left at 8.00am. The mist was still on the water befor the morning sun had risen and the scene was wonderful. This wide river with its high banks is great on a hot sunny day. We stopped at Bevere Lock to admire the gardens for 30 minutes or so and then on to Worcester with breakfast on route. I got some funny looks tucking into eggs and bacon etc on deck while Wendy took the helm. Arrive Worcester at 12.45pm and onto Diglis Lock. Saw David Gower on the river bank. Swans everywhere. Short wait for the lockeeper to finish his lunch and then on for 16 miles uninterupted river, great. I sat up front for a couple of hours while Wendy steered, it was so peaceful, watching the world go by, the wildlife and the odd boat or two going the other way. Almost with regret we arrive at Tewkesbury at 5.00pm through the lock onto the Avon River and moor at Tewkesbury Marina. We use the clubhouse showers, included in the 3.50 UKP charge. We also eat in the clubhouse that evening. Mixed grill for me cod and chips for Wendy, excellent value.
Saturday August 17th.
Up very early and left at 7.00am. We had the early morning mist once again. We are now on home river and have seen this stretch many times but never at this time of the day. The day was hot and sunny and we had a super chugg to Pershore. The reason for leaving so early this morning was so that we could get a mooring here. It gets very busy and to moor on the 'rec', the best place, gets full very early on. We are lucky and get in fine, but another 20 minutes and they are full. Pershore has had some bad press recently, vandals etc but we have been here many times and had no problems at all. We get chatting to the people on the boat next to us, hello John and Pat on Silver Anne 11, and spent a lovely afternoon doing nothing, apart from cleaning the brasses. Our son Brian (17) joined us for the evening, his brother dropped him off by car. We are now only 10 minutes from our house by road, 3 hours by river. We had an indian takeaway for dinner from the Shunarga Tandoori in Pershore, Excellent.
Sunday August 18th
Now you see why we missed The Gathering of 96. Thanks to all those who posted reports about it. I do wish we could have made it. Next year I hope. We leave Pershore at 10.20am and its very hot and sunny. Through the famous diamond lock in Wyre Piddle, why did the make it that shape?. Of all the locks we have been through in all those miles and in all those weather conditions, I still find this one the most difficult. Brian did most of the helm work on the journey back so Wendy and I sat and enjoyed. The Avon really is a lovely river. We arrive at Sankey Marine, just outside Evesham at 1.30pm ish and have a few beers and a sandwich with some of the Sankey Mob and then set off for the last few miles home. We arrive at 4.20pm.
A fantastic holiday had by all.
Evesham - Avon River-Severn River-Staffs and Worcs-Shroppie-LLangollen and back.
Total Days Out - 29
Total Hours Chugged - 152
Total Miles - 340
Total Locks - 184
Total Bridges - 604
Total Pubs/Eating Houses visited -36
Fuel Diesel - Approx 30 Gallons
Hostility - One incident, Worcester (week1)
Mechanics - (2) Engine cooling, Shower pump (week 2)
Weather - Mixed
Best Meal - Gallery, LLangollen
Worst Meal - Hamstalls Cider House, River Severn
Best Bits - Tricky one this, there were so many. Trevor to LLangollen by a nose.
Between 18th August and November 2nd, various trips were made to Sankey Marine, Pershore and the Bridge Inn, Offenham. November 2nd were at Sankey for the firework party, which was excellent. Stopped on board.
November 3rd - put boat to bed for winter - drained all pipes and took furniture etc off the boat.