I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Pershore (River Avon) – Tuesday 15th August

Penny and Jim were leaving us today and it was very sad.  Even though it had been a bit chaotic at times we have had a lovely time with them onboard and I am missing them already.  This year I have known Jim for 50 years!  I was 14 when Penny first brought him home and he used to tease me mercilessly – I used to dread him coming!  As I got older I started giving as good as I got and it’s stayed that way ever since!  It’s all banter – I hope!

We waved them off and I had a bit more than a tear in my eye.

We then had to make a decision.  I have been suffering with a pain in my right knee.  It’s been a nagging pain which I have been getting on with but today the pain was searing each time I put my foot down.  I managed to get across to Asda but by the time I got back I had had it and flopped down in the chair with my leg up for the rest of the day – hence another night in Pershore.  I’m not too sure what we are going to do – I’m just hoping that the pain will subside with some rest.

Here is a bit of information on the River Avon as news is lacking today!

Beginning in Northamptonshire, the river flows through or adjoining the counties of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, near the Cotswold Hills area. Notable towns it flows through include Rugby, Stratford-upon-Avon, Evesham, Pershore and Tewkesbury, where it joins the Severn. It has traditionally been divided since 1719 into the Lower Avon, below Evesham, and the Upper Avon, from Evesham to above Stratford-upon-Avon.

Improvements to aid navigation began in 1635, and a series of locks and weirs made it possible to reach Stratford, and to within 4 miles of Warwick. The Upper Avon was tortuous and prone to flooding, and was abandoned as a means of navigation in 1877. The Lower Avon struggled on, and never really closed, although it was only navigable below Pershore by 1945. Restoration of the lower river as a navigable waterway began in 1950, and was completed in 1962. The upper river was a more daunting task, as most of the locks and weirs were no longer extant. Work began in 1965 on the construction of nine new locks and 17 miles of river, using mainly volunteer labour, and was completed in 1974 when it was opened by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

The photos today are from earlier on our visit to the lovely River Avon.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Pershore (River Avon) – Monday 14th August

A bit of a mixed day weatherwise but no heavy rain.

We left Offenham for the final time – I will miss our stays there.  Down through Evesham Lock, under Workman’s Bridge and passed the moorings and the house where my friend, Jenny, used to live.

Chadbury is a sad lock for me as Jenny and her husband, Mike, used to look after it.  Their ashes are scattered here so I said a little prayer for them both.

 I guess this house below Chadbury Lock is an old mill.  I can’t quite decide whether I like it or not.  NB Epiphany went passed in 2013 and Fiona Slee took the second photo.

Fladbury Lock and then Wyre Lock where we saw this interesting boat.  I think they might have a few problems getting under the bridges of the canal system!

Wyre Lock was our last lock with Penny and Jim as they are going home tomorrow   We moored up at Pershore about 2.30pm.  Penny and I walked into town as she wanted to go to Boots.  A very quick whizz round Asda and then back to the boat before the rain came down.  Later Richard and Jim went to get a Chinese take-away which was OK but I’ve had better.

I thought we would be stopping in Evesham today and had already done some research into the Battle of Evesham.  I don’t want it to go to waste so here it is!!!

The Battle of Evesham (4 August 1265) was one of the two main battles of 13th century England's Second Barons' War. It marked the defeat of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, and the rebellious barons by Prince Edward – later King Edward I – who led the forces of his father, King Henry III.  With the Battle of Lewes Montfort had won control of royal government, but after the defection of several close allies and the escape from captivity of Prince Edward, he found himself on the defensive. Forced to engage the royalists at Evesham, he faced an army twice the size of his own. The battle soon turned into a massacre; Montfort himself was killed and his body mutilated. Though the battle effectively restored royal authority, scattered resistance remained until the Dictum of Kenilworth was signed in 1267.

These are also a few photos of Evesham which I have also been saving!

14.41 miles
5 locks

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Fish & Anchor, Offenham (River Avon) – Sunday 13th August

OK I’ve got to do this – we are offen in Offenham!  I’ve been waiting to do this for ages!  It is our 4th visit in less than 4 weeks.

We left Welford Lock - sharing it with another boat.  Next was Bidford Grange followed by Barton Lock.
Bidford Grange Weir
My cousin lives in Bidford and we were having dinner with them tonight.  There was space on the visitor mooring in Bidford on the meadow, so a quick phone call and Simon and Deb, along with Marley their dog, joined us for coffee.  It was a lovely morning and the meadow was busy with people out for a Sunday stroll.  After coffee Penny and I (with Muffin and Freddie of course) joined Simon and Deb on a walk to Marlcliff Lock while Richard and Jim took the boat.  We said “see you later” to Simon and Deb and set off downstream again. 

Bidford Bridge
Bidford Bridge is a scheduled monument and is Grade I listed.  It is wider than a typical packhorse bridge. It dates from the early 15th century but has been repaired many times; in the 16th century stone from Alcester's demolished priory was used. In 1644, supporters of Charles I demolished the bridge to cover his retreat from Worcester to Oxford - this was repaired in 1650.

Apparently the moorings at Bidford were set up by a donation from the Duchess Dudley Trust in the 18th Century for curates to rescue English maidens from the harems of the east!  It wasn’t a success!
Jim working hard at Marcliff Lock
After Marlcliff comes Harvington or Robert Aickman Lock who led the battle to save the inland waterways by restoring and preserving England's then-neglected and largely derelict inland canal system.  Harvington Lock is a national memorial to him.

The pound is quite short between Harvington and Offenham locks so it didn’t take us long to get to the Fish and Anchor moorings.  We arrived just a narrow boat was leaving so we were lucky.  However after a couple of hours the other three boats had gone.  We spent the afternoon reading (and maybe sleeping!) before getting our glad rags on ready to go to dinner at the Fish and Anchor with Simon and Deb.  The Sunday menu is a bit limited but nonetheless we all had a really good meal.  After a very affable dinner we said goodbye to Simon and Deb and headed back to Mary H.

The Fish and Anchor is an old pub but all I can find on the internet is that it is at least 600 years old.

7.58 miles
5 locks

Monday, 14 August 2017

Welford Lock Moorings (River Avon) – Saturday 12th August

Penny and I went up to Sainsburys and then M & S Food to stock up for the next couple of days.  We had to ring Richard to get him to come and help us back to the boat with our purchases!

The lock was in our favour so we quickly set off.  We had masses of gongoozlers watching us – I’m glad Richard was steering - which were only food!

We hadn’t got very far to go today – just to Welford Lock which we had enjoyed so much a couple of days ago.

I love this house
We have been very surprised at how quiet the river is bearing in mind it is August.  It was much busier when we were last up here back in mid July.  There is quite a lot of mooring at Welford but we were the only boat.  There were also quite a few spaces in Bancroft Basin. 

Apparently the village of Welford is lovely with lots Tudor half-timbered and thatched cottages and the tallest Maypole in Britain at 64 feet.  Sadly the village can’t be reached from the lock so we had to miss out on it.

These are a few photos taken at Welford Lock.

For some reason we were all tired and everyone had 40 winks at some stage during the afternoon.

It was a nice though windy evening but we still had drinks on the lock island before Richard cooked a barbecue which, sadly, we had to eat inside but we did have our M & S pudding outside 😊

The new bed seems to be a success 😊  It is higher off the floor than the other one but we managed it!  The instructions told us that it might deflate for the first three or four uses and it did a bit but all we had to do was flick a switch and it was back to normal.

We had noticed the abundance of motorbikes in Stratford and not just any old motor bikes – BIG powerful posh ones!  We discovered that they were all here for the Bulldog Bash.  Since its inception in 1987 the Bulldog has been providing top class entertainment for 27 years. Aimed at the motorcycle riding fraternity the event has attracted some of the biggest entertainment acts ever imaginable.  The four day event also includes the thrills & spills of the drag strip with some of the fastest drag racing vehicles in the world. The event also gives you a chance to race your bike down the quarter mile drag strip in Run What Ya Brung.  These photos are taken from the Bulldog Bash website and are from last year.

5.59 miles
3 locks

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Stratford-upon-Avon, Bancroft Basin (River Avon) – Friday 11th August

A day to explore Stratford.  We had moored near to the chain ferry so took it across the river.  The ferry used is named Malvolio, after the character of the same name in William Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night.  The ferry opened in 1937, and it was the last of its kind to be built in Britain. By 2006, the ferry was carrying 100,000 people a year, and it was proposed that it be moved to make way for a new bridge. However, in 2010, the ferry vessel resumed service at its original location after an overhaul and restoration work.

We walked up to the RSC and had a coffee overlooking the river then caught the hop on, hop off bus.  We had done it before but Penny and Jim hadn’t. Muffin enjoyed it!   

We got off at Ann Hathaway’s cottage but changed our minds about going in when we saw it was £9.50 each.  That seemed a bit steep to see a cottage where Shakespeare’s wife lived before they were married.  Back on the bus and back into Stratford.  We got off near Bancroft Basin and walked to the Baguette Barge to get our lunch. 

Honestly, trying to get four people to make a decision about what to do next is so difficult!  As an ex-event organiser I usually do it but thought Penny might like to decide but I gave up and did it!  The men went and brought the boat into Bancroft Basin while Penny and I had a mooch round the town.

I took a photo of this sculpture last time we were here but this time it is different as a friend of Penny and Jim’s created and made it!  The fountain was sculpted by Christine Lee and unveiled by the Queen in November 1996 - it depicts two swans rising in flight.  It was made for the 800th Celebration of the granting of the Charter for Market Rights by King Richard I in 1196.

Once Mary H was tied up in Bancroft Basin Richard and I took a taxi to Tesco.  This is next chapter in the bed saga!  I had put a couple of posts on Facebook asking for suggestions for the best inflatable bed.  I got all sorts of suggestions – including a couple of rude ones!  My final decision was to get a mid rise one with an internal pump.  I found one on the Tesco website which was almost £30 cheaper for the same thing on other sites.  Also I had vouchers that were expiring so it didn’t cost us anything – except for the £10 for the taxi.  Let’s see how it goes tonight!

We had fish and chips for dinner – the chip shop by Bancroft Basin is very good.  Penny had bought a last minute ticket to see Antony and Cleopatra at the RSC so took herself off to watch it.  She said it was very good. 

0.17 miles
1 lock

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Stratford-upon-Avon Riverside (River Avon) – Thursday 10th August

We woke up to a gorgeous day – not a cloud in the sky 😊

We wanted to get up to Stratford and knew we had a long day ahead of us.  The locks came thick and fast until we got to Pilgrim Lock where we stopped for lunch.  It was then on again until we arrived in Stratford.  We shared a few of the locks with a boat called Jubilee – the boat seemed to ring a bell so I Googled it and realised that it was fellow blogger Halfie. They went on beyond the bridge in Stratford and there are some interesting photos on his blog.

We really liked Welford Lock and these few photos are taken there.  There is also a lovely weir but I couldn’t get near it – I could only hear it. 

Welford Lock is also known as W. A. Cadbury Lock as the Cadbury family paid for its restoration.  The remains of Upper Welford Lock are buried in the lock island.

The next lock is Luddington where the weir is a bit like a rockery.

As far as I can see the present Luddington Lock is new.  The original was probably built around 1664. Adjacent was a weir, of which no trace remains. The lock was circular with a diameter of 75 foot and a lift of 3 foot. It had double head and tail gates with paddles inset. The sides of the chamber were drystone walled. The bottom of the lock was unsealed except near the gates. The greater part of the stonework on the right hand side of the lock is intact, and the angular quoin provided to locate the right hand tail gate can be seen. The stonework on the left hand side has mostly disappeared, as have the gates.

We moored up on the riverside in Stratford at about 4pm – very late for us.  It was quite busy so we moved down towards the lock where there was less footfall as we wanted to have a barbecue.  The freezer had been rammed with barbecue food which we hadn’t eaten so this seemed an opportune moment.  It was such a nice evening that we were even able to eat outside.  What am I talking about!  Its August and we should be able to eat outside in the evenings!

13.48 miles
8 locks

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Offenham Lock (River Avon) – Wednesday 9th August

We woke up to heavy rain but it had been forecasted.  Jim and I walked up to Asda to stock up and then by 11am the rain had more or less stopped so we set off.

Our first lock was Wyre Lock which is a diamond shaped lock.  I was doing some research on the internet about diamond locks and came across a blog post from Fiona Slee on Epiphany when they passed this way in 2013.  Sadly, Fiona died earlier this year – I do miss her blogs.  This is what she wrote “Wyre lock is unusual as it is almost diamond shaped (rather like Shipton Weir and Aynho Weir Locks on the Oxford Canal). From an old photo caption, apparently it was once turf sided (like Monkey Marsh and Garston Locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal).  I believe that there were once six turf sided locks on the River Avon. It is an ancient navigation and it is thought that the diamond turf locks were built in an effort to reduce erosion of their earth sides by water from the top paddles when they were opened. A diamond lock (or round as at other original Avon Locks) might have made it easier for unpowered barges to enter (at an angle) as the weir stream below can be tricky.”

Passed Fladbury Mill and through Fladbury Lock. 

Just after the lock we encountered two swimmers.  One was all in black and the other had a yellow and green hat on which was just as well as we could barely see them in the black water.

We moored up at Craycombe Turn moorings for lunch and then set off towards Chadbury Lock.  The water coming over the weir was strong.

Through Evesham and Evesham Lock and on to Offenham Lock where we moored up for the night.  It was a lovely evening and we sat out on the bank drinking wine.  I had cooked dinner earlier so we didn’t have anything to do other than eat it!

So back to the bed saga!  Richard somehow managed to blow the mattress up more than last night and it felt better.  However, we gave it another blast at 1am when Richard got up to go to the loo.  We then slept soundly until 7.45am.  There are still modifications to be made and I’m still not convinced that we have the right air mattress.  Penny and Jim are with us for a week so hopefully we will have worked out what is best by the time they go home.

14.53 miles
5 locks