Friday, 2 June 2017

A wet end to this trip – flaming June!

Friday 2nd June; Netherwich basin to Droitwich Spa marina

We have been waking early with the daylight and today was no exception.  Dave was straight out of bed and away well before 7 to the railway station to go and fetch the car from Calcutt.  As Meg and I returned from her early walk in the park two hot-air balloons rose into the sunny skies from somewhere to the west.

1 hot air balloon 12 hot air balloon 2

The second one is advertising the Trentham estate which you can walk to from the Trent and Mersey near Stoke on Trent.

During the morning I did a bit of shopping before I started cleaning the boat.  I took a couple of snaps on my phone as I walked through the park.  The mosaic depicts the history of salt extraction …

2a mosaic in vines  park

and the statue of St Richard presides serenely over the park.

2b st richard

Remarkably Dave was back before lunchtime having driven down from Calcutt.  Unfortunately the bus service to Napton is very poor outside commuter times and he had to get a taxi from Leamington.  But did you know you can negotiate your taxi fare when they are not busy?

He left the car at the marina and walked to the boat, just avoiding the rain which started as he got back.  We had some lunch then got ourselves togged up with full wet-weather gear and set off through the park.

3 vines park in the rain

After the second swing bridge I was hot enough to remove my jumper.  My jacket sleeves felt unpleasantly clammy against my bare arms but the rain was too heavy to be without it.

4 swing bridge

St Augustine’s church rose impassively against the cloudy skies.  I hope the raindrops haven’t damaged the camera.

5 church on the hill

By the time we had reached the staircase locks the rain was easing somewhat and I could appreciate the wild-flower planting between the canal and the motorway.

7 wild flowers nr staircase  8 wild flowers

Red Campion, ox-eye daisies and a yellow vetch of some kind, but it’s too wet for butterflies to be out;

9 wild flowers

and teasels, not yet in flower, will be good for insects and finches later in the year.

Dave reversed neatly into our berth and we packed up the car between the intermittent showers.  We had to keep a strict eye on Meg;  the local swan family has very young cygnets and they were all on the grass nearby.

11 dsm swan family

I was pleased with the success of my little tub of salad plants; loose-leaf lettuce, coriander, salad onions and some nasturtiums too though they were not yet in flower.  Tasty leaves though.

10 salad bowl

But I don’t think I’ll be in the running for an award in the CRT ‘Boats in Bloom’ competition this year!

We had a few delays on our journey home down the M5, but they were trivial compared with the heavy traffic and lengthy queues for the poor souls going home to the Midlands at the end of half-term.

2 miles, 5 locks, 3 swing bridges, M5 tunnel

Trip stats; 70 miles, 118 locks,  days.

48½ miles narrow canals, 21½ broad canals;  73 narrow locks, 45 broad;  8 swing bridges; 8 tunnels (Shrewley, Brandwood, Edgbaston (twice), Wast Hills, Shortwood, Tardebigge, M5 tunnel (twice).

Grand Union, Stratford north, Worcester and Birmingham, BCN Main Line with Icknield Port and Soho loops, Droitwich Junction and Barge canals; River Salwarpe.