Sunday, 30 September 2018

Home again

Sunday 23rd and Monday 24th September; Vines Park to the Marina, and home.

It was a wet night, and it was wet this morning so we lazed about catching up on yesterday’s paper till about 10.30, when we realised the rain had cleared.  Dave went off for a wander round town and to get the Sunday paper, while Meg and I had a game of ball.  There are several excellent horse chestnut trees nearby and the grass was covered with spiky cases and glossy conkers.  I couldn’t resist collecting a few more to take home.

2 conkers

Dave came back to take over dog duty and I went off for a run while they strolled along to the sports pitches as Dave wanted to watch some footy.  Yesterday as we cruised by it was the junior matches – today the adults were playing and very vigorous and physical it looked too.  On my way back to the boat I dropped into the Gardener’s Arms to book a table for lunch.  This is a very convenient mooring for that! 

1 vines park mooring

Hurry up I’m hungry!

We had a lovely meal.  As we came back to the boat the wind was strong and cold but the sun was out, so we spent the afternoon doing some outside jobs.  I hauled the bike out of the well deck and gave it a good clean while Dave worked on a device to support the tonneau cover that goes over the back when we leave the boat.  The little bungees, correctly called canopy guys, hold it in place but it’s not taut enough to stop rainwater pooling on it; you have to scoop the rain off with a dog water bowl before you can get into the boat, and on occasions the weight of water has broken the guys.  We tried changing the guys but have no idea what length the originals were, or even if they worked properly in the first place.  So we ended up using buckets on the seat of a folding chair to raise the cover, but it’s rather a faff and this should be much simpler.  I meant to take a photo but forgot.

On Monday morning we planned to go to Chuffed’s winter mooring in Droitwich Spa marina.  But rather than leave straight away, we thought we’d wait a while and do some of the packing and cleaning where we were.  The morning was bright and sunny and the outlook is much nicer onto the park.  We saw the trip boat going by – they were picking up their passengers and going off up the locks in the next few minutes, so we didn’t rush.  Two other boats went by too, though once we set off we discovered one of them had stopped for breakfast on some swing bridge moorings.  The tunnel that goes under the M5 is very low so we had to put the chimney away before we left.

4 low motorway bridgeThe bridge carrying Impney Way, the A-road across the canal, is in the form of a short tunnel and it’s very close to the one under the M5, so this makes for a strange light effect in the photo.

We had a bit of a wait while two boats came down the staircase but were soon back in the marina, where we packed the car and were home before evening.

1½ miles, 3 swing bridges, 5 locks (including the staircase), M5 tunnel.

Trip stats

95 miles 5¼ furlongs with 135 locks, along the Grand Union, North Stratford, Worcester and Birmingham, Birmingham Main Line,  Staffs and Worcester and Droitwich Barge and Junction canals, and the river Severn.

60 miles 6½ furlongs narrow canals, 26 miles 3¾ furlongs broad canals, 8 miles 3 furlongs large rivers. 

81 narrow locks, 52 broad locks, 2 large (river) locks.

6 swing bridges to open (1 electric) and 11 tunnels; Shrewley, Brandwood, Edgbaston, Galton, Coseley, Wolverhampton, Dunsley, Cookley, A449 at Hawford, Impney Way and M5 in Droitwich.

I have been catching up with my blog posts in the week following our return, and the weather has been beautiful.  We should have been boating! I bet it’s not like this next time we come out.