Sunday 27th and Monday 28th May; Wilmcote to Hill Farm Marina
After last night huge storm everything was soaking wet, but we were still glad to be beside a towpath, gritty ropes, muddy paws and all.
As we were so close to Wilmcote station, Dave decided to go and fetch the car from Droitwich. Meg and I walked up to the shop for the paper, then along the towpath for half an hour. There were several odd shapes along the towpath, looking like nothing so much as the outline of a murder victim. The white line marks the edge of a puddle from last night’s storm, drawn with the hawthorn petals left as the water drained away.
As the hawthorn is finishing, the yellow flags and dog roses are coming into bloom.
I had seen a notice for a plant sale in Wilmcote village, so went back up after Meg’s walk. The village hall is a long walk from the canal on a hot and sultry day, but I came away with just a few plants and a lovely home-made cake. Dave was back before lunch after an easy journey, but had to park halfway to the village as the layby at the bridge was full of walkers’ cars.
We had lunch, and before we left he checked the parking situation – luckily the walkers had all gone so he moved the car to the layby so it could be off the road. The sun was becoming increasingly obscured by a veil of cloud.
I usually cross Edstone aqueduct in the boat but today walked beside the iron channel for a different view.
Meg was a bit confused.
Hill Farm marina, which only recently opened, is not far south of Wootton Wawen. We moored at bridge 56 and walked along to find it. We weren’t going in this afternoon; instead Dave took the bike and zoomed back along the towpath to bring the car to the marina. He hadn’t been gone more than 5 minutes when the storm rumbling away in the distance was suddenly overhead and the heavens opened. He didn’t turn round; he donned his waterproof and slogged on to Wilmcote, then drove in the storm to the marina where he had to wait for the rain to ease off so he could see to get back to the boat. He was more than a little wet! Meanwhile I put Meg’s bed under the dinette table so she would feel secure, then had a cup of tea and watched the boats on their way back to Anglo-Welsh at Wootton Wawen. The first was a day boat – the two chaps on the back, in shirtsleeves and absolutely drenched, laughed and waved as they passed, but the hire boaters who followed were grimly hunched in their waterproofs. There was a lot of thunder but I could hardly hear it over the noise of the rain. I had the radio on, but you wouldn’t have known for the drumming of the rain on the roof.
It’s not camera shake – you could hardly see through the rain. Dave appeared soon after it had stopped, having been waiting in the car park. The storm had cleared the air somewhat so the evening was less sultry. We started cleaning and packing to save time tomorrow – Dave got the plum job (not) of cleaning the shower pump, which is an automatic one triggered by the water level in a little reservoir. I would rather have one that works just when you switch it on - dog hairs mean this one has to be cleaned out every few weeks. How they get in there I don’t know, Meg certainly doesn’t go in the shower!
On Bank Holiday Monday it was cloudy and the ground was very wet, but it was not raining. Meg got her walk good and early before we moved into the marina.
The marina is only little and fairly sheltered, but even so there was enough breeze to make mooring stern-in a bit awkward. I took the photo from the car park up the hill – we are third from right on the far side. The canal runs between the trees so you can see boats passing, which you often can’t in marinas.
We haven’t met anyone ‘official’ – all contact has been by phone, text and email – but the resident boaters, who are all delightful, told us everything we needed to know. We will pay the bill using BACS. The marina is on a working farm, so the farmer was quite busy, and there was also a Crick stand to be manned! It’s a pretty little marina, or will be when the grass has grown properly. The showers and toilets are still under construction, but there is gas and coal and an Elsan point, and bins. It’s also quiet – here are some of the neighbours, nosy, till they realised I had no food for them.
We had packed up and cleaned through in time to leave by late morning. Although it’s Bank Holiday, the traffic wasn’t heavy at the time and we were home mid-afternoon. There was a minor hitch as we were leaving – these squatters made it awkward to get out of the car park. I tried to move them on but they just settled down again as soon as I had turned my back!
3 miles, 1 lock, Edstone aqueduct, and another storm.
Trip states will follow, and I hope to have sorted my YouTube problem soon too so I can post my videos of the Severn Bore and the tide going out at Sharpness, although it won’t be as exciting as Tentatrice’s video of crossing the Wash!