Monday 20th July; Worcester to Perdiswell Park
On a lovely calm sunny morning I wandered up to the little garage to get a paper and some milk, leaving Dave about to mask off the coachline where it needs attention. But his reading glasses dropped off the front of his jumper as he inspected what needed to be done – that’s the second pair this trip unfortunately. They aren’t magnetic, and couldn’t be recovered with the fishing net (good for retrieving Meg’s balls, not much cop for small items down in the mud). He’s down to his last unbroken pair now.
These are the only cygnets we have seen on the Severn. The info boards at the swan sanctuary said that round Worcester there is no weed for them to eat, and if it wasn’t for the feeding at the Sanctuary there would be no swans in the area.
|The only cygnets on the river?|
We got chatting to the people on the boat that was on our preferred mooring right next to the rowing club. The owner is a musician, who had just bought the boat as a liveaboard (with help from Dad which is so often the way nowadays). Friends had painted out the old name yesterday – she will be calling it Fiddlesticks as she plays in a string quartet. Dad was there helping get it ready for the trip to Bath where she has a mooring waiting. They are going the ‘quick’ way, ie down to Sharpness and across to Portishead – now there’s a trip for a new owner and no mistake. It’s all booked and (I am writing over a week later) they have probably done it by now.
It was nearly 10 by the time we set off towards Diglis and the canal locks. The gates were closed, but the pontoon was empty so we tied up easily and I went to investigate. A widebeam was coming down the top lock so as the bottom one was nearly full I set it for them and helped them down. It took ages, these locks are slow fills. They empty quickly though and the crew couldn’t manage to get back on, so Dave had to move off the pontoon and hold well away in the stream so the widebeam could pick them up - easy peasy with its bow-thrusters.
A boat was coming down the top lock and we crossed in the pound before we paused at the sanitary station, then moored on the Commandery moorings above Sidbury lock for lunch. The pikes and helmets on the road bridge remind you of the Battle of Worcester.
I got chatting to the other boat moored there, admiring his paint job – it looked so different from Chuffed that I didn’t realise it was the same type of Liverpool boat as us, but with a pram hood, solar panel and top box I just hadn’t recognised the shape. Two years newer, and with a recent repaint, it looked lovely.
After lunch we stopped on the moorings near Shrub Hill station so Dave could go to BM bargains and get a cheapo pair of glasses (there never seem to be any strength 2.5 in shops so he felt jolly lucky to get a pair), and our neighbour went by on his way to Lowesmoor Basin where he lives.
|Weston Lady goes on her way|
The weather was lovely as we made our way up Gregory’s Mill locks.
|Gregory's Mill top lock|
One of the top paddles was out of action. I’m glad to see all the old BW stuff didn’t get chucked out when CRT took over - they must have really over-ordered in years gone by!
|No repairs scheduled yet|
A CRT volunteer arrived as we rose up the top lock. He closed the gate for us and then cycled up to empty Bilford bottom lock. There was a bit of a swan issue here, looking very similar to the ‘new parents’ situation we had seen at the Astwood flight. But this pair was determined to go up to the next pound. The lockie said they had done it before, and as the next pound was not part of the next swan family's territory, we had a shortish boat and were experienced, we should take them up with us. They knew exactly what they wanted –
|Come on, get that gate open!|
The top beam has had a running repair – how long will it be like this I wonder?
I am still wearing gloves for locking and have solved the hair-in-the-eyes problem with a pirate bandana. It looks a bit incongruous on a lady of my vintage, and though I don't really care what other people think, I'd rather not embarrass the family so there's no photo! ;) And though we were anxious that the swans might try and come up the next lock with us, they were happily poking around and showed no inclination to join us.
|They got what they wanted|
Then it was just a short hop to one of our favourite stops at bridge 17, with plenty of time for jobs in the sunshine. Dave continued working on the gunwale to prep it for painting, and I took Meg to the park. Well, I did have tea to cook too.
4 miles, 2 very wide and slow locks, 6 lovely narrow canal locks, happy happy dog