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

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Pershore (River Avon) – Monday 24th July

We were up early and ready to leave about 9am.  Our aim?  To get a mooring at Pershore!  We want to get down to Tewkesbury tomorrow as I managed to break a tooth yesterday whilst eating my lunch and I’ve managed to make an appointment to see a Dentist in Tewkesbury tomorrow.

There was a hire boat in Fladbury Lock who had managed to knock their rudder out of it’s cup.  The boat was 70 feet and some of the locks are a bit short.  This was the second time it had happened.  I’m surprised that the hire companies don’t tell hirers of these long boats to go diagonally across the Avon locks.

I love Fladbury Mill.  I think it's one of my most favourite places on the system.

Fladbury Mill
Coming out of Wyre Lock was interesting as the current from the weir was running quite hard and I had to stop and pick Richard up.

There was plenty of mooring at Pershore.  ANT have put some new ones in this ye
ar and by the evening there was no space at all.  The moorings are next to a recreation ground and Muffin had a great time with the ball thrower.

We went for a walk into Pershore and came across these two guarding a toy shop!

The town contains much elegant Georgian architecture. In 1964 the Council for British Archaeology included Pershore in its list of 51 British "Gem Towns" worthy of special consideration for historic preservation, and it has been listed as an outstanding conservation area.  Pershore is another town with amazing floral displays.

 We walked to the Abbey grounds and found a fascinating tree stump.

 Pershore Abbey was one of the largest medieval abbeys in Britain and was destroyed in the Reformation, but the local residents saved the abbey church from destruction by purchasing it for their own use.  It was built between 681 and 689 by Ethelred of Mercia who gave estates to Oswald, Bishop of Worcester, to establish a monastery at Pershore. By 689 a monastic community had been established. At first there was a period of stability under the strong Mercian kings, but the ninth century brought fear and uncertainty in a time of Viking raids and Danish rule. 

Inside the roof is lovely but the stained glass isn’t that spectacular.

There are two tombs.  The Abbot’s Tomb commemorates Abbot Edmund Hert who was in charge of the Abbey in the 1470s.  The other is the Crusader’s Tomb which is thought to be that of Sir William de Harley, a local knight who fought during the Crusades in 1095 to 1291.

Pershore also has a carillon which was made in 1879 by Gillett and Bland of Croydon.  It has a two-week cycle of tunes which play every three hours from 9.00am to 9.00pm.  There are two tube barrels available, each having seven melodies, the tune being changed daily.  This is about the only information I can find about the carillon as most places say that it isn’t working.  Well it was certainly working today 😊

On my way back to the boat I popped into Asda – only because I was passing!  It’s a stone’s throw from the moorings.

11.44 miles
3 locks

Monday, 24 July 2017

Evesham (River Avon) – Sunday 23rd July

A lovely morning which made our mooring look so much nicer than it did in the rain.

We cruised back up to Evesham, topped up with water (four people on a boat do use a lot of water) and moored up.

We are moored at Workman Gardens where there is a replica of Evesham’s famous whalebone arch was put up in 2013.  The new arch stands in the same spot as the original whalebone arch did for more than a century, up until last year, when due to years of weathering and flooding, they were too frail to remain in place.  The original bones arrived in Evesham in 1819 when a former Evesham man, Mr Stanton, set sail on board the Andrew Marvell. Leaving from Hull under Captain Orton, the crew were embarking upon a whaling voyage to the Arctic.  Ten whales were caught and the jawbones of one of the animals caught – a bowhead whale – was sent by Mr Stanton to his friend Dr Cooper, who lived at the Mansion House, as a gift.  They were originally erected as an arch at the entrance to the Mansion House.  In 1906 they were presented to the then borough council by Dr Cooper’s grand-daughter Mrs Frances Edwards and remained in place for 106 years.

The main bridge over the river in Evesham is Workmans Bridge.  It was erected in 1856, under the auspices of Henry Workman, long-time mayor of Evesham. At the same time as building the bridge, the River Avon was dredged, and the sediment was used to create Workman Gardens.

After lunch we all took Muffin for a walk and stopped for ice-creams.  Muffin almost lost his ball in the river but a nice lady with an oar (we were outside the rowing club) hoiked it out for him.

In the park is a wooden statue, The Penny Whistle.  The sculpture was placed in Abbey Park in 2007 at the start of the 2007 Evesham Music Festival. Unfortunately later that year, the River Avon flooded. The sculpture floated off downstream. It has now been replaced and concreted in to avoid a repeat.

James collected his car and took me Morrisons to buy some heavy things before he and Maisa headed home.  We have had a lovely weekend with them but the weather could have been kinder.  I’m really cross with myself as I forgot to take a photo of the two of them.

We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing.  We love having visitors but it is also nice to have the boat back to normal!

2.82 miles
0 locks

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Above Chadbury Lock (River Avon) – Saturday 22nd July

We woke to a lovely sunny morning – the only trace of the rain was that the river was at the top of the green. 

We cruised down to Evesham, watered up and then moored up.

James and Maisa went off for a walk round the town and to move James’s car.  We had lunch and then also went off for a walk.  I saw on the internet that there was a Saturday market but we only found one clothes stall!  We continued to Abbey grounds.

Evesham Abbey was founded by Saint Egwin between 700 and 710 AD following an alleged vision of the Virgin Mary by a swineherd by the name of Eof.  According to the monastic history, Evesham came through the Norman Conquest unusually well, because of a quick approach by Abbot Æthelwig to William the Conqueror. Only one section of walling survives from the actual abbey, although fragments of the chapter house, the bell tower and the gateway remain, which were added later: the chapter house in the 13th century and the bell tower in the 16th century. Simon de Montfort (1208–1265) is buried near the high altar of the ruined abbey, the spot marked by an altar-like memorial monument dedicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1965. The abbey is of Benedictine origin, and became in its heyday one of the wealthiest in the country. During the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the abbey was demolished leaving only the bell tower surviving into the 21st century.

In the Abbey grounds are All Saints Church and its neighbour St Lawrence's Church which were built by the Benedictine monks of Evesham Abbey in the 12th century to serve the people of Evesham. All Saints is now the town's parish church, as St Lawrence's was declared redundant in the 1970s.  

All Saints Church

St. Lawrence Church
Church House
 In the Bell Tower there is a carillon which plays on the hour between 9am and 9pm.  Check the website for more information – it’s very interesting.  We were lucky enough to be there at 2pm to hear it.
The Bell Tower
From the Bell Tower we walked down to the river through the lovely gardens

To where I was able to take this photo of Mary H.

Once James and Maisa returned we set off to try and find somewhere to have a barbeque.  It was pouring with rain but barbeque we would!  The mooring at Chadbury Lock isn’t particularly brilliant so we went on hoping to get in at Craycombe Turn but it was full so we turned round and went back to Chadbury Lock.  After cleaning the goose poo off the pontoon it wasn’t too bad.  Richard lit the barbeque and when it was hot he moved it to under the pram cover (without sides) where he was able to cook in the dry. 

9.66 miles
4 locks

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Fish & Anchor Moorings, Offenham (River Avon) – Friday 21st July

It was boat cleaning this morning ready for our visitors.  Richard’s son, James, and his girlfriend, Maisa, were coming for the weekend.  The place needed a good clean but it really doesn’t take long.  I usually start at one end and work my way through (the same as I do when packing the boat up to go home).  Richard does the hoovering and then, Bob’s your uncle, we have a sparkling boat again.

James and Maisa arrived about 12.30pm and after lunch we set off back to Offenham Lock and the Fish and Anchor moorings.

It was a lovely afternoon but sadly it wasn’t too last.  We went through the lock and the lock cutting where we had moored on Wednesday and onto the moorings.  There is room for two long narrowboats with maybe a small motor cruiser as well.  The rain started shortly after we arrived and continued – it was still raining when we went to bed.  We shared the mooring with a boat called Purple Emperor.  We thought it was brand new but apparently it is 25 years old and just had a repaint – it looks amazing.  I took this photo in Stratford as I thought it looked so lovely.

We had booked an early dinner at the pub and paddled over about 6.30pm.  We had a lovely meal.  This is James’s pizza which almost beat him! 

Another paddle back to the boat where we played Scrabble which, as always, Richard won.  I don’t like playing Scrabble with his as he always wins!

Offenham derives its name from the Saxon King Offa, who once resided here.  Offa was King of Mercia, a kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England, from 757 until his death in July 796. The son of Thingfrith and a descendant of Eowa, Offa came to the throne after a period of civil war following the assassination of Æthelbald.  King Offa was famous for his dyke - a large linear earthwork that roughly follows the current border between England and Wales., who is traditionally believed to have ordered its construction. Although its precise original purpose is debated, it delineated the border between Anglian Mercia and the Welsh kingdom of Powys.  The Dyke, which was up to 65 feet wide (including its flanking ditch) and 8 feet high, traversed low ground, hills and rivers. Today the earthwork is protected as a scheduled monument.

3.59 miles
2 locks

Friday, 21 July 2017

Evesham (River Avon) – Thursday 20th July

We woke up to rain – at long last!  The day certainly feels fresher.

Our destination was Evesham so we had a nice leisurely morning.  However when Richard went to start the engine the starter battery was dead   He diverted the solar charging to the starter battery and before long the engine sprung into life.

I love Offenham Lock.  There is lots of mooring and services plus a nice view and quirky lighthouse.

We only had a short way to go today but it was lovely.  The river was wide and overhung by willows and other trees.

The gates at Evesham Lock were open so we went straight in and locked down.  The old lock house is a must for a photo.

There was heaps of room below Workman’s Bridge so we moored up and had lunch.

After lunch we wandered up into town for some shopping as we have visitors arriving tomorrow – along with the rain!  Evesham has come a close second, in my mind, to Stratford for its floral displays.

Back at the boat we were able to sit out in the sunshine but once the sun went behind a cloud it turned quite chilly.

When we looked out of the window, once it was dark, we saw that the trees on both sides of the river were lit up and looked really lovely.

I really like Evesham but it is also a sad place for me as a very old friend of mine lived just opposite where we are moored. Sadly she died from cancer in December 2013, shortly after her husband dropped dead in the street. 

3.59 miles
2 locks

Thursday, 20 July 2017

George Billington or Offenham Lock (River Avon) – Wednesday 19th July

A long day – well for us anyway.

Last night we battened down the hatches and waited for the terrible storms – it missed us completely with not even a drop of rain!

We set off downstream and were soon at the first lock.  The Avon Navigation Trust (ANT) like making if difficult as almost every lock on the Upper Avon has two names!  We shared the first lock with a couple on a hire boat who were very nervous.  They had, in fact, come down the 16 locks from Wootten Wawen but those are narrow locks and the sight of wide locks seemed a bit daunting.  Still they managed the first one but decided at the second to go back to Stratford.  However, we were joined by another hire boat with four people on board who knew what they were doing and we speeded through the next three locks.

We moored up above Bidford Grange Lock but after lunch decided to move on as a) there was no internet and b) there was no view.  Just as we were pulling away another hire boat appeared and we shared the next two locks with them.  They were three men (in a boat) who had been having a boy’s week on the canals for 25 years and this year is to be their last one as one is waiting to have both knees replaced and one has a dicky ticker.  I felt a bit sorry for the third as he was having to do all the work.  They wanted to stop in Bidford as they like the pub there.  We were in front as we got to Bidford and there was only one mooring place – right outside the pub!  We just couldn’t take it from them
This will be lovely when it is finished
Cor! That is some lawn to mow!

We pulled over at Offenham Lock (George Billington) for the night.  We have stopped here before and it’s really nice.  I have made a decision!  From now on I will call the locks by their normal names and not by the the sponsors names – ooooo a decision eh!!

I can’t remember which lock this was but it is in the middle of nowhere.  Our hire boater companions did some dead heading but I wonder who waters them.

13.28 miles
8 locks

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Riverside, Stratford-upon-Avon (South Stratford/River Avon) – Tuesday 18th July

It was nice being stern on to a pontoon on such a hot night as we were able to leave the front doors open.

I had some food shopping to do so we walked into town.  You can almost see the Sainsbury Local from the boat.  Of course I had to have a look at the food in M & S too, which is just opposite and next door to Sainsbury is Poundland!

We had a quick coffee in The Encore - well actually it wasn’t quick as the service was appalling.  It was the back to the boat and a break from the heat of the basin.  We went down the lock and on to river where we moored up under a willow tree beside the park.  The park was very busy and from my vantage point on the boat I could see a seat.  I thought I might write a book entitled “A day in the life of a park bench”!  Each time someone got up someone else would sit down and I just loved watching all the different people who were enjoying some respite from the sun under the willow tree.

We took our chairs and sat under the willow tree too and read.  Muffin had a great afternoon sniffing all the dogs who passed and walking up to the people for a stroke.  I didn’t like to say that he had just been sniffing a dog’s bottom before they stroked his nose!

The view from the other side of the boat is the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the dressing rooms.  In the early evening we saw actors in costume on their balconies – we didn’t spot anyone famous.

There were lots of people out rowing – most of which hadn’t the foggiest idea of what they were doing – it was quite entertaining really.  I’m glad we are a steel boat and and not a plastic one.

The floral displays in Stratford are wonderful – by far the best, I think, I’ve ever seen in a British town.  In fact Stratford has its own Stratford in Bloom competition.  The website says “One of the many things the town is known for is its magnificent gardens, beautiful flower beds and colourful hanging baskets.  Stratford in Bloom is dedicated to enhancing the beauty of Stratford-upon-Avon through the floral features and gardens, both public and private.  Residents and businesses are encouraged to enter our annual competition with prizes for allotments, community awards, schools, small & large businesses, front and rear gardens, wildlife and pollinator friendly gardens.”  I just wish I had taken some photos of the wonderful hanging baskets.

0.17 miles
1 lock