Tuesday, 30 July 2013

There and Back - again (again)!

Monday 29th July
Droitwich Spa Marina to Netherwich Basin, Droitwich and back
8 locks, 6 swing bridges, 4 miles

Another day of escape from the chaos that is our home!  This time with an ex-colleague of Chris's and her husband (Kathryn and Rob).  We were lucky with the weather - just a few spots of rain on a couple of occasions, so although the waterproofs were issued they were not required for long!  This really is a very good day trip for us - including lunch in the pub you are looking at around 6 hours and with so much going on in such a short distance there is no chance of anyone being bored!!  In fact, a bit more just cruising might be nice!!  It was a first for Kathryn and Rob and as they left they were discussing who they could rope in for a narrow boat holiday of their own!!  More converts I think and I do hope they will be back for more.  We really enjoyed the day and their company.

It was very light duties for me - two very willing assistants!

Another snippet about Droitwich Spa - the church is St Augustine's parts of which date back to the early 13th century.  Having just done a quick google (http://www.droitwichparish.org.uk/about/augustine.html), I think it will be worth a visit one day.  For now please notice how black the tower is - years of salt extraction work in the area are to blame.

Reversing in to the basin for our lunch stop over at the Garndener's Arms

I said in my last blog that the swing bridges get easier each time we go through them - I didn't even have to get off the boat on the return journey!  Thank you!
 and I got my first view of Vine Park and the play area from the water.

If Monty leans out much further to supervise those on land he will be in the drink!  This is a permanent view on Tentatrice - he likes to ensure we do everything correctly.

Back to our mooring and Monty is supervising the checking of the bilges

Monty watching his new friends (red arrow marks the spot) head for home.  

Thursday, 25 July 2013

There and back again!

Droitwich Spa Marina to Netherwich Basin, Droitwich and back again

8 locks, 6 swing bridges, 4 miles

A day off for us amidst the chaos of at home with friends of 40 years standing, their 6 year old granddaughter (M) and their black lab Kiera.  The first thing to do was to find somewhere for Monty and Kiera to say ‘hello’ and burn off some energy- there is a field in the corner of the marina which looked ideal.  Just one very big problem – red dusty earth and two very mucky dogs, so the Marina dog shower was tested and found to be an excellent feature – much easier than a bucket and cloth! 

We set off in sunshine and young M was pressed into service.  She was an excellent crew member. 

 she was allowed sometime off for good behaviour!

The water level was okay (the canal was shut on Tuesday after torrential rain)

Ready to measure the head room under the M5 bridge
We made it with between 2 and 5 inches to spare and that is with the cratch off and three adults, a child and two dogs in the bow!

I am delighted to say that the vandalised picnic table in Vine Park reported in the last blog has been repaired, but no photo was taken.  We did consider mooring in Vine Park whilst we had lunch, but as we were leaving the boat and it is school holidays we played it safe and moored in Netherwich Basin and walked to the pub – and what a pub it is!

For visits to Droitwich The Gardeners Arms is a must!
 To get there turn right out of the basin, walk along the tow path back towards Vine Park – there are two paths – one by the canal and the other by the allotments.  You need the latter.  When you get to these pretty cottages 
 (how gratifying to see neighbours who obviously discuss and agree on decoration – they are even prettier in the flesh) turn left down a little ginnel, snickleway or whatever else you call a small alley.  Turn R at the bottom and you cannot miss the pub.

It is an Aladdin’s cave inside.  The bar is very small (but does allow dogs and they provide water in a decent bowl), but outside is a magical world – a real mish mash of all sorts!

 These are safely undercover

There are even a couple of geese

and a piano! I am not sure it will ever play again, but it adds to the ambience
 Do you fancy a party?

We ate in this outside area which is also undercover (just as well as the one shower we had was in the middle of our meal).

A real bonus – the food was good.  The only issue we had was the pastry on the steak and ale pie – too thin and not at all tasty, but the meat was so tender it did not need to be chewed.  This pub is the home of the Droitwich sausage – we can highly recommend them. To top it all it is a real ale pub with a goodly selection.

On our way back to the boat Monty and Kiera were allowed a play before being cooped up on board  again.  They made the most of it!

Back through Vine Park to be met by a very welcome sight – 5 ice creams please! 

The best way to enjoy an ice cream!
 I have to say that each time I have to tackle the swing bridges they get easier and easier.  I wonder if having willing assistants is the reason?

Once we were safely moored back in the marina tea was drunk and Jane, Chris, M and Kiera climbed back into their car to head for home.  It was a wonderful day and I am glad to say that Jane has been converted – she was very apprehensive having only once been on a dark and dingy hire boat many moons ago which she hated and found claustrophobic.  Tentatrice passed with flying colours and we hope this is the first of many trips with us.  There is talk of an overnight stay in early September with a meal in the Queens Head at Stoke Pound – the price being help with the Tardebigge locks the next day!   M is also welcome back anytime - she is a very well behaved little girl.  We just need to find someone else free at the end of October when we have to come back down Tardebigge on the way back to the marina!

Next trip - Monday 29th July with an ex-colleague of Chris' and her husband.

PS - update on the bow thruster - it is on it's way back to the manufacturer and will be replaced.