Monday, 8 July 2013

Surprisingly pleasant journey until the key moment occurred!

13.5 miles, 12 locks, 6.5 hours

Yet another scorcher.  Monty and I went for a very early walk whilst it was cool, for him to do what a dog has to do first thing in the morning.  This was in anticipation of geting on to the River Severn where "dog stops" are few and far between!  "Duty" done we returned and set off around 07:30.   

I failed to notice this inmate in Commandery last night.  I hope he feels better soon.

Through the first lock to get water – there are quite a few water points in Diglis Basin and most were occupied with moored hire boats.   A Canal Time boat (Rammy Line No 4) was on the main water point getting water and he was about to set off.  When he found out that we were going to go onto the river he said he would get to the first lock, get it ready and wait, which is what he did.   

At that time they were planning on going up to Stourport to then go through Birmingham to return to Alvechurch.  Some replanning must have occurred on the Severn because at Bevere Lock they announced that they too would be going up the Barge and Droitwich canals. Thus we had the pleasure of their company and help all the way which was brilliant.  They were Debbie, Keith and daughter Emma.  Thanks to them all for making our day an easy and pleasant one. 

I am glad to say that Tentatrice behaved well on the River and that the anchor (which had been deployed for ready for action on the forward deck) was not needed!

and we enjoyed the trip along to Bevere Lock and realised that there are a lot of moorings by the racecourse and we could have gone through last night.  Note for the future.

A lamentation of swans (fanciful, but I like it)

Here is a name with which to conjure!

However in no time Bevere lock was reached and soon we were through and onto the Barge Canal. 

The cream house to look out for as you approach the Droitwich Canals

Good to be welcomed

 We were not sure about doing this canal as there is nowhere really to stop, but we did not want to bump our way back up the Worcester and Birmingham Canal again. So decided to bite the bullet and go for it.  I must add here that I owe C&RT an apology – they did get back to us yesterday and within less than 10 minutes to tell us that paddles had been left open lower down and that water was now being sent up again.  We learnt today that it was a hire boat moored in a lock with the paddles open at both ends!  The reason we did not get the call is down to my idiosyncratic phone that did not notify me of a voicemail until today!  Anyway I digress. 

The Barge Canal is a delight – yes reeds everywhere, bendy and narrow, but we enjoyed the trip which was certainly easier due to a good boat and crew to help us.   

Is this a party of intrepid explorers?

No just a school outing with

a couple of teachers bringing up the rear

 Does anyone know what these are?  Seen by a lock.

At one lock we met Gemini Dream again – first met on Saturday at Hanbury top lock.  Is this a feature of our life to come – bumping into ‘friends’ as we potter around the cut?  Rammy Line No 4 found somewhere to pull in for lunch after lock 8 and we continued on to the Netherwich Basin in Droitwich Spa and what a lovely little basin it is with no other boats here on the visitor moorings when we arrived early afternoon.   

Now to the 'key' moment.  The first thing to do was to take Monty to find some grass, however, we needed a BWB key to get out of the basin.  No problem – we had bought one at Midland Chandlers a couple of months ago, however, it would not work!  Thankfully someone else arrived and had one that did.  However, we needed to be self-sufficient and be able to get out when we chose (particularly for Monty’s needs). So what to do?  I phoned the Marina Manager – voicemail is all I got!  The decision was made to call a taxi to take us to Droitwich Spa Marina to get another BWB key from the car (given to us by the Captain of Cleddau - that we knew worked.  So 15 minutes later and £12.50 lighter we had a key that worked.  Someone will be getting a phone call when we get home!  

By that time we were all tired, hot and fraught, so we popped into the pub where the taxi  had dropped us off, for a swift drink.  There we met Daisy who carries her own toys!

 Then a gentle stroll to Waitrose for a paper and a quick look at a rather charming High Street.  When we got back to the basin we found a few more boats had arrived.

These included nb Two Crewed who Chris met whilst lock keeping last Sunday, they were in front of us on our acceptance cruise and we passed them on Saturday on our way to Worcester.  We were admiring their washing pole on Saturday and will be paying Argos a visit very soon, so it was good to meet them again for a proper chat.  They came aboard to have a look round our new ‘baby’.  It was good to meet you Nigel, Naomi and dog Nina and we hope we do so again one day.  So yes, making new friends and bumping into them every now and then seems to go with our new way of life.

Tomorrow it is just a quick trip back to Droitwich Spa Marina which will see the end of our maiden voyage, so now is a good time to reflect on how things went and to answer the question ‘have we done the right thing’?  Things went okay for the most part – this boating lark is never without a few challenges.  Have we done the right thing – well as we sat on the bow having dinner with the sun waning, but still warm, with the Church bells ringing out in the distance and the water gently lapping as the ducks paddled around – we both decided that, yes, this is the life for us.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like your maiden voyage has been one of discovery! Both sorting out things that don't work as they should, to finding 'old' friends and new ones too.
    I'm sure you have made the right decision and we wish you nothing but happiness aboard your dreamboat! x