Tuesday, 6 August 2013

We struck lucky!

Droitwich Spa Marina to JL Pinder & Son, Stoke Prior
3.5 miles, 9 locks

We headed off to Stoke Prior to return Tentatrice to JL Pinder & Son for her 50 hour engine oil change, general check and to fix the snags.  There are very few of the latter and most are very minor.  The new bow thruster is in and will be fitted this week.  

The forecast was for very heavy rain.  I therefore kitted myself out in walking boots, gaiters and a waterproof.  Our first stroke of luck today was the weather – we had a couple of very short, light showers.  It was quite muddy underfoot (I walked Monty from Hanbury locks to Astwood lock), so the boots and gaiters were useful.  

The locks were our other bit of good fortune today.  The Hanbury locks were all in our favour – always a bonus. 
Into the first lock at Hanbury
I enjoyed the walk with Monty – we are lucky to live so close to glorious open countryside.

At the Astwood flight of 6 there was a boat in front of us (CanalTime Holker Ender).  

 Usually a cause for dismay, but I spotted that they were a large crew (Mum, Dad and three teenage sons).  I was cheeky enough to ask if they would lend us a crew member if only to open and shut the bottom gates for me.  I am delighted to say that they readily agreed and Ollie (the eldest at 18), a strapping young rugby player volunteered to help me out. 
 He came equipped with windlass, so wound paddles as well as shifting gates.  The rest of the crew even started to empty the lock ahead as they left them.  Thank you.  To add to my delight we found that he was a very personable and interesting young man, so not only did he make our journey a lot easier, he entertained me very well for the time we were together.  He is hoping to read History at Warwick after he completes his second year in the sixth form next summer. We 
wish you every success.   Ollie, thank you for your help and thank you also to the rest of the crew for lending you to us.  Congratulations must go to Ollie’s Mum and Dad for raising such a fine young man.  I hope you see this Ollie and will let me know how long it took you all to complete Tardebigge?
Anyone else aware of this problem?

Spotted at
 Just before Stoke Prior

All too soon we were back at Pinders
Had unloaded
 and were ready to head back to the chaos at home.
To save having to think about an evening meal, we stopped at The Queen's Head at Stoke Pound for lunch. Work was still going on when I took this photo on 4th July.
The pub re-opened (yet again) on 12th July after a long overdue complete make over. It has been done very well and I would recommend this for treat (it is not the cheapest pub around, but we think it is worth the money) having done Tardebigge or to build yourself up in preparation.  The food really is very good and the portions are very generous - we could almost have done with one meal and a spare plate!  Each meal comes with a salad (help your self salad bar) and bread and oil/balsamic vinegar to start.
Where do you start - Chris's burger
My fish and chips - the best I have had in years
 The work is progressing well and we can see it will be worth the effort.  It is paint brushes and rollers for us for a day or so and then all the 'stuff' has to be put away!  We are hoping to have Tentatrice back by the end of the week and the work in the house done by around 13th / 14th August.  We can then start to think about our trip to Llangollen in September.


Lynne Latham said...

Hello Jennie & Chris. It's Lynne here, Olly's mum. He found your blog but with all you lovely comments he's too modest to reply in person. We are back home in Kent now and to the realities of day to day life. We envy your escapes on the waterways. We were happy to help with those few locks,its definitely an advanage to have a big crew! We were lucky with the rain that day as we had expected it all day. As it was it hit us half way through Tardebigge and fortunately for me i'd done the first half!! So the rest of the crew got very wet BUT from before entering the forst lock to leaving Top Lock was exactly 3 hours! We were very pleased.
We have had a lovely trip. Unfortunately we didn't manage to do the whole Stourport Ring as another boat informed us of a collapsed lock in Wolverhampton so we diverted through Birmingham and the Netherton Tunnel and then down. Until the last two days we barely saw another boat it was so quiet. We think that's because we set off on the Sunday so missed the majority of the holiday boats. In fact as we came back in to Worcester from the river yesterday there were queues of boats waiting to do the locks going the other way! So if we are lucky enough to do this again we'd try to start on a different day again.
We hope you have a lovely trip in September.
The Latham family (John Lynne Olly Dan & Tom) x

Jennie said...

Hi Lynne, thanks for dropping by and well done on getting the early dry shift for Tardebigge. Well done on the time - we will take a lot longer! Our planned date for that flight is 3 Sep, so if you pop in after that date you will see how long it takes us!
I am glad you had such a good time. Sorry you did not make the ring and also apologies for spelling Olly's name wrong. I am sure you will have more narrow boat holidays in the future - they are rather addictive. Maybe one day you will fufill your dream to get your own boat - we did!
Jennie, Chris and Monty. x