Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Catch up

I am way behind – a mixture of having too much fun with friends and then areas of no internet access, so a warning – this is a big posting which is done for our records, not to bore anyone else out there!  If you are interested just skip through and enjoy some of the photos!

Wed 18 Sep 2013
Preston Bagot to Wootton Wawen and onto to lock 50 Wilmcote bottom lock
7 miles, 13 locks, 2 aqueducts

We met up with Boatwif and the Captain from nb Cleddau as planned at Wootton Wawen – the place Chris and I went from on our very first hire boat – well first narrow boat, we had been on a plastic job many years before on the Severn and the Avon.   Thus our first trip with friends of forty years standing as visitors on nb Tentatrice began.

The weather was good when we picked them up, so after filling with water and diesel at Wootton Wawen
(what a weird place to have a water point – thankfully no one was waiting to use the aqueduct)

we continued on crossing the Edstone Aqueduct

to Wilmcote bottom lock.  Years of practice – we have good locking rhythm between the four of us, so we made good time getting a picture for Lynn on the way – he is smiling I promise you!  

We passed this house
 whose garden goes on
and on
and on
 and on

Thurs 19 Sep 2013

Wilmcote Bottom Lock to Bancroft Basin, Stratford-upon-Avon
 2 miles, 5 locks

Just a quick trip down to the basin where there were several moorings to choose from. 
A stroll around the town and bit of shopping.  Monty’s reward for being left was a game of ball on the recreation ground
  and ours was a meal out at Lambs Restaurant that evening. An early celebration for the Captain's birthday
I just love those decorative cabbages.  The meal was excellent as was the company.

Friday 20 Sep 2013

Boatwif and I did a theatre tour – very informative and something else I would recommend.   We learnt about ‘Voms’ (the diagonal walk ways that actors enter and exit the stage on through the audience), the cost of some of the high tech equipment (the one that controls things that move (trap doors, lights, flying actors etc) cost £44,000), that assistant stage managers are usually female and nothing happens until they say so (what power), wigs take 1 to 2 weeks to make and cannot be put on or taken off by the actors – they have to wait for the wig specialist, many actors have to have up to nine scripts in their heads at any one time and many more fascinating insights to this fabulous theatre.  We also took a trip to the top of the tower – a magnificent view.   
 Tentatrice was hiding behind the big tree second to the left!
We took the lift up and walked down – a trip worth doing as there are a lot of pictures of very famous actors to view as you descend. 

Lunch was taken overlooking the Stratford boatyard where Boatwif and the Captain took their first hire boat from.  So full circle for all of us this trip.
 We went for a walk along the river in the afternoon with Monty

a stop at Holy Trinity Church was included
where Shakespeare is buried.
Monty is being a rebel and is not staying on his boat when we are moored (training in progress, but not in a busy town!), so we have to close the back doors, but he does not miss much.  Meerkat in training?
For the humans of the party there was a trip to the Swan Theatre to see Candide.  A new play by Mark Ravenhill inspired by Voltaire.  I am still reading the programme and thinking about optimism. 

Sat 21 Sep 2013
Bancroft Basin to the River Avon opposite the RSC via the head of navigation on the Avon
4 miles 1 lock

Into the lock to the river surrounded as ever by ‘gongoozlers’ (people who watch activity on the cut and in particular around locks).
Onto a very busy river – boats of all sorts everywhere and on to the head of the navigation on the Avon
stopping at the Sanitary Station at the old Bathing Place 
where there is a house for sale – any takers??
The house to look out for – wind (turn) here or it is too late!
We were not expecting these sights on our way back:

A garden party in good voice!
 It was not even particularly warm!
 How deep is the water?
Not very, but deep enough!!
 Also seen en route - is there a smarter chicken coop anywhere?
There were plenty of moorings opposite the RSC
We were joined in the afternoon by Monty’s breeder (Sheila) and her husband (Chris) along with Monty’s Grandma (Kate).  Monty wanted to play, but Grandma, she said ‘NO’!  
We did, however, all enjoy another walk along the river. After tea and chocolate cake (thanks Sheila and Chris), Boatwif and I were drawn back to the theatre to finish our tour of the costumes that are on display.  They are magnificent and most are very elaborate.
 Probably the simplest is the T-shirt worn by David Tennant in Hamlet which, apparently, they have to guard against light fingers! 
 Something else well worth doing in this wonderful town.

What a view from our mooring – the RSC at night.

Sun 22 Sep 2013
River Avon to Wootton Wawen
7 miles, 17 locks, 2 aqueducts

All good things have to come to an end and it was time to head back to Wootton Wawen.  First, across the river to fight our way through the swans into the lock and back onto the canal.
Then across the basin and we are on our way.
It was a fairly slow trip, but with good company.  We were behind a boat with a hen party and what a pleasant group of girls they were.  The bride is on the gunwale – she is getting married on 19th October in Warwick, so we are all hoping the weather is kind to her.  She had told her friends she wanted something different that involved activity!  Her briefing was to bring an anorak.  She was thrilled with what had been arranged. 
In front of them was a hotel and butty.  There was a very long wait at the first lock, but once they got going they were very efficient.
It was a very busy day
The boat behind us had a crew from Australia, who unfortunately dropped a windlass into the cut.  We lent them our magnet, but to no avail – it was aluminium with no bull dog clip!
Back across the Edstone Aqueduct – Boatwif walked across this time to try to capture us in transit.  If she does a blog we may appear on there! We do!  nb Cleddau - please go and have a look - it is well worth a read.
 We are nearly there and will miss our crew!  Many hands and all that…..
Back to Wootton Wawen and another water fill up, but this time there was a queue - First one boat
and by the time we had finished there was another.  Thankfully they were both patient and not in a hurry.

The Captain and Boatwif unloaded, we moored up on the 24 hour moorings and went for supper in The Navigation and then it was time to say farewell.
A fabulous few days – thank you both for your company and help. 

Mon 23 Sep 2013
Below bridge 53 at Wootton Wawen to above bridge 53
200 yards!

We awarded ourselves a day off, moved to the other side of the bridge off the 24 hour moorings, did some domestics and then went for a walk to the village of Wootton Wawen where we visited St Peter’s Church and the Saxon Sanctuary.

It was certainly worth a visit.  
 The font had what looked to be a very heavy lid that was attached to the ceiling


 A lightning strike on the day Princess Diana died
This was the extract from the Vicar in the following month's Parish magazine
 We also looked at this smaller church, but it was closed and we did not find any information about it.  The graveyard is still in use, but the door did not look as though it had opened for a while
we walked past Wootton Hall and grounds – somewhere to explore next time we come this way.

What a lovely touch – seen outside the local shop.
And for my craft making friends – there is a craft shop in Wootton Wawen (and for everyone else the farm shop is worth a visit) – I went in and came out having spent ….. wait for it…….£3!!


Les Biggs said...

Hi Jenny/Chris
So nice you are having a great time. I have yet to take Jaq to Stratford but I enjoyed it a few years back.
Can we have BIG pictures in the blog post. Nice to scroll down and read and view.

Jennie said...

Your wish is my command, Les! I have discovered how and they are all bigger now! Stratford has to be on the 'to do' list for the future as I am sure Jaq would love it. Jennie