Tuesday, 28 April 2015

And back again......

Stoke Works to Droitwich Spa Marina
3 miles, 9 locks

It was bright and sunny, but cold and blustery with the odd spot of rain and even a few hail stones! Not a bad day to boat and we think one of the better ones for this week, so we set off from Stoke Works to return Tentatrice to her mooring in Droitwich Spa Marina.  It was, I am glad to say, an uneventful trip, but oh how we enjoyed it.  Roll on 16th May when we head off for the summer.

There was boat traffic about including two boats traversing the Astwood flight with just one person doing all the locking for both boats!  Two very slow boats to China, but thankfully we crossed paths rather than following behind them.  Then at Hanbury locks there was another boat - well what can I say, where do I start..!  We were in the top lock and were joined by a VLK (volunteer lock keeper) who stayed with our boat to open the bottom gates whilst I went to the next lock to get it ready.  I spied a boat in the bottom lock coming up, so naturally, as the lock was empty, I went to open the bottom gates ready for them.  I really do not know what went on at that first lock, but they took an age.  They left the gates open (thankfully) but left both paddles up!  By the time they reached the middle lock both crew were on board - for those that do not know Hanbury the locks are possibly 200 yards apart, so not exactly an arduous walk.  They are very deep, so if you go into a lock on the boat it is not an easy job to get out.  In they came and there they stayed just waiting for things to happen round them!!  The VLK had joined me by that time and went back up to the top lock with them and once again I think both crew stayed on the boat waiting for the VLK to do all the work!  I don't know if he got thanked, but certainly there was no word of thanks to me or even recognition that I might actually have been doing something to help them!!  We quietly went on down to the bottom lock and back to the marina.

Not many photos today

The pretty lock cottage at the lock before the bottom Astwood lock is coming alive with spring colour

They are still flying the flags of the USA

Wales, the UK and Canada - but these pictures are better than the last lot with no washing in the background!

Hanbury bottom lock which shows how deep these locks are and also how close together which was why I was so astounded that one member of the crew on the boat coming up did not walk!

Back to the marina and the new office is open and the old metal cabin has gone.  The offices are lovely inside if a little basic at present.  There will be a waiting area for boat crews downstairs with chairs that are relatively comfortable - they do not want to encourage one to tarry and disturb the working of the office.  For chat and socialisation they are going to furnish a boaters lounge upstairs with coffee machines etc.  Definitely a valuable addition to the marina.  It has come a long way in 4 years, is always busy and virtually full.

We had to wait until we got to the marina to see any ducklings - a family with five youngsters

and a Mum with just two

So that is it until 16th March when we head off for the summer - first north to Tixall Wide via Birmingham, Fazeley and Fradley Junctions.  There we will meet up with Boatwif and the Captain from nb Cleddau.  Then back down to Worcester for the Worcester boat festival on 12/13 June - if anyone reading this is going, please let us know and we will look out for you - we are booked in for the weekend.  It is our home canal and they are celebrating their bicentennial - something we felt we could not miss. From there down the Severn to Sharpness and onto Bristol (weather, tides and pilot permitting), next along the Kennet and Avon to London with diversions down the Basingstoke and the Wey before we think about heading for home. That should keep us out of mischief for a while.  If you see us, do give us a wave and say hello.

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