Saturday, 30 August 2014

Head to Head

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Floyd and Fletcher go head to head in the snoozing stakes

Friday, 29 August 2014

Popping downstream to Pershore

We pulled pins just after seven this morning and slipped away through Evesham passing a slumbering crew upon Waterways Routes.


Nb. Waterway Routes moored Evesham
 
Moored just around the bend from Yarwood were Paul and Christine Balmer on Nb. Waterway Routes.  Paul called in yesterday evening to say hello and called back again when he had completed his errands; that is, got the fish and chips in! 
Paul and Christine are out and about filming the Avon on their bow camera and updating their maps of the R. Severn and R. Avon. The newly updated products will be available for the Christmas market and you can obtain them from here.

Hampton Ferry

Hampton rope operated Ferry - you can see the windlass further up the back.  Nobody about this morning when we passed through so no need for the three blasts on the horn to get the Ferryman to drop the rope and allow us to cruise over it.

Apple orchards
We passed plenty of fruit orchards as we made our way downstream.  Apples and pears and hops.

Back in cruiser waters

Our first lock today, Chadbury.

Himself operating a windlass




The R. Avon, lined by willow and alder and slipping through its valley whose gentle slopes are covered in deciduous woodland including significant stands of sweet chestnut and hazel. 

Floyd supervising the filling of Fladbury lock, the second of the three will did today.


The people of Fladbury overlook the old watermill and the lock



Out of the lock at Fladbury and slipping along the lock channel below the enormous weir.
Fladbury water mill
A room, or two, with a view at Wyre Piddle
 

This property is more to my taste, green oak framed, just lovely.  Too big for me though, having lived quite happily on a narrow boat I would feel totally lost in something this big.  Probably couldn't afford it either...


And to Wyre Piddle Lock and its strange diamond shape.

Wyre water mill, now a boat club

An so to Pershore and our mooring on the recreation ground.
 
We will stay in Pershore tomorrow and explore our surroundings but for now I am off to walk the boys.
 

And to Evesham

We left our mooring above Harvington Mill lock (Robert Aickman New Lock), they all seem to have two appellations these locks, the usual geographic name, i.e. where it is, and then the name of the person or people it has been dedicated to, in this case Robert Aickman the co-founder of the Inland Waterways Association.  Anyway off we set and just around the corner is George Billington/ Offenham lock with the full range of boaty services available.  We availed ourselves and then worked through the lock.

Yarwood in George Billington/ Offenham lock

Offenham Light, the floodproof lock keeper's refuge dedicated to its builder Eric Pritchard

Boys on deck
 
We have been getting into a new routine on rivers now that the deck is accessible to us all.   Fletcher is still nervous of being on the deck, Floyd doesn't do nerves unless he thinks his 'Mum' is leaving him - usually the wrong side of a stile he won't jump - but as each day has passed Fletcher shakes a little less, sits down and has been known to lie down, albeit briefly.   As we approach a lock I usher them back inside the boat, close the front doors and get the boat secured on the lock landing.  The boys then rejoin me as I prepare the lock then it is back aboard for them while Joe brings Yarwood into the lock and I close gates, open paddles and gates etc. and jump back on board as Yarwood exits the lock, the boys then come back on deck.  They are getting accustomed to this river travelling and I am sure that I will soon be able to leave them to mooch about the deck without my presence/supervision.
 
Waiting to go into Evesham lock
 
Approaching Evesham lock we completely missed the lock landing which is on the left going down stream and stretches across the top of the weir.  Never mind, we survived and will know for the next time.

Evesham lock, the end of the Upper Avon Navigation and the start of the Lower Avon Navigation, now amalgamated.

Downstream of Evesham lock
 
See the Lock keepers accommodation to the left of the shot above, very 1960's influenced architecture though not built until 1972

Moored on the Workman's Gardens mooring in Evesham
 
As we moored up yesterday a chap wandered along and warned us about some potential anti-social behaviour from a group of EU migrants that have been drinking and urinating in the gardens.  Oh great we thought, 'do we stay or do we go now?'   We stayed.  We had no unpleasant experiences or disturbance from anyone so we will not be labelling Evesham as bandit country in fact Evesham is just lovely and we enjoyed our wander about the town later that day.

Looking at Workman's Bridge from the Abbey Gardens (across the river from our mooring)
 
I took the dogs for a walk through the Abbey Gardens which are just superb, rising up the hill from the river to the summit and the remains of the old Benedictine Abbey.  There is plenty of municipal planting, lily ponds, tennis courts, play areas for little and large brats, a rowing club and dog walking and all very well maintained; a vey good advert for the Town.

Bell Tower of the former Evesham Abbey

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Cruising the Avon

Arriving in Stratford-upon-Avon on Thursday late afternoon we found no room in Bancroft basin so while Yarwood was in Stratford lock ready to drop down on to the river I dashed into the Avon Navigation Boat and purchased a two week 'licence' at £60.  Dashing back to a half empty lock I then entertained the myriad of tourists by running around gates,winding paddles and explaining what I was doing and how it all worked.  With the gates open Joe shot off like a rat up a drainpipe leaving me to find my way to the other side of the river in search of my 'home'..  Our first night moored on the river was, I am ashamed to admit, half across a water point.  I know, will I ever live that down? 
Early next morning, very early, we moved into a space that was being vacated by the couple we had  come up the Hatton flight with.  We could now hold our heads up.

 Stratford, legitimate mooring

 Room with a view
 
We stayed in Stratford for the next four days, wandered around the town a few times, walked the dogs out along the river, Joe did chores, watched the Grand Prix, hibernated on Monday while the heavens opened and we watched the river level rise...
Come Tuesday we moved off but the river was on amber and the stream was lively.  We moored up a after two lock and three miles.
 
 Moored above Luddington Lock
 
All services were available at Luddington lock so we serviced the boat, including giving her a wash, and set off this morning in glorious sunshine with a river that was hovering between amber and green...more amber, but the lower reaches so to speak. 
 
 Downstream towards Welford
 
 Binton Bridge
 
 Cadbury lock
 
 Bidford Bridge
The stream is still lively and getting Yarwood through the designated arch at Bidford was...artful.
 
 Harvington (Robert Aickman ) lock
 
Wednesday night mooring above Harvington lock
 
We called it a day a Harvington and moored up then took the dogs for an excursion as they had been confined to the boat whilst cruising - still a bit of an improvement though as they were able to be with me in the tug deck and see where they were going rather than be stuck inside the boat.  Whilst going off exploring we met blog reader Paula on, I think, Nb. Resolute as they worked through Harvington lock on route to Saul Junction.  I was given a gentle nudge to update...so here it is Paula. 
I must say, with the sun out I am thoroughly enjoying the Avon..

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Yarwood changes...the round-up

I promised Sue (Nb. No Problem) to publish some more photo's of the changes that we have made to Yarwood and as we, (read Joe), was able to finish a few things while being hunkered down and avoiding the awful weather of Sunday and Monday here they are.  

 
 The Refleks oil stove sits in a stainless steel tray which Joe had sprayed with car paint.  The tray was scratched when the stove was fitted so Joe set about rubbing it down , masking up and re spraying and finally removing the plastic film that had been used to protect the brass skin of the stove.  He also primed and painted the chimney collar and the new stainless steel adaptor that takes the stove chimney.

 We have used the same stone for the 'splash back' for the hob as that of the fireplace.

 A new Carbon Monoxide alarm fitted

New Fire alarm fitted

Steps with dog step/shelf open
 
 Here are the new steps that give us access from the saloon on to Yarwood's tug deck. The steps are demountable, breaking down into three components that store in a cupboard when not being used.  Critically we also had to come up with a way of making the steps dog friendly so the top 'step' is shelf-like and then half way down we have another dog friendly step/shelf that slides out of the way when people need to use the steps.

Steps with dog step/shelf closed.
 
We used them for the first time today and we were just a little anxious that Fletcher and Floyd understood the design aspects that were meant for them....spot on, it worked and that happily used their dog steps coming in and going out...result!!!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Forty Miles and Eighty Locks


A week on from our escape from Braunston and we now find ourselves moored on the River Avon at Stratford-on-Avon a journey of some 40 plus miles and 80 locks.

Last Friday we slipped out of Braunston early and headed for Calcott, dropping down the three Calcott locks and mooring up for a bit of breakfast before working through a further 10 locks and settling in at Long Itchington.  Here we stayed through Saturday and got the new steps rubbed down and varnished  again and I had a dedicated brass cleaning binge....not to be repeated for several months...at least.
Sunday we left Long Itchington and headed for Warwick and the bottom of the Hatton flight....we never made it... 
Having promised myself that we would stop in Leamington Spa one day rather than dash through I kept my promise and we cautiously moored up.  And what a treat.  Okay, Royal Leamington Spa is not the place it once was but neither is it shabby.  Lovely parks, well kept, Regency terraces everywhere, good shopping, lots of restaurants, cafes, pubs and an added bonus, a Bangla Festival in the Pump Room Gardens, a very colourful and great fun thing to behold.  The performers, dressed in colourful Indian dress, sang and danced non stop...where do they get all that energy?  
We stayed overnight, no problems at all, and the next day we had a visit from my brother and his wife as they returned to Essex from a weekend in the Lake District.
Visitors gone we moved on to Warwick ready for the ascent of the Hatton flight the next day.  We got ourselves a 'lock buddy' in the form of a narrow dutch barge owned by Geoff and Alison.  We took 2.45mins to get to the top, not our best time but not bad overall. We serviced the boat at the summit and moved on to Tom o' the Woods moorings and called it a day.
So yesterday we cruised up the GU to Kingswood Junction and turned on to the Stratford canal and headed south.  Seven miles and 17 locks later we moved overnight at Wootton Wawen.

 Kingswood Junction

 Left, right, left ,right

A Stratford Canal Barrel roofed lock cottage, you can buy one for £320k!

 Management grade supervision

 Wootton Wawen
 
 Having just rolled in this dusty filthy path he is now having a shake...does anyone want a second hand Labrador?

 Yarwood crossing Edstone Aqueduct being photographed by a Grandad and his Grandson and Me

 The Wilmcote flight and my new Brompton

 In action the author about her business
 
Who does all the work?

Nearly there

This morning we fuelled the boat at the Anglo Welsh base at Wootton Wawen, 95p and self declaration accepted, and then off again to cover a further seven miles and yet another 17 locks, and that will be it for the weekend bar a bit of boat shuffling to get a better mooring away from the 'shouty' rowers and their even more shouty coaches, love em.