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Friday, 1 August 2008

Bath and onto Bristol

We reach Bath

After the exertions of getting to the museum the day before, poor Carol was in no condition for any walking on Friday and we were late up because of her aches. Anyway we set off to Bathampton & hoped to get rid of rubbish, fill with water & empty the loo. We managed the first 2 but there was no Elsan point. We moved off the water point to a pretty mooring just 100 yards further on & stopped for lunch, but when we tried to restart, all failed. I borrowed some jump leads from a customer at the pub we were alongside, but that was no good, but fortunately another chap there knew of a motor factor, to whom we spoke & a battery was promised by 4pm. It duly arrived but it had absolutely no charge in it, was bone dry & with damaged plates & it turned out it had been wrongly taken back into stock when previously returned as faulty. A new one was promised by 11 on Saturday morning.

The problem we had was we had not run the engine for very long and our charge level was low. We were also short of hot water, and the boiler would not fire..........Anxious night, was there something else wrong, with the fuel perhaps?

New battery on, fired first time, and we crept into Bath. Just ahead of us was a very wide beam boat that was moving forward, just. We had to keep dropping into and out of gear, but as we entered Bath we were able to moor up just past Br 188 in a lovely quiet spot. Bath Boats were just the other side of the bridge & the loo problem was resolved.

We ambled down into Bath, the first touristy visit we had ever made to this lovely city. The weather was sunny & warm and we did touristy things plus a bit of shopping, and slowly walked back as we had not sorted out bus routes. The next day as we got onto the road by the boat a large orange bendy bus arrived, stopped & we were in town in 2 shakes, and there was a bus stop just the other side of the bridge on the way back, FANTASTIC. Our amble into town took us down Great Pultney Street, one of the most beautiful roads in the country.

All around Bath there were these decorated pigs, 100 in all and they are to be auctioned off for charity. It is all to do with a legend/fable of a happening in Bath many years ago, whatever, they were interesting bits to add to our enjoyment.

I'm putting in a few pics of things we saw but all I can say is that we had a lovely stay, saw two plays(Portrait of a Lady and Born in the Garden) put on by the Peter Hall Company in The Royal Theatre which were excellent with well known cast members. We managed to fiddle two entries into the Roman Bahs, which was a good job as we didn't see everything on the first visit, in all we must have spent about 5 hours there in total. We also had breakfast ( at 11.30) in the Pump Room with a string & piano trio playing which we would highly recommend. We went to Choral Evensong in Bath Abbey (but now a church) where the choir from Sydney Cathedral in Australia was singing, and very well too.

In front of the Roman Baths/Pump Room & Abbey there was a series of buskers playing. This chap had built his own guitar playing machine that he played with his feet as he fiddled, he was quite good, I even gave him some money!! There was also quite the worst penny whistle player we have ever heard!

We bumped into "Marilyn Monroe" wandering the streets near the costume museum.
There was a new display starting that day & she was 2 hours late for the
opening!! The map I had enabled me to get her there, & I got the pic. We found
this museum interesting, but as we had spent most of our life in the industry,
perhaps we would. The Post Office Museum was of interest, but one thing that didn't
appear in the guides was the Guildhall. We have taken to taking Red Bus sightseeing tours and in Bath your ticket lasts for 2 days, gets you entry discounts, and gives you 2 tours, the city & the hills. One of the tour guides mentioned the Guildhall was fantastic. It is, but even better Carol asked at the front desk & this chap came up to switch on the chandeliers and he talked, and interesting it was too, and he also took us into the Council your heart out Blaby DC!

I also went round the Bath at work museum, but Carol was shattered again and sat talking to the lady at the desk. It turns out that her grandparents sold the land upon which my first school in Birstall was built!

We had a really wonderful visit and will certainly come back again. We were a bit naughty really, we were on a 72 hour mooring, but arrived at mid day on Saturday & left just before mid day on Wednesday. There did not seem to be a tremendous pressure on moorings and as we left there was a good length of mooring on the river below the bottom lock on the town side. It would have been quite close to the town centre, certainly to the bus station. Before we left Bath Boats we pulled back to fill with water and diesel plus empty the loo, but after just 70 litres of diesel had been put in, they ran out, so I rather worry bout water in it.

After leaving Bath there are very few moorings. There was also minor excitement as a boat that was coming up one of the locks had a bit of a whoopsy. The lady on the iller as her husband finished his bit of lock work managed to go hard astern and got the tiller wedged under the footboards on the bottom gates, and sheared it off! At the same lock as I raised the paddles to empty the lock a was girl holding the bow rope of a boat waiting to come up. I looked up & saw she had not taken a turn round a bollard & she was looking a bit precariously perched until I ran down & got a turn of the rope on the bollard.

We moored overnight on pontoon moorings a short distance past Swineford Lock, with a steam train pootling along the railway bridge alongside. I prepared the anchor for our tidal run into Bath the next day, but a call to the Netham Lock keeper advised me that we could cruise down anytime that day, very unlike the position on the Trent. The cruise was toally uneventful, the river was no wider than the river Soar in Leicestershire and it turns out that there is a wier by Netham Lock that retains navigable river levels an this is only overtopped by the tide on just a few days at Spring Tides. We saw an egret whilst cruising down this stretch and many kingfishers.

We had to stop at the lock to pay our dues, and were very lucky. Because this weekend is the Bristol Harbour Festival we only paid £20 from mid day Thurs until mid day Monday, if we were on a serviced mooring it would have been £40, but at other times the rates seem pretty high. More on Bristol next time.

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