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Monday, 28 September 2009

22 - 29th Sept to Worcester

22nd Sept started coolish and overcast as I started to T Cut and polish the starboard side of Lily, previous polish a few weeks ago didn’t look good hence drastic action, the paint is now 6 years old. Wandered into Kinver again for a coffee and a few bits before setting off after lunch. Day had brightened and warmed up with glimpses of sun. Pretty cruising including through areas of rock cutting, a very soft sandstone made this an easy option for the builders, including this rock hewn horse stable at Debdale lock.







After just 6 miles and 4 locks we tied up in Kidderminster outside Sainsburys. We had the most minute shower of almost mist for perhaps 5 minutes before brightening again. Good mooring point and polishing re-commenced, unfortunately the towpath alongside was gravel surfaced and very well trafficked. With the dry weather the boat son became covered in dust, all along the starboard side!

Wed 23rd we did no cruising but instead had a lovely day on the Severn Valley Railway from Kdderminster to Bridgenorth and back, stopping for an exploration of Bridgenorth first. What a lovely old town, loads of interesting buildings, different shops, a great array of pubs (not visited) and this interesting cliff railway from the Upper Town to the Lower Town.



This incredible old house at Bridgenorth Lower Town was built by a barge owner in 1580 and was one of the few buildings to survive the Civil War.


A view of Bridgenort High Street


This old fashioned butchers had its display window open to the street in the old style, though all the meat was under a clear plastic cover.

The railway runs alongside the river on a lovely route and has a surprisingly frequent service most days of the year, and we were amazed at how busy the trains were. Highly recommended at £12 a head for oldies. Bewdley was the stop we used on the way back and this town presents a lovely front to the river, though a front that all too often has been subject to flooding over the years, though a de-mountable flood barrier now protects these buildings.

Bewdley river front.

We didn’t stop too long, Carol’s back was very tired, and we caught a bus back to Kidderminster, saving us the fairly long walk down from the station.

It being Wednesday we tried our 2 for 1 Orange film vouchers in the tiny cinema. The film was saw was atrocious, or at least the half hour we watched was! I carried on with the rubbing & polishing.

Thursday 24th dawned misty but bright and we had bright sun all day from 10. Staff from the Sainsburys store were seen on a litter picking patrol along the towpath and in the undergrowth. We were horrified to see how many syringes they collected in a 200 yard length, what a sad reflection on the lives of some people.

I finished off work on the starboard side and we set off late morning. Arriving for the second lock I saw a kingfisher fly up and land, and then set about working the locks which had an interesting locking mechanism to inhibit vandalism. Carol had the sight of the kingfisher emerging from the water with a fish in its beak. We arrived at Stourport at 2.30 having covered 4 miles and 4 locks. We got a good mooring above the lock with the towpath on the port side, this time a nicely tarmaced surface, though used as a dog loo too much.

This interesting crane was on the opposite side of the canal to our mooring.

As was this interesting boat which I seem to recall is powered and steered by vectored thrust through two tubes at each end.

We had a wander round the historic basin and bought some new waterproof/breathable jackets at a “factory shop” before I started cutting and polishing the port side, but not for too long as it being a Thursday and there being A Wetherspoons in Stourport we were off for our curry & a drink for £4.99, and excellent it was, but I did need a second pint!

Friday 25th was supposed to be lovely and sunny all day, but it was overcast and coolish much of the day until the sun eventually arrived in late afternoon. I finished off polishing, and then set to touching up small damaged areas on the navy paintwork using a fine artists brush. When it has hardened I’ll see how well it polishes up, but even as it is it has improved the look. Lily looks much better after our work on her outside and in, and the fine weather ensured the laundry got a good airing.

Sat 26th and we were off down the Severn to Worcester, but not before we filled with water and incredibly, just as we were about to set off two boats passed us, including a very smart “trad” T.S.Element with a lovely Gardiner 3 cylinder engine. We not only had to wait for them to descend the lock, but then found they were both filling with water, just what we needed to do! I found another water point on the new mooring pontoons on the opposite side of the basin & used that, and we set off a few moments after they did, again!



Coming out of the Stourport basins there are two 2 lock staircases, and after one of these boats had gone down, a boat came up. Eventually we got to the top of the locks, and stopped to fill with diesel, needing nearly 200 litres. I declared 60% propulsion at £1.07, 40% at 62p. Incredible that we get red diesel at a greater cost than road fuel, despite the fuel being not so good! I initially understood that HMG was not wanting to introduce the removal of derogation on this tax imposition, but I have heard during this summer of enquiries being made of retailers as to why peculiar levels of propulsion fuel had been declared.

Anyway, £175 poorer we emerged from the final lock at 12.30 and set off down stream on a lovely afternoon. We thought we had found a nice spot to tie up and watch qualifying for the Singapore GP, but the pontoons were still under construction & the publican didn’t want us to tie up, so we carried on through the 3 manned locks down to Worcester and tied up alongside the Race course in a section that was nominally closed for refurbishment, and at a charge of £3.20 per night. We cruised all the length through Worcester and the recommended moorings below Diglis locks looked ideal, except the developers of the new apartments had fenced off access and they were barred.

Part way between Stourport & Worcester is this, the entrance to the Droitwich canal which is nearly ready for re-opening we believe.


The river was pretty and with hardly a boat moving. We shared one lock with a cruiser and both he and another one, both with fly bridges etc, had very smokey exhaust. He gave me a very odd look when I asked him if he would cut is engine whilst in the lock – obviously he has never been in locks on the Thames where the lock keepers get everyone to cut their engines.

After watching the re-run of qualifying I set off walking to have a quick reconnoitre of the city, with Carol far from the best at walking I decided I needed to eliminate wasted walks. There are some lovely bits to the city, and some not so lovely bits from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Carol wanted to go to Communion at the Cathedral, but she also wanted to watch the GP, they clashed so she will catch an Evensong sometime.

Sunday 27th I walked around the city to suss out where we can moor on the canal. We are off to Narborough by train on Wednesday for the official opening of a car park I designed and supervised and over the weekend are off down to see Clare. Ideally we would like to get into a marina so we can plug into mains power to leave the fridge & freezer on. After a phone call and a chat with someone on his boat, I’m not so sure we will be able to so are likely to have to cart the frozen food with us, though fortunately there is not too much in it.

After the GP we had an amble round, which we also did on Monday, including a visit to the Cathedral, which is a lovely place and interesting. On Tuesday we are visiting a National Trust property in the city, and when we leave we will catch another as we pass Droitwich.

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