Monday 19 May 2014

Lost and mush

So here we were, past tense as I am now at home.  A quick flit from Bradford-on-Avon to the marina where WaL is now safe and soundly locked up for a fortnight.  Well 13 days as David reminds me.
Packed up then I gave him the choice of cleaning out the shower or cleaning out the fridge…. 
Luckily we had eaten all the soft fruit on porridge that morning so not much left in the fridge.  Last year there was an unfortunate incident when Dearest Darling went off on his bike to buy strawberries and milk.  We were of the Staffs to Worcester canal at the section where the river is close to the canal and two towns all joined together by a country park.  David went off on his bike, the first Co-op was too small so he was directed to another,  found it but by that time the boat was lost!!  He asked a dog walker where the canal was but she insisted that there wasn’t one!   Eventually long after he had lost his temper he phoned me and said “Lisa I’m lost, I can’t find the boat!”  Reader I didn’t laugh much….. well not when I was on the phone to him anyway.
He rejoined the canal some 3 miles ahead of the boat and then me.  Sadly the strawberries had been bumped over this full distance on the tow path and were total mush.  So you see why I don’t allow soft fruits in the car.  Eggs too come to that.

One more story from the last day, David’s head is prone to burning as bald men’s are, so as the sun was out he put on the expensive sun cream.  (He usually makes a fuss) then on went the wide brimmed hat.  
“Lisa!! I can’t find my glasses”  we were trying to set off at the time, but it is annoying when us old folks put down glasses and then can’t see them so of course I went to search, 
“Where were you standing?” says I, 
No glasses, empty counter top, I looked on the floor, in the drawer, on the bed, in the bathroom, on the table….. in short on every counter.  Now my husband is ├╝ber clever, he may not look it but he is.  He is also, at limited times, hilariously daft.  This turned out to be one of those occasions.  As I turned to face him I simply collapsed into helpless giggles as the arm of his glasses was poking down his forehead.  Turned out that while he was putting on the suncream he put his glasses in the hat and put the hat back on…. Worthy of Morecombe & Wise me thinks.  I would have taken a photo if I had not have been doubled over with laughter.

So there we are.  Home and swapping winter clothes over for summer ones.  The weather is bound to change and we shall be cold!  

We’ll talk again in 12 days time if you can contain yourself Reader.

I have included photo this to pay tribute the the old adage "No man was ever shot whilst doing the washing up"

Sunday 18 May 2014

Thrusting and wallops

We had already decided to leave Bath early, the urge to be noisy was irresistible.  There was a lot of bow thrusting and an accidental blast of the horn too.  I only wish I had read your comment NB Amyjo  HERE  first about a wallop with the pole.  
I like to think he was startled enough to sit up sharply and bang his head….  

The day was total blue sky and no clouds at all.  There was a snide comment from someone suggesting that this is the best time of the morning, EVERY morning, the sun was very warm and it felt like summer even so early in the day.

I had forgotten to put these photos up of the approach into Bath the other day so here they are.  Wrought iron bridges, short tunnels and a house over the canal.

Lovely stone walls and bridges as you approach the locks at Bath.

The stone work has this special finish I think called Rusticfication.

This was the head office of the K&A Canal company. 

The entrance into Sydney Gardens now open, but was kept locked to keep out the canal folk 

Nice iron bridge.

The trip back to Bradford was quiet and sunny.  The rolling hills and woods made it for me the highlight of the trip.  Viewpoints through across the valley were breathtaking.  What do you think? 

Lovely stone bridge.

This is the other the swing bridge.

 At one of the two swing bridges a nice gentleman walked along from the boat he was working on to lend me a hand, rugged handsome too a bit like Clint Eastwood.  He is doing up his third boat to sell and pointed it out to me.  An ex-teacher now loving life, we joked that my teacher sister has just been made redundant and is still celebrating the fact. 
Yes Reader all this info just by doing a swing bridge together….!!!

Dundas Aqueduct looked rather good with the sunlight on it and no other traffic…

Goodbye Dundas

Dundas Aqueduct

We are trying to empty the fridge today, eating all thats left over there, it makes for odd meals at this end of a trip… but today we had our favs, bacon and avocado sandwiches (after I had done both bridges) which even if I say so myself, were divine.

There were a couple of these parked along the way.

Beautiful white candles.

Am quite liking this.

Small argument developed towards the lock at Bradford, only a baby one really, I said “There’s a space there lets get on it”
“He says no we’ll go through and find somewhere”
I said “Lets get in here and pop up and see what spaces there are”
He says “There’ll be room”
Well we did pull into this perfectly nice space, I insisted that he went up (At Bradford you can’t see over the lock, you have to walk around the pub and over a road to get to the lock)  I insisted because in the past I have said we’ll never get in there and we have plus you’ll easily get in there and we haven’t. So grumpy captain scooted off and came back saying yes there’s a space and a boat leaving the lock by the time you get up there.  Fine.
It was a wide beam leaving the lock,  a youngish guy driving it out, calling instructions to a much older chap at the paddles, this older chap was much handicapped by holding two windlasses, a camera and a pair of gloves.  I reckon he was in his late 70’s.  So as he was trying to put the paddle down the windlass whizzed off the thingy, I yelled to get back as it came up but luckily it hit the boat below the gunnel and landed on the side not the water.  
“Oh you have to watch that” helpfully called the captain as he exited….  Now I though that it was a bit of a cheek that this older chap should be left doing the heavy stuff while the younger guy had the easy job, but it turned out that these two weren’t even on the same boat!  This older chap was from a boat below the lock waiting.  I did the other gate for him of course.  He really didn’t understand what he was doing, so I tried to call across helpful hints..
Anyway, the lock was emptied and David appeared below and then the other boat also appeared.  But blow me down another much much younger driver of that boat too had left this older guy doing the heavy work.
Well up came the boats and then I saw that this older chap had wandered off.  He wasn’t even from this boat in the lock but another further back!! I don’t know how many times he had got suckered into doing other peoples locks and I felt very bad for him.

David’s face was a picture now.  That elusive spot had been taken!!!  It and only been about 15 minutes but it was taken and I recognised the boat too, it was  NB Pedal with whom we had come down the Caen Flight with the previous week.  They have plans to go up the Bristol Channel so this was a chance to have a bit longer with them before we part company again.  We did get in comfortably behind them so all was well.
Breakfast time for them but lunch time for us so I cracked open a bottle of Sparkle to enjoy in the sun.
About 40 mins after all this, the boat came past with the old chap sat at the back.  His captain was younger than him but not by much!!!!
Drinks in the pub opposite in the evening with Tony and Patsy.
Supper was a Fab steak with salad and sweet potato wedges

Friday 16 May 2014

A day in Bath.

So a day in Bath lay ahead, my resident weatherman indicated there would not be another monsoon as happened yesterday, he even tried to wear shorts.  This was not met with approval, but I managed to find him a clean pair of trousers.
We both achieved the long jump off the boat and decided to walk down into the city centre going through The Sydney Gardens.  The canal was built right through the very posh end of town, with its large stone villas, this was in the gardens.

 Minerva's temple

View from Sydney Gardens
Very nice they were too.  We followed our noses a bit more and found this.

Poulteny Bridge, not completely sure what that line is....

River Avon.

I realised I was leaning my phone and my credit cards over the river at this point.

The famous weir

We wanted to take the tourist bus and jumped on one as stopped, we went upstairs after parting with £26 (a reduction had been made due to me having our NT cards on me), disappointment was swift when the sound system failed, we changed seats, nothing, changed seats, nothing changed seats to mumblings of "Muscial chairs again!"  coming from behind us….  
Then a gruff Yorkshire accent pipped up “Its not working love….?”  
“Yes” says she the commentator, we are doing all we can but some people can hear.
I wasn’t thrilled to hear that, and nor were others.  She invited us to make our feeling known to the manager who was onboard.  I was delighted to  do just that at the end of the ride.

Anyway the sun made it a lovely day and following that we went into a cafe on Poulteny Bridge looking over the river to have a bite to eat.  
Afterwards we walked through Bath Market which was sort of on the way to the next bus tour, (this one had a working sound system, I checked first) and took us steeply uphill for a Skyline Tour, which went along a ridgeway almost on three sides of Bath looking down right over the city.
We hopped off here at Priory Park, a NT wooded restored garden in the Romantic style of when it was created back in 1780-ish.  The House which was a stunner built in Bath stone was built for himself by the wealthy Bath Stone Quarry owner and is now a school and not open to the public.  

The school, formally a house, "To see all Bath and to be seen from all of Bath"
Not a bad place for a school methinks

Some mighty fine railings oh and the view of Bath.

Did I tell you I love gates, especially iron ones.  So NT....

The gardens were lovely but tricky to get to, they are out of town, no parking that we could see and extremely steep.  Consequentially quiet!
Back into town and right past the locks and the river.  Next stop a good tearoom where we shared a pastry.  Then a stroll nose following again then dinner al fresco in a stone walled courtyard that was away form the traffic and felt like Italy. 

Some dramatic skies as we walked back but not downpours.  A relaxing evening back in the boat.

This is Great Poulteny Street, only one row deep of houses built but many more were planned.  The war with France was the reason they were not built

Miss J Austen lived here with her family for several years.

Although she did not like Bath herself.

Our mooring at Bath, David going in the cratch head first after a "Leap of Faith"
The total Git strikes up again at 8:30pm, he carefully avoided my eye of course as I pointed out the time to him….  This evening it was his engine not the generator which was much louder than the and was accompanied by clouds of blue smoke into our cratch.  
Now I am not a confrontational person and would not like to approach him so we put up with it.  But we plan to leave in the morning early, gosh wouldn’t it be awful to accidentally wake him?

I found this shot when we arrived. I was trying to photo the view.     Total Git's boat, no name, no number and the only tax disc was on the water side.  I would urge you to consider his personal habits before mooring up behind him...

Thursday 15 May 2014

A bun fight and a total git.

9-ish and we left our mooring near the lock at Bradford and we moved along to the only water point right before the lock.  This morning there were not any boats moored on there so we filled up being down to our last 2 pints.  
It was a bit of a bun fight here today, when full we vacated the water point and hovered, a hire boat arrived and waited on the water point, it was their first ever holiday and their first ever lock.  I am surprised that a Hire company send out a total novice crew with no idea and not having even done one lock before!  Believe me they had no idea…
I walked to the lock and David floated around as is his want.  One of the crew of the novice boat was at the lock already and was having a purple spotted fit that our boat had “Pushed in”, not surprisingly I kept quiet.  She walked off to remonstrate with the captain and I was left sniggering,..... quietly.  The lock keeper seemed to completely disagree with this lady and went off to explain his view, to her and the crew.  
All was happy on his return, he told me that they thought the lock process would take three hours and they would be there all morning rather than the actually ten minutes to refill it, oh dear.  
All happy now we went in and away, but not before the lock keeper had told me that there had been three people doing the mooring enforcing in this area, one had died, one had retired and the other had left! They are currently having a recruitment drive for volunteers. Good luck to them, I hope people come forward.
The tow path for the entire way to Avoncliff form Bradford-on-Avon some mile and a half is lined with moored boats.  Most of the mooring posts have been amended, by that I mean having the visitors mooring time removed, so that’s alright then.

This at first sight was a cute cottage....

Then behind it was this expanse of three cottages.

The beginning of Avoncliffe Aqueduct.

The Avon river below.

I jumped off and he said he'd wait for me......

Going over the Avoncliffe Aqueduct was slow due to three boats in a row, so I hopped off telling David to wait for me as I knew there was no one behind us.
 I went down the path to photograph it.  
It was a bit further down than I had thought, taking some photos the best as I can on my phone as my FAB camera is bust. Then with an eye on the time I ran back up the slope, up the steps and was thrilled to see he wasn’t there….. I ran along around the bend spotting him way away in the distance.  Finally I caught up and had to leap on over a large gap, he feared mud would ground him he said…
Anyway the trip was rather lovely to Bath from Avoncliffe, the canal skirted one side of a valley, attractively wooded in places with rolling hills beyond.  The warm sunshine added to the enjoyment too, I had to fetch out the captains sunhat!
Going over Dundas Aqueduct we spotted Harnser   HERE  coming towards us.  We were pleased to see them as we knew they have been someway ahead of us on this canal.   Actually we had been moored up on the same stretch on the South Oxford but hadn’t had the chance of saying hello until today.  A quick chat about moorings in Bath, (Thank you for that) maybe we’ll see them again on the trip back on a different canal.

Diana and Brian of Harnser at Dundas Aqueduct. 

All was going well until a spiteful little swing bridge appeared.  I went off to do it.  Nothing, not an inch not a centimetre.  David got the message loud and clear and was going to moor up to come help, then I had the thought of going to the wrong side, I heaved and jumped and lo and behold it moved enough for me to run fast back to the correct end to heave it  again.  There has to be a moral in there somewhere, if at first you don’t succeed try doing it backwards. 
Then a nice sunny run into Bath.  It was busy, several hire boats arriving but hardly any moorings free.  We were determined not to go down the six or so locks here, if necessary we would retrace our steps back to Bathampton had we not been able to moor,  David asked a long hire boat if we could breast up, but they declined, they were fishing and even though we offered our comfy cratch and semi trad back with seats, non was the answer….  (Reader I have never said “No” and have offered others to breast up on us on several occasions).
We squeezed onto an end, we knew why it was vacant soon enough, a sticky out bit of bank means your front and back are way off the shore, so getting on and off is fun…
Landed, fed and watered, long jumped off and away we went into town.  Straight away the heavens opened and we were caught good and proper, damp now and sheltering in a shop doorway the excitement wore off a bit…
It was getting late so the shops were shutting but it was a chance to see what we wanted to do the following day.

This is the view of Bath from the cockpit of the boat.

We walked back from the river and up the locks and very attractive it was.  There were a couple of small signs at about lock four to say that the moorings on the river had been temporally removed and they were permitting space between a couple of locks for mooring.  This of course was taken up but we hadn’t seen any signs of this prior to the first lock.  I wouldn’t have been very pleased had it have been us and then we would have had to have gone down all the locks turned and come back up again.

A leap of faith to get back onboard, a G&T, Lamb Goan Xacuti curry and a comfy relaxing evening in the cratch, until at 9:30pm the boat in front started his generator, I kid you not.  He quickly scuttled inside avoiding my eye and he turned it off at about 11pm.  This is in a line of boats and we had seen him arrive back at his boat at the same time as us at 6:15pm, three hours earlier.  
What a git.

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Amanda leaves, and takes us with her!

Yes Reader, today we all jumped ship.  Amanda had to go home and very kindly took us with her.  To Debdale wharf in Leicestershire to collect our car.  
We left about 8:20am jumped in her car, the one with the wonky wheels.  First stop the garage, no not to fill up but yes you've guess it to pump up the tyres.
Bradford although very beautiful, grinds to a halt on a Monday morning early with the school run and rather a lot of dustcarts, I think we counted five in ten minutes.  
Dustcarts and tiny streets do not make god bedfellows.
But whiz whiz and we were there.  Off she went to make her husbands lunch and keep him sweet, (Then he will let her come and play again).
David and I had coffee with Mr&Mrs Lovely Tubbs, our neighbours at Debdale and jumped back into our car, it started first time and had puffed up tyres too. 
We headed south well south-ish.
Getting a bit stiff we decided to stop for tea and  stretch our legs at Bourton-on-the-Water.  It was a mistake.  It was simply full of old ladies, tea shops, gift shops and coaches.  Three cute bridges too.  Whoever could actually live there I cannot imagine, there is nothing there to see apart from three cute bridges and tourists.  We passed up on tea and were gone inside 30mins.

Cute bridge

Another but a different one.

WaL in the distance at Bradford on Avon.

 Arriving back in Bradford, we popped the car onto unrestricted parking place not annoying any home owner's and walked back to the boat.
Skinny supper was Fish with cous cous in an Harissa sauce with carrots and courgettes.