June 2018 diary

1 June 2018

We had intended to do the second phase into Stratford basin but the locks are hard work and after the flight of 11 I had had enough and needed a well deserved rest, we moored only 2 miles from Stratford and got the bikes off the back and cycled the rest to check everything out. Stratford basin is quite stunning, directly next to the RSC theatre. You can stay for 2 nights for free and this is worth every penny.

2 June 2018

Up early and a fill up with water and we were off to do the 5 locks into the basin. These locks were tight and very cramped going under modern bridges that barely gave head room. Lock 49 had a group of Russians next to it which for some reason I found intimidating. It was only 10am and they were drinking a lot. Someone had complained and 2 police arrived to move them on. The last lock and a sharp right bend and one last very low bridge and we arrived in this surreal place. We got a mooring and settled down for the stay. All the shops are so close and this really is a tourist centre. We only left the boat for 5 minutes and we had Chinese visitors sat on the back deck.

This sunny period is lovely and the temperature, like yesterday is getting hotter. I arrange to get a ticket to see King Lear on Monday and by using the £30 xmas voucher from R&D and claiming a  sixties discount I paid only £8 extra. Deal!

We stayed 2 nights in the basin and then bought our pass for the Avon, it was £50 for a week and £60 for 2 weeks (2 weeks it is). We moored across from the RSC which was amazing. Beautiful town and Shakespeare’s burial site had a surprise with my name sake his son in law John Hall. Great 4 nights here frequenting the dirty duck theatre pub on 3 occasions.

6 June 2018

On to Bidford on Avon which was lovely staying 1 night then on the 7 June we head towards Evesham. This market town is the home of my dad and relatives still live there. One telephone call and we are invited to tea with uncle Rob and Sue. The next day my sister and Paul arrived from London, for a family get together which was lovely and a meal at the Royal Oak was well received. Saturday had to be cleaning day as the trees on the river were limes and of course covered the boat in sticky goo. We moved the boat further down the river.

9 June 2018

Laurie and Catherine were driving back from Portsmouth after their Baltic cruise and called in on their way back to York, we had tea and a very nice to catch up.

Summing up Evesham the workman gardens are very pretty but have some dubious characters. It was noisy on a night and we heard of drug dealing on the benches near where we were moored. Friday night we were wakened at 4am by a fox barking. (A very strange sound not unlike a child.) A huge Polish community help to keep the market gardens working and they are very reliable apparently.

10 June 2018

Our departure from Evesham proved eventful as Mike accidentally put the boat into forward instead of reverse and went straight into the jetty of the local rowing club. As you can imagine our departure was accompanied by waving and loud cheering as our vessel drifted away from The hullabaloo 😱. A seriously beautiful cruise down to Pershore. The moorings are really good and a huge Asda is very close. We didn’t venture into the town (we’ll save it for another time). The weather is amazing.

11 June 2018

The start to the day is glorious, not unlike a French morning in the south). We set off at 10am heading for Tewksbury. I like river cruising with big locks and few of them lol. Tewksbury is or was a linchpin town but appears run down. The main Tewksbury Abbey is quite stunning and is the best Norman church almost 900 years old. We got a good mooring just through the king John Bridge, costing the princely sum of £3 for the night. A very hot day but cool evening. The warm weather is changing 😢

12 June 2018

We are up relatively early, fill up with water and by 10am we are doing the lock that gives us access to the Severn. All very exciting and we have 16 miles until we arrive in Worcester. It’s a sunny day. The river is big and has few points where you could moor. Upton on Severn looked nice with 5 pubs in view but It was too early in the journey. I decided to try the iron and our new pad table. It was OK

Arriving at the lock before Worcester they are very intimidating and vast. Fortunately the lock keeper was good and we survived. Mooring up on a large pontoon near the lock with a fantastic view of the Abbey. The weather is once again hot and after showers we venture into town. Heroes bar was a find in a medieval house. Côte brasserie was great and French onion soup  Belly pork with dauphinois potatoes, cabbage and tarragon spinach. Pud was peach crumble. 9/10 excellent meal!

13 June 2018

Sunshine again and a bit of tourism today. The Abbey is beautiful and contains the remains of King John and Henry VIII’s older brother Arthur. The stained glass is impressive too. The town hall/assembly rooms were nice with a impressive ballroom. I found some matching mugs in a charity shop to replace some that had been broken. We decide on going to The Flag and as per it was empty until very late. However we had a really good night and the barman was chatty and friendly. 1.30am to bed.

14 June 2018

It is a little windy today and Mike is not sure about travelling on the Severn in these conditions so we have another day in Worcester. I’ve have a walk along the Birmingham canal to wicked and B&M spending money and then I return and do work on the roof paint repair. Sunny day.

15 June 2018

Up the Severn, negotiating the electric manned locks and onto Stourport which was a large inland port where the big river boats put there cargo onto narrowboat in the large basin. Coming off the river we had to negotiate 2 step locks and then do a full service of collecting deisel and water, then getting rid of rubbish and a pumpout.

Surprisingly we spent £108 on deisel (and thank goodness it was only 79p a litre). Finally we called in at the chandlery and bought life vests and smell reducer for the toilet lol. In total over £300 spent. We moved onto the Stafford and Worcester canal and moored outside the bird in hand pub. A walk back to a more lively pub (the black star) and then kebabs coming back, good night.

We have been traveling along with 2 ladies in a boat called “wanderer” and apparently they have ghosting us since Stratford. Turns out they are heading up to Ellesmere on the Llangollen canal.

16 June2018

I had no idea how lovely this canal is as it moves north through Kidderminster ending up at Kivner for the night. The locks are quite deep at 10 feet each but it means there are fewer as you travel. We both enjoyed the trip and should get to the Shropshire canal tomorrow night. The last 2 locks of the day were a step lock and the branch which raises you 32’ 2” over 3 attached locks with side pounds truly amazing. There is a lock keeper to help in the summer months thank god! We moor above the lock and have a walk into Wombourne. We find a good pub that does Sunday lunch. 2 beef lunches, 2 bottles of wine and 2 sponge puddings for £36. Bargain

17 June 2018

The journey north continues and to see us on we have 98 fishermen doing a charity fish for prostate cancer. They are all spaced every 50’ and have to move their rods as we pass. It was like a guard of honour. 

18 June 2018

We head further north and arrive at the Shropshire Union Canal. We go through  the start lock which drops us down about 8” only. Our stop for the night is Brewood. The canal was built as a railway but in 1835 permission was not granted so it reverted to a canal. This means that it is travelling over embankments and through cuttings and there are no locks for miles.

England play football in the World Cup tonight so we make sure we have a good signal. The village has everything and won best kept village for 2018. Very nice. The bridge has a laundrette just opened, so we will remember on the way back.

19 June 2018

Only one lock today. Tree lined cuttings and open embankments and the occasional small tunnel. It is quite shading when the sun goes in. The tow path is on the left so we moor in a remote spot and I get the tools out and finally sort the gunnel rust with fertan.

20 June 2018

Setting off at 10am this morning. The canal is predicable with embankments and cuttings. The cuttings get very deep with steep sides at times. The canal gets very narrow sometimes only allowing one boat width. We followed 2 novices which helps our progress as they met oncoming boats first. It’s quite amazing that this was all built with pick axes and hammers. We get to the flight of 5 locks and easily descend. Market Drayton is our next town so we have a walk into the centre for some lunch at the very nice Butterclass tea rooms. It is market day on a Wednesday so we buy some nice steaks and veg and find a Morrison’s but have to keep the weight of our purchases down as we have a long walk back to the boat. Primer applied to the boat.

21 June 2018

Today it’s lock time. It is incredibly windy. We descend the first 5 perfectly with boats matching their accent. Then it’s on to the audlem flight of 15. First 7 again perfect then the old guys from yesterday struck. They only left the paddles up and nearly emptied the pound! Our decent from now on became slower and most upward boats ceased. However a total of 22 locks completed and a great mooring in Nantwich as a reward. We ventured into the characterful town and had a Thai set menu and wine. Excellent we are both shattered after the day and I go to bed at 9pm. I slept for 11 hours 10 minutes! 

22 June 2018

Fantastic sleep! Heading north to the Llangollen canal. A sharp left and 4 locks and perfect rise.

The weather has been beautiful today with blue skies all day. We do 13 locks and moor up south of Paley’s lock in the middle of nowhere. A gap in the hedge gives us a sunny evening and a BBQ using our purchased steaks. Amazing day! 2 episodes of Game of Thrones and the log burner to keep warm.

23 June 2018

Up very early and setting off by 7.40am. First 3 locks done and the triple step lock no problem without a lock keeper who surface at 9am. Water and rubbish dealt with and off with only lift bridges as we go. Even did a wash of whites lol. The rolling countryside is lovely. Further along this canal we stop 2 bridges before the narrowboat inn. It’s a good walk from our mooring along an unused path. The pub food was good and basic, good beer and very friendly staff.

24 June 2018

Today we will get to Llangollen. As the boat travels further it becomes more Disney by the mile. Quite stunning. First it’s Crick aqueduct and tunnels. There is a flow to the canal which makes it harder to travel and we collect many scrapes and bumps. The 2 aqueducts are amazing and considering the age of them incredible. Over the Llangollen aqueduct and a sharp turn left and 4 miles towards the town. This stretch gets narrower and on two occasions the canal becomes single. You are advised to go on ahead to stop boats getting in your way. Just as well as the first stretch we had 3 boats to contend with. At 4.50pm we get to bridge 45w and acquire our 2 night permit for £12. Bargain. The town sort of disappoints

25 June 2018

As we have a whole day here, up late. It’s another hot day. Mike cleans, I prepare the gunnels for painting. Next a walk to the horseshoe falls which was lovely. These canal developers were so clever. Lunch at the suspension bridge hotel gaining the only 2 seats with any shade on this incredible hot day. Back to our boat. I bits i will be painting are in the shade so I decide to paint it later in the day. First it’s off to the laundrette to wash the bedding and also do some shopping.

Back to the boat and I start the repaint along the whole gunnel. It went well and looked good. The finish is looking good.

26 June 2018

Happy birthday sis. Again the heatwave continues. Laurie arrives today for 4 days and should arrive around lunchtime. We have a very pleasant journey and decide to stop at the conference centre mooring on their jetty. Showered and in for a meal. The food was excellent and eating outside in the warm temperature was lovely £160 for 3 of us. During the night several of the drunk delegates were very roudy waking all the boaters at 2am even jumping in the canal afterwards. Here’s hoping the all get viles disease.

27 June 2018

Gentle trip today until the back up at the 2 locks. It took 1 hour 40minutes! On boat we’re trying to fill the lock with the panels left open. John to the rescue. We went down the Ellesmere cutting to Tesco for a shop. After choosing a mooring other loud boaters joined us so we moved on. Very quiet mooring was chosen with risotto and burgers for tea accompanied by baron de ley red, So good. Very hot day and no cloud.

28 June 2018

Projected 33 degrees today. We will try to do the first six locks before finishing today. Laurie makes my job easier with help on the locks. A pub meal before watching a disappointing England match.

It put a dampener on the rest of the evening.

29 June 2018

Last few locks down the Llangollen canal today as we head for Nantwich and Laurie gets his train back to Wrexham.

The Llangollen has been a lovely cruise and I think we will return but do it much slower.

30 June 2018

A lazy day in Nantwich recovering and I clean and polish the starboard side. All together June has been amazingly hot and dry with 29 degrees plus all month.

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