Stourport to Stourport
via Droitwich, Beverley and Bridgenorth
Normally when we hire a car we quite often end up with a van, sometimes we hire a van and end up with a car, but on Friday Mick returned with a car which was the actual plan. Only this car brought out his more feminine side. Okay so it was blue, but a Renault Twingo in powder blue is not at all masculine and with all the white trimmed interior! We have spent the weekend hoping that nobody we knew saw us.
Friday evening we headed to Droitwich (by Twingo), which should have been our destination (by boat) a week ago. We were wanting to remind ourselves about the length of stay on the moorings in town, how cat friendly they might be and have a check out of the restaurants. Mick has a significant birthday on it’s way so we want to find a suitable place for a family get together next month.
The canal enters Droitwich from the River Severn then a lock takes you onto a stretch of the River Salwarp, it was in the amber when we were there. The level here is important as there is a tunnel under the M5 which is quite tight height wise on the best of days! Our route may not necessitate limboing under the M5 in May, but you never know.
Fish and chips seems to be very popular around the town on a Friday evening, every shop having a queue, not quite the right thing for a family gathering though. A walk around town to look for suitable restaurants gave us a short list. We decided to try one out that we felt was the top choice, but by the time we left after some very nice food, we had decided to discount it. So it looks like we’ll have to return to check out the next one on the list.
Saturday morning came along with a lot of activity around the basin. Narrowboats were coming down the lock to fill with water and then return, a cruiser appeared reversing with two chaps wearing hard hats. We then noticed that there was a crane returning lots of cruisers to the water after wintering on hard standing. After breakfast it was our turn to move, not far, just over onto the proper moorings where we could plug in and leave Oleanna for a night behind a locked gate.
Once we’d moved, avoiding cruisers we packed our bags for a night away. Just as we were ready we could see that the biggest of the cruisers was descending the top broad lock, so we decided to check on the river and see what was happening before we left. The bottom broad lock onto the river had it’s top gates open and the bottom paddles raised, they were having to lower the pound between locks to get this monster of a boat out of the lock and under the bridge. It looked like there was only a couple of inches to spare width and height wise, good job they had plenty of people around to help.
The level board showed that the river had dropped around 16inches from it’s highest. So we left Stourport with hope that we might be able to move on after the weekend.
The roads round here along with not the best suspension on the Twingo made for a bumpy ride across the country. When we reached the Howden turn off on the M62 it was a very strange feeling to be carrying straight on and not turning to cross over the Wolds to Scarborough. We were on our way to Beverley. Our B&B at The Windmill Inn seemed to have it’s water supplied from the water point at Hillmorton, rinsing shampoo out of ones hair took rather a long time!
A bus ride out of town to an East Riding village with one of the best and biggest ponds in the area. Storm (NB Blackbird) was celebrating his birthday, the village hall was already filling up with a queue of people wanting to pass on their birthday greetings.
It was lovely to see them again and get to meet their family and friends whom we’ve heard so much about. Much of the time we didn’t need introducing as we were recognised from photos from Bridgets blog. We have even been offered use of an address should we need one in the next couple of months whilst we’re around the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. Plenty of food, booze and conversation until the band struck up, then there was plenty of dancing going on.
The sound of the kitchen extractors just before 8am made sure we knew that breakfast would soon be served downstairs. This did mean that we were fed, watered, checked out and stood waiting for Boyes to open it’s doors at 10am. I wanted to get some curtain lining (I have no idea how the holes happened, one minute I was stood there the next I was facing the other way round and there were these big holes) to do a repair and have some spare should the need arise again!
The bells at the Minster were doing their Sunday morning warm up as we walked back towards the car through the pretty streets. It was a shame we couldn’t stay longer but we had other things we wanted to do whilst we had a
Back across the country to have another recky for Mick’s birthday weekend. This time to Bridgnorth, another pretty town along the River Severn. Bridgnorth sits high on a hill in between the river and the Severn Valley Railway (which will bring us here next month).
A good Sunday lunch was what we were looking for and ease of access from the Station. Peering through pub windows gave us two options for food and both could cater for a group. So we just need to check through their menus and make the decision. With that sorted some chilled medication was in order, I have a painful back at the moment and I needed some medication to help with the final leg in the car, honest!
Back at Oleanna all was well, Tilly had only managed to remove the cover from the overflow on the bathroom sink which was easily mended. Once we’d off loaded the
car Twingo it was a walk down to check on the river levels. A little bit disappointing, the flow was a lot less fierce but the level in two days had only dropped by about 5 inches and seemed to be levelling out again. We need it to drop by another meter before we’ll be able to see green on the boards again.
0 locks, 250ft, 1 girlie car, 1 restaurant a bit too much, 1 board in the amber, 48hr moorings, 1 yoghurt pot, 1 board still in the red, 1 humungous boat, 1 very big shoe horn needed, 1 twisted back due to cat litter! 1 dribble of a shower, 1 bus, 1 jolly birthday celebration, 1 very good band, 1 taxi to Old Waste, 7.56am kitchen turned on, 2 cooked breakfasts, 12 bells, 1.5 lining, 1 dead phone, 1 high up town, 2 steaming engines, 2 pubs, 2 chilled medications, £10 meal deal from M&S, 1 fishing heron, 1 transfixed cat, 1 river still very much RED!