Thursday 30 April

We got up early to wind in the basin before the hire boats starting passing through. The breeze wasn’t too strong and we managed this easily. We filled with water and then went up two locks and moored again as we weren’t due in the marina until late afternoon.

After breakfast we started making preparations for returning home tomorrow and then took Max for a walk.

At 4pm we moved off and headed for the marina in Lowesmoor Basin. The marina entrance is quite narrow and the winding hole opposite is slightly askew to the north and we’d calculated that the best way to enter from the south would be to turn into the winding hole and then reverse back into the marina.

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Worcester Marina entrance

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Yellow – but not the Wasp!

Again this went to plan and we are now breasted up against a hire boat. It is yellow but it’s not ‘The Wasp’.

 

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Wednesday 29 April

A day of further exploration.

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Worcester  has many fine examples of medieval and Tudor buildings centered on the Cornmarket, Friar Street and New Street. We wandered past most of these before heading for the most prestigious – The Commandery.   This is a maze of half-timbered buildings that served as the Royalist headquarters for the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

The Battle of Worcester was the final battle of the Civil War when Oliver Cromwell beat Charles II, leaving Charles to flee for his life and his captured royalist supporters facing deportation to Barbados or Boston.

The Commandery museum covers six different time zones of the building’s colourful history and audio guides transport you through each of the periods but perhaps not all in one day as it takes an hour to cover just one time zone.   We elected to follow the history of the Civil War, although you could have focused on the time when it was a medieval monastic hospital, through to when the building was a print shop or a merchant’s house.

Afterwards we climbed to the top of Fort Royal Hill (the site of the battle) from where the views of Worcester Cathedral and the Malvern Hills were spectacular, making the climb well worth the effort.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Royal_Hill

Tuesday 28 April

We’d hoped to be at the front of any boats heading into Worcester this morning as the locks were set in our favour but just as we were preparing to set off a hire boat overtook us and so we waited another 15 minutes before setting off so that they would be clear of the first lock by the time we got there.

We passed under the M5 about half a mile north of Junction 6. The first two locks were empty as we knew they would be but the next pair were full and it was only as we started to empty them that we saw that the left paddles were broken allowing lots of water in from the top and we suspect someone had knocked the ratchet off causing the paddle to drop suddenly, rather than winding it down slowly. There were some CRT guys in the pound above so we alerted them and continued on our way.

Apart from one other lock we had the remaining nine locks to fill and empty.

At Bilford Top Lock we managed to trap a duckling in the lock with us and his Mum was very relieved to see him when he followed us out of the lock.

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We passed a couple of swans on their nest and as we passed one it was incubation change over time and we counted four eggs and on the other the swan was sharing it with a duck.

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We made it into Diglis Basin in time for lunch and filled up with water before looking for a mooring.

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There was a helpful pirate moored opposite who advised where not to moor.

We’d passed quite a lot of visitor moorings before reaching the basin and as we didn’t fancy trying to wind in the breeze we reversed up and just managed to squeeze onto a mooring before the bridge allowing us to moor our blank side against the towpath.

After a nice hot shower and a bit of a rest we headed off to the railway station to pick up tickets and had another ‘what a small world moment’.

There was a guy in the queue behind me and I asked him if he was in a hurry to buy his ticket and I explained that we weren’t travelling until Friday. He stepped in front of me after which the conversation between us went something like this when he asked…

“Are you going anywhere nice?”

“Yorkshire”

“No! Where exactly?”

“Beverley”

“Your’re kidding, I come from Little Weighton.”

At that point he got served after which it was my turn, so he continued conversing with Storm …

“So you’re from Beverley, actually my Dad works in Beverley – he has an office near the bus station, he’s a surveyor, Mike Glover”.

“I know him and I’ve done work for him”.

“Really, in what capacity?”

Storm explained how he knew him and asked to be remembered to him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday 27 April

On Saturday afternoon, when we were on the bus back to Tibberton , we’d spotted the Worcester branch of Howdens, and decided that we’d return today to pick up a new door for one of our kitchen cupboards.   After five years the ‘foil’ has come away from the mdf due to heat escaping from the oven.   We’d also planned to visit the cathedral.

We then read in Pip & Mick’s blog that they had delayed their departure from Worcester in order to do some sight-seeing today with a visit to the cathedral and we thought that if we bumped into them they might think we were stalking them.

There is only one bus out of Tibberton, other than the far too early school bus, so we made sure we caught it.

Kings Michael Baker Boathouse

  Kings Michael Baker Boathouse

We arrived into Worcester at 11 and strolled first along the River Severn and watched a Black Prince hire boat demonstrate how not to turn upstream from Diglis Basin after picking up its crew from the downstream pontoon.   Having checked that they hadn’t disappeared over the weir we walked away from the river and went to the cathedral.

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Here we learnt a bit more about King John, the Magna Carta, and having enjoyed the magnificence of allegedly ‘England’s finest cathedral’, we headed back out into the sunshine.

We stopped off for coffee and cake at Bill’s café where the waitresses were very chatty, before wandering aimlessly through the streets admiring the architecture and window-shopping.

Eventually we headed off towards Howdens to collect our door. On our way back for the bus we also passed Wickes where we managed to find some aluminium angle that we plan to install between the oven and the cupboard as a heat deflector.

With our mission accomplished we caught the 16.36 bus back home without stalking anyone!

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday 26 April

We treated ourselves to a lie in today after a week of fun, hectic socialising, and the 84 locks since Monday, and then tucked into a cooked breakfast while listening to the Archers’ omnibus.

We’ve decided to stay in Tibberton for a couple more days before taking the boat down into Worcester, and this gave me an opportunity to tidy up.

As this morning’s weather was dry and not too hot, I took the opportunity to clean out the foredeck, first removing the collapsible bikes and rubber mats, before giving it a good sweep out and a wash.

Tasting Pip’s delicious home-made bread yesterday, encouraged me to have a go at making a loaf today. I think it has met with approval as it is quickly disappearing!

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This afternoon we took Max for a towpath walk back to Dunhamstead Wharf. It was so peaceful as Railtrack were carrying out track repairs to the adjacent Bristol to Birmingham railway line which meant that there were no fast passenger trains thundering by.

We took a slight detour to visit Oddingley church which our guide book said was worth a visit and whilst there this little bird was perched high up in a tree singing its little heart out – I think it’s a Chiffchaff. Also we spotted these pretty Common Dog Violets under the hedge.

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We had Toad in the Hole for tea tonight and the Yorkshire’s rose better than ever!

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Saturday, 25 April

We think Tibberton is really Ambridge (Home of Radio 4’s The Archers); with  “Grundy’s Cottage” on the main street and Bert Fry in the Post Office as the guy there gives weather forecasts in rhyme “Aye, we need a drop, but it has to know when to stop”.

Having collected the Wasp’s Saturday papers, we left Blackbird moored up and instead headed off with Lillyanne towards Worcester.

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Pip checking on progress of the two boats ahead …

 

We’re going home next week and we needed to investigate whether there was anywhere ahead where we could leave the boat.   We’d offered to help Pip with the first 12 locks and stay with them until Lowesmoor Basin when we would leave them to go and visit Worcester Marina.

We followed two other boats through the first ten locks and the front boat was a hire boat that was in no rush.

We passed this unusual building just sitting in the middle of a field and also saw two swans sitting on their nests.

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We helped NB ISCA with the two bottom gates as they were immediately in front of us and as they left one lock, we were ready to refill it so Lillyanne could enter. After lock 10 hire boat pulled in for lunch and we continued on through two more locks before pulling in ourselves.   We had a lovely lunch of Pip’s home made bread with cheese after which Pip arranged a ‘Team Wasp’ photograph and then we all climbed back on board for about a further mile before Storm, Max and I, waved them goodbye.   We hope our paths might cross later in the year.

Team Wasp

Team Wasp

Worcester Marina have agreed to us leaving our boat with them for a week from Thursday. We then went to find out which of Worcester’s two railway stations is the best one for us to leave from next week and after that we headed for the bus station to see if we could catch a bus back to Tibberton. There are only three buses to the village each day (Monday – Saturday), and thankfully we only had to wait 40 minutes for the second of those buses.

Friday 24 April

The Wasp headed off towards Worcester with us leading the way. The first four locks were set in our favour and, as there were no other boats coming towards us, and as we left each lock I raised a top paddle to start refilling the lock for Lillyanne, before heading down to the next lock.   The last two locks were set against us and so we had to fill them twice and empty them twice to allow both boats down.   Max spent the morning running up and down between the two boats.

We pulled in for diesel just after we’d passed the turn off to the Droitwich Canal at Hanbury Wharf and also bought more paint as the prices here were reasonable.   There were quite a few wide beam boats moored here that seemed odd as they have nowhere to go on a narrow canal.   Apparently they are transported here by road for fit out before being hauled out of the water again onto a low-loader and taken away by road once sold.

Lillyanne came past us while we were filling with diesel and so we followed them for three miles through a straight pound filled with reeds that all rustled as we passed by.

Max was trotting up and down the boat roof, trying to get our attention and as he’d already had a good walk we ignored him, when suddenly he launched himself off the roof onto the towpath – his biggest leap yet.   He’d needed a wee!   Storm pulled in slightly and I jumped off and walked with Max a bit further.

Lillyanne had pulled in at Tibberton, on the nice visitor moorings there.   About half a mile ahead was the M5, followed by a further 8 locks, and so we agreed to stop here for the night.

Storm, Max and I went off to explore the village, leaving Pip and Mick making bread.

We met up again at 9 when Pip suggested it was time for a beer!