An exciting day! It started with a monstrously sized breakfast at the Brewer’s Fayre pub which was attached to our hotel. Basically for £8 you could eat as much of everything as you liked and drink as much too of the very nice Costa Coffee. I managed to keep nicely to my Dukan diet while tucking in.
After breakfast we headed off to Morrisons which was just down the road and loaded up with some breakfast and lunch stuff (and wine) for the next week. Then we drove down to the side of the River Avon to the area where the lock linked it to the River Severn. We plan to spend tomorrow night moored here so we wanted to have a quick look. It was absolutely picture perfect down there. Canal boats moored up (but not too many), swans and ducks…. the sun out…. We spoke to some chaps who were obviously living on their boat and also to the lock keeper. Everyone was very helpful. Tewkesbury itself was very pretty and historical. Lots of Tudor beamed houses, all crookedy. Quite a few people out and about enjoying the high street. Everyone in masks but it was good to see the shops and cafes being used.
We set off from Tewkesbury about midday and headed to Worcester where we would meet Stuart and Fi and pick up the boat. Parked up in the marina and we could see the staff preparing the boats for us. At 130 we assembled at a tented shelter and were shown an instructional film on how to work the locks and various aspects of that and mooring. Then one of the marina staff walked us through the boat and gave us more instruction on the engine and mooring up etc. It was all pretty thorough and I suppose took about an hour and a half. We had to put a security deposit down of £500 on the credit card and we paid £90 for fuel and £60 for the boat service ie cleaning and supply of bedding etc etc. It’s all very clean and plenty of sanitised supplies around.
Then we unpacked into the boat, a seemingly impossible task at first but it all went away, like loading a tardis. Whether we will ever find it again is a different matter. We certainly have loads of food.
There are two proper bathrooms on the boat, two good double cabins, the galley and saloon, full central heating with radiators, a tv, plenty of cupboard space and everything you could want really. It doesn’t feel anything like as compromised as previous boating experiences.
We set off at about 330 because we wanted to make our first mooring near Diglis Lock before it got dark. It wasn’t very far, perhaps a mile and a half but we had to pass through two locks to get there and obviously having never done this before, we were perhaps a little apprehensive. The waterwa6s are so lovely. We were heading off pretty much into the sunset and of course with little water movement, the canal/river is like a mirror, reflecting the surroundings. Lovely.
In the event it was pretty straightforward, and at the first lock there was a canal volunteer on hand to walk us through it. The lock was incredibly narrow. Literally the width of the boat with a couple of scant inches on either side. These canal boats are a bit like bumper cars with a big bumper around them of steel. Unlike a fibreglass yacht which you really don’t want to knock against anything, it is almost inevitable that canalboats will touch the sides. Indeed some manoeuvres, like turning, actually need you to touch the bank. Anyway, we made it through that one- Stuart at the tiller – and then the next one, we had to work ourselves – Bob steering this time. Again, very very narrow, but easy enough to get into and out of providing you came at the entrance in a straight line and with confidence.
Having negotiated our first two locks we motored on into the area of the Diglis marina and moored up on the canalside for the night. It’s free to moor up. We are about 100 yards round the corner to our pub for dinner – the Anchor Inn. http://www.theanchorworcester.co.uk/ Cups of tea all round and fruity buns. Stuart and Fi went for an explore and Bob and I had a rest and finished unpacking.
Tnen we got together in the saloon at 630 for g&ts and yabber. All v. good.
So far pretty impressed with the boat and looking forward to a good week ahead. It definitely feels more spacious than a yacht. Our cabin is a room: we are not parachuting into bed. Having said that, the cockpit area is much smaller, although there is a massive roof space if only it were sunbathiing weather.
Well…. we had a brilliant, rather boozy dinner tonight at the Anchor and then tottered back to our boat for coffee and yabber. Turned in now. It’s totally silent outside. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz