Absolutely Piddling Down!

Well… we knew it was coming today, so it wasn’t a surprise to wake up this morning and find it was raining hard. Really solid, wetting rain. Luckily, the boathire people had supplied us with 4 sets of foul weather gear and we had brought some as well, so we weren’t too worried.

First a sustaining full English was called for. Lovely local sausages and mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, bacon and eggs. Some fresh brown baps. We were ready! A last bit of grub for the swans and geese…

Much hilarity donning the wet weather kit which consisted of a long, hooded cagoule and waterproof trousers. There were 2 Large suits and 2…… Extra Large suits. Not only for large people in girth but also with gigantic arms and legs. We looked ridiculous but they kept us dry for 4 hours in the wet so who’s complaining. In fact it wasn’t cold today. Perhaps about 16C and little wind at all which was a blessing. It made the rain feel not as cold.

We had 3 locks to contend with as we retraced our steps downstream on the Avon to Pershore. A nice trip despite the rain. A very English scene of green fields, flowing river, autumn trees, sheep, ducks…. the odd fisherman. Nothing deters those fellas. We seem to have settled into crew roles somewhat. Stuart and Bob are main helmsmen. I take my turn on the river but I’m not confident to go into the lock on my own. So, often Bob will be at the helm and take the stern line in the lock, I’ll do the bow line, which we use to hold the boat still and in place as the lock fills and empties. It’s important to do this especially when the lock is emptying because the lock gates have a big stone or concrete ledge on them, the cill, below the water line. If you got too close to the gate as the water empties, the hull could get stuck on the cill and the boat would tip. We’ve seen pictures of this. Not good. Conversely, when the lock is filling, you have to keep the bow back from the sluices in the gates because the water can come torrenting out (often does) and if you were too close it could go into the little bow deck and cause flooding and err…. sinking…. Stuart and Fi are the lock experts so they do the gates and the paddles. We’re getting to be a slick little crew.

It took about 3.5 – 4 hours to reach Pershore and we stopped at the public boat landing and filled up with water again. I don’t know where it all goes. It seems to take an enormous amount. Then, we moved a short distance down river to the mooring attached to the Angel Inn. No one else there and very idyllic with meadows all around. We had lunch on the mooring and I rang up to the Inn to make a reservation for dinner.

About 230, the rain stopped and we went to explore Pershore. What a pretty place! So very much nicer than Evesham. Lots of thriving little shops, pretty upmarket. A theatre/cinema/art gallery which was OPEN. We went to explore the Abbey, the Church miraculously still existing having survived the sacking of the monasteries and abbeys under Henry 8th. The church was lovely: the smell of incense still lingering. Very interesting stained glass and the ceiling was so lovely and very unusual, at least to me. Got back to the boat at 4 just as it started to half heartedly rain again. It was good to be back in the warm and I had a great shower.

sO… A small rest and then meet up at 615 for cocktails! G&Ts and we watched Bake Off on the iPad. Yes… we know, how to live all right! We had another round before the result. Then at about 745 we headed up to the Angel Inn for our dinner. Pretty upmarket and stylish. I imagine in less difficult times, it would be hard to get in. We had their AMAZING dinner offer which was 3 courses for £15. I had prawn cocktail, (nice but not special), Sea bass in a cream and leek sauce with cheese gnocchi (very very nice) and then I had the cheese board. Bob had prawn cocktail, shepherds pie with cheesy mash, and then sticky toffee pudding with rum and raisin ice cream. Looked amazing. Stuart and Fi had a mix of all our dishes. Truly it was excellent value for rather super cooking and we would definitely return to the Angel.

Staggered off down the lawn to our boat and turned in. Despite the rain, a very lovely day.