Overnight there was lots of rain battering down again. But the morning was bright and sunny and promising a lovely day. The windy weather had affected the trees next to us, but some other trees are not shedding their leaves so readily.
There was alot of loud chirping and twittering as we went along and we saw bluetits and groups of long tailed tits. I glimpsed 2 woodpeckers.
We had seen Two Jays ( the boat, not the birds) pass us at breakfast. At the first lock, he was out working out and I went to help. He clearly knows this stretch well and gave me advice about this lock’s idiosyncrasies. After he had gone I set about readying the lock for us and a woman, at the lockside cafe, came to ask me about the working of the lock. She was keen to participate and threw off her coat to walk across the lock gate to help me push the gate open and asked about every detail, repeatedly asking, “what do we have to do next?” and took photos. When the boat left the lock and we closed the gates, she said, “how do you catch up with the boat?” I indicated the gap in the wall across the busy road, leading to steps back down to the canal. I waved goodbye and went to the steps. There was a little jetty there, but Shane had not waited there, but instead he’d gone to the other side of the canal where there was a water point. I found my way up across the bridge and along the backs of buildings, the very long way round to the water point in Stourport.
We had a quick lunch, after getting water, and pressed on as there are time restrictions on the locks on the Severn. They so operating at 4 o’clock. We had been told that there were lock keepers assisting in the pair of staircase locks ahead. But when we got there, there was no-one, and water flowing over the gate. I set about operating them but I needed Shane to help me with the first gate. Someone came along while we were operating the bottom lock of the first set, to say that I should get the next lock ready in advance, as the wind would take the boat, if it had to wait in the pound. I did so but even so I could see Shane was having difficulty getting Bartimaeus facing the right way, to drive in, just as predicted. With a little fending and redirecting we made it. We hadn’t used these locks last time as they were closed for repairs and had in stead been in staff operated locks only. Just as we reached the last lock, a volunteer did arrive and so I could get aboard and let him finish off, while we headed into the Severn.
The sun shone in our faces all the way along the Severn and we had no difficulties in the locks and caught sight of kingfishers and cormorants.
We had to go further than last time (but faster as it was downstream) as the river we’d used coming from Droitwich before, was closed to boats as it was too high, so we assumed for Worcester in stead. We had passed a boat who said he might see us there. It was a large lock so we waited for the other boat to arrive and I was glad of the other woman’s help as the gates were very large and heavy and it was a l long way round. There was a sign showing that the way was only passable with care and that beyond Worcester, on the river, it was advised not to proceed at al
When we reached the kick I found it needed be set, so I got it r ready and opened the gates. I think it was the larges lock that I have ever worked. Shane waited for the other boat to arrive and I was glad of the other woman’s help as the gates were very large and heavy and it was a l long way round. There was a sign showing that the way was only passable with care and that beyond Worcester, on the river, it was advised not to proceed at all.
It has been a long day, and for a retracing steps journey, turned out to have several new experiences and routes in it. We rewarded ourselves with a lovely meal out in a Cajun/ South American restaurant which had staff wearing Halloween accessories, but looked like it was slightly Halloween themed all year round. Glad they squeezed us in as long as we were out by 8 o’clock. We’ve been racing to finish in time all day, of course we could be out by 8.