You know you've been busy when you find yourself updating the blog for last weekend on the Friday evening of the following weekend - Oh well, I can blame 3 days in Glasgow and a funeral for that.
Saturday 12th June
Today, Jannock has mostly been attacked by an ASBO swan defending his mate and new brood from the nasty narrowboats. We started off from Oddingly and almost immediately came across Idleness moored just south of bridge 25. I spoke to the skipper who asked me to pass on his best wishes to the last owner when I next see him. It was then between the two Bilford locks that we came across the angry father of 3 very young 'ugly ducklings'. Not content with hissing and biting the rear fender he took to flapping down the cut like a demented ecranoplan and then gaining enough height to swoop down at the steerer who was suitably scared. Definitely an example of extreme family protection duty. Having survived that we continued down into Worcester and joined a queue for Blockhouse lock. I spoke to a BW guy there, who was cutting the towpath hedge, and enquired about the provision of 14 day moorings in Worcester. He advised that the only suitable moorings were here immediately above the lock and so we reversed Jannock past the three boats already on the moorings and pegged in up stream of them. I then went and fetched the car from Oddingly whilst Brenda went to mourn the Royal Worcester works (still cursing because she didn't have time to do the tour last time we were here in 1999) and wandered into the Commandery shop. A ceramics artist and lecturer was demonstrating his technique there but due to a lack of customers Brenda managed to get a one-to-one demonstration as well as a good long chat. Whilst I was driving back to Worcester in the car I spoke to Matt and arranged for him to feed the cats overnight so that we didn't have to go home. I then continued on to a handy car parking spot at Ombersley, half way to Stourport, and returned to Jannock on the Di Blasi again. Brenda quickly accepted the change of plan as nice weather was forecast for Sunday. In the evening we went on a walk around Worcester finishing up in an excellent Thai restaurant for a meal before returning to the boat.
Sunday 13th June
We awoke from a good sleep at a quiet mooring and set off down through Blockhouse and Sidbury locks into Diglis basin. As I was setting the top lock a CanalClub boat cast off and joined us down through both locks onto the river. We entered the river just as the rain started, not too heavy but just enough to dull Brenda's pictures of Worcester from the river. Well done to all the cheery souls who were doing a 'Walk-for-Life'. A lovely sea of Pink. Ooh-er missus - quote of the day! Brenda saw a group all dressed in tu-tus & bunny ears and said she'd like to get a photo of them as we passed under the bridge. My comment - "you can take them from behind!" and then I was confused because she laughed so much! We had a lovely day on the river including being over taken by a ladies coxless four at full pelt. Once we passed through the first lock it became fairly quiet boatwise and we shared all next two locks with the CanalClub boat as well. After leaving the last lock, following our partner, a large gin palace pulled out from its mooring and rushed past both of us towards Stourport. When we arrived at the entrance of the Stour cut, who should we find moored on the lock landing? Yes Cap'n gin palace. Brenda eased Jannock's bow into the bottom gates so that I could jump ashore and start setting the lock. I then spoke to Cap'n gin palace pointing out that there was another boat approaching who would need to stop on the lock landing. He pulled his boat back about 4 foot and then sat there drinking whilst watching the poor CanalClub boat flap about in mid-stream until Brenda took Jannock into the bottom lock and he could bring his boat up to the bottom gates. It was lucky that Mr CanalClub had more experienced boaters about as he had not come across a staircase lock in his previous 8 years hiring and started lifting paddles before we had left the lock he was emptying. We navigated our way through the basin to find another boat (narrow this time) moored on the lock landing for York Street lock right alongside the "No Mooring unless........... " sign. We just managed to get in front of him but let another boat who had just finished watering up on the opposite bank go into the lock first. Whilst we waited for a southbound boat to descend the owner of the narrowboat on the lock landing then took his dog for walkies whilst our CanalClub friends were once again floundering about trying to find somewhere to wait for the lock. As Jannock ascended the lock the aforementioned illiterate boater, and his dog, was sat enjoying a cuppa in the cafe garden alongside the lock. One word sprang to mind! Ho hum! We pulled over to moor on a 14 day mooring just as the weather failed us and the heavens opened. Luckily it stopped by the time I was ready to fetch the car from Ombersley.