Friday, 6 October 2017

A Sad Loss

Last week myself and the regular crew took a trip along the  reopened  Droitwich  Canal, leaving Worcester by the Birmingham and Worcester Canal, along the Droitwich and back down the River Severn to Worcester.

Geoff, Peter,Adrian, Ted and Kevin at Camp House Inn, R. Severn

A few pictures  follow but, sadly, events have cast a pall over the trip in that last Sunday, having had no contact with Geoff since the Friday evening Adrian and I went to his house. Eventually we asked for assistance from the police and Geoff was found dead in his bedroom.
Geoff Johnson 1945-2017
I had known him for over 60  years, growing up together in Stanmore and boating together over many years. The whole team are very shocked but take great comfort in the fact that we'd all had such a good time the week before Geoff died. Please remember him in your thoughts and prayers.

My foot resting
To travel along the Droitwich you must get under the M5!...and it's very tight

Well done Ted
Autumn on the Droitwich Barge Canal
Did I mention Norman?

The canal is, in fact two canals; the Droitwich Junction Canal which runs from Hanbury on the B'ham and Worcester to Droitwich and the Droitwich Barge Canal whic runs from the Severn at Hawford to Droitwich. The Junction canal has single locks but the Barge canal has eight doubles. (Sounds like a good night in the Lock Keepers Arms!) It is a canal of great beauty probably because it is little used, has few pubs and no widebeams. There is no sign of Dossertown anywhere.
Kevin and Ted wondering where the pubs are.

Apart from Droitwich there aren't any pubs on this canal which meant for the first time I can recall in over 40 years of boating that we spent one night on board without entering licenced premises. It was more than compensated for by the finest Liver and Bacon prepared by Kevin accompanied by the best Waitrose of Droitwich wines and spirits could supply.

Known forever as the Dogs' Locks

Norman warns "Lock ahead!"

Geoff is ready

Somehow Ted and Peter managed to miss this lock

Peter, Ady and Geoff set the last lock before we enter the R Severn


Onto the Severn

Bevere Lock


Diglis Basin entrance

Looking back on the Severn

Through Worcester

Ady makes a new friend at the lock-such a smooth talker

and Ted makes the final reverse into the boatyard. and Peter shows his approval

Dinner in Yamass, a Greek in Worcester-the end of a grand week


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

This one is a long time coming, mainly I'm pleased to say because the good times have been rolling.
Where to start?

Been busy enough having fun during what would appear to be the final weeks of the Summer.
Indeed as I write this I am considering lighting the first fire of the Autumn for that is surely where we have arrived. I've got a few logs and am loath to buy anymore for the nonce as CRT are shortly to inspect the moorings and my patch already looks a mess. These days it seems impossible to get all the ducks in a row when it comes to getting jobs done. To attack the mooring I need time, reasonable weather, the Council Tip to be open and for my damaged wreck of a body to be up for it.
Timewise I have a week between holidays and other adventures, the weather is sunshine and showers, mainly the latter and the Tip is shut Thursdays and Fridays. Most important of all I was buggered in the leg dept having whacked my foreleg with a shoehorn on holiday (and yes I was putting my boots on) I'm now attending the surgery every week for change of dressings. Pain in the arse. Well leg anyway.

 Hardly the best state for site clearance but something must be done. Stand by for reports from the front.

Joseph had his 16th birthday back in August and followed that with excellent exam results . out for dinner with Ollie and Pam.  Pam and I will miss his birthday as we will be in France, where we had a grand time in France (including a delightful train ride from Le Crotoy to St Valerie sur Somme and back-the best way to see the Bay du Somme;  all on The Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme (Somme Bay Railway) and then Kent (including my visit to Chatham Dockyard) and there are loads of pictures below to send you to sleep.

But before we left for La Belle France a boatload of Salvation Army Bandsmen came by the mooring enjoying a day out.
which coincided with my very fine breakfast of kippers, poached egg and croissant served in the sunshine.

To France to stay in a town called Rue about 90 minutes from Calais. Just a couple of days one of which was spent on the railway trip mentioned heretofore.
It was a very fishy visit as I consumed lots of fish (sea bass, salmon, squid, octopus)) and shellfish (hulot (whelks), squid, langoustine,  mussels) all of which I adore and the French do them all so well. This healthy diet was reinforced by a reduction in beer intake-mainly because it takes so long to get a drink. It takes me a long while to adjust to the continental idea of taking a seat outside and waiting for somebody to notice your tongue scraping on the pavement before you can order a "pression" which is usually about a third of a pint and so cold as to be tasteless.
Pam on the train at Le Crotoy
Among the various famous people who stayed at Le Crotoy one of my favourite schoolboy reads, Jules Verne lived there long enough to write the wonderful 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; a fact with which I felt more aware as I stared one of the aforementioned squid in the inky eye! 

On the beach at St Valerie
sur Somme

Moi looking doddery about to get run down by the train

Moi looking tres gay

Mon Hulot's Holiday.
Not much of a holiday for this hulot or the other 11 on the plate. The taste...
just amazing

St V sur S

Back to Le Crotoy.

We crossed back to Kent on a beautiful Saturday evening, sorry to leave France after such a short stay but looking forward to a week near Faversham, catching up with Caz and Philip and Florence and Mathilda.......and, of course, ordering a pint of Shepherd Neame at the bar of one the many excellent local pubs.

A  walk along Oare Creek towards Harty Ferry ( a spoonerism if ever one was needed) revealed "Daphne" in the distance on the other side of the Creek, a Medway barge undergoing tlc

The Medway Barge Daphne undergoing repairs on Oare Creel

We walked round and had a closer look

Mistress of the Masts

Sunday lunch in the Three Mariners, one of our favourite haunts, though the lunch was a bit below par and Pam, who knows about such things thought the roast potatoes were of the Auntie Bessie genre, surely not.

A trip to Chatham Dockyard-on my own. Pam having a very low boredom threshold when it comes to museums etc. let alone ones with boats in I went off for the day thus avoiding another walk
Chatham aint cheap but it is good and it's big but you can return as often as you wish during the year so having parted with £22.50 for an old sod's ticket I filled my boots.

Of great interest was the "Hearts of Oak" display using models and holograms to show how the Oak played such a major role in shipbuilding with trees and parts thereof selected for their "shipshape"


Out for lunch with Caz and Mathilda

Beautiful....and the baby is lovely too!
The weather was inclement and I got the lighting all wrong but I like this picture of Caz and Mathilda

To Whitstable for Fish and Chips in the Neptune and a chance for Pam to make sure Mathilda is facing the camera.

and I can have a play in the groynes.

It's the Faversham Hop Festival-every where you look there are hops and the atmosphere is very heady as the beer flows.

Surprisingly when I got back to the mooring I found hops growing next to the gate.

Pam, Ady and I did the MS mile and a few bob was raised for this very worthwhile organisation.

 A busy few weeks and next week beckons with a trip on the Droitwich Barge Canal

The next post will appear very soon so look out for it.