Thursday, 16 May 2013

Double Gloucester

I never been a particular slave to fashion so seldom have had favourite items of clothing. So it is with some sadness that I have to report the loss of my leather Australian wide-brimmed hat, that has been a constant
friend during countless downpours since we took to the system. It now lies in the depths of the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal after a huge gust caught TCW on a bend at the weekend and I foolishly did not have the chin strap fastened. My fault completely, and five days on I am still fuming about it. I loved that hat. This may warrant to trip to the Crick Boat Show at the end of May to get a new one, after all.
After a brief taste of summer last week we are now back in jumpers and hats, and for a change, it seems that most of the country is experiencing the same conditions.
We are still on the Severn/Sharpness and Gloucester Canal, as it’s basically one and the same, in and around the city of Gloucester and we have spent four out of the last six days moored in Gloucester Docks, which in recent years has undergone a major transformation, and is now one of the big tourist attractions in the area. The docks feature the usual mix of retail space and restaurants, but most of the original Victorian warehouses have been preserved, bringing a sense of authentication to the development.
Our mooring at Gloucester Docks. TCW is the top boat on the left
About 100 yards from our mooring is the site of the brand new Gloucester Brewery. I didn’t know this even existed, but I did when I woke up last Friday to the smell of malt. I popped in to say hello, It would have been rude not to. They are a nice bunch, and very enthusiastic. The beer’s OK too.
Next door is the National Waterways Museum, which is OK. I couldn’t get that excited about it, but it was worth a visit.
National Waterways Museum, Gloucester Docks

From the docks, the river becomes the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal. This is a wide ship canal that winds its way, parallel to the main river down to Sharpness and the Bristol Channel. We cruised about half way down to Saul Junction on Monday, where we saw our first baby swans of the season and walked into Frampton-On Severn to check out the UK’s biggest village green  before returning to the city on Tuesday afternoon, getting very wet in the process.
Our first sighting of baby swans at Saul Junction with proud parents

Last weekend we welcomed Des on board for the night. Des is Pat’s Brother-In-Law from Melbourne, down under. It was his first time on a narrow boat. Considering he is taller than me, he coped with the confines of the boat very well and was very confident on the tiller. He didn’t have the best of conditions to cruise in, but he seemed to enjoy the experience.
Des takes control on the Sharpness & Gloucester

One of the main reasons to visit Gloucester was to catch up with our pals David and Caroline, who live just outside the city and have recently moved into a brand new house. Dave was my next-door neighbour in Welwyn Garden City for many years and they are both good friends of TCW.
So after Des left us we spend the rest of the weekend with them and their dogs, and Pat got to have her bath. As much as we enjoy our Sunday roasts in Wetherspooons, it was a real treat for us to have a big home-cooked roast, with all the trimmings. They live in a delightful spot and it was good to catch up and see their new home.
While in the city we also popped into the cathedral. Religious buildings are something I generally steer clear of, but I was interested in seeing their famous cloisters. For these feature prominently in the Harry Potter films, where Harry, Ron and Hermione, discuss tactics on the way to lessons, so I thought we would “Slither In”… get it, and check them out. They are, indeed, very impressive.
Hogwarts? Nuhhh, Gloucester Cathedral

The city of Gloucester and the whole South-West has a thriving ukulele scene, and after a couple of  e mails and texts I was able to get a lift to the “Gloucester Strings” meeting last Thursday night. There were nearly 50 of them - all ages and abilities. Had a great “plonk” and its set me up for the Worcester Club next Monday. That is, if we get there in time.
We were due to leave the docks this morning and I have just had a text alert that the Severn in now on an “Amber” alert following the rain of the last 36 hours, and we can only proceed if we sign a disclaimer. The lock keeper has confirmed the situation. Oh, how I love rivers… To be continued.

1 comment:

  1. Love your blog Rog.

    The Cloisters photo is fab!