We woke to a bright blue sky shortly followed by being pounced on by Tilly. After a solid nights sleep on the sofa she was just about back to her normal self. We vaguely remember her annual injection knocking her sideways for a day last year too, but all was back to normal today.
After breakfast we made our now normal saunter down to look at the levels on the river and watch it zoom past. Yesterday the level had read just below the 11ft mark, but this morning it was 11ft 6. Hopefully a day of sunshine would help.
We needed a few things from town along with Tilly’s flea spot-ons that the vet had ordered in for her, so Mick headed off into town whilst I got the buckets out. The well deck and stern still needed a good wash. Today would also be a good day to get a coat of Woodskin on the wood above the morse control and on the stern locker lids.
So before I started to wash anything down I gave the wood a sand down. For sometime there have been a couple of patches where the finish had worn down to the wood. Once sanded and washed down I removed the locker lids, gave them a wash, cleaned out the gutters around the openings and washed the semitrad stern. When we first got Oleanna the locker lids were a touch too big and a lot of bumps and scrapes happened when ever we wanted anything from the lockers. This has now been remedied. So there is little point in polishing the paint work back here as when the weather is settled and we’re not chomping at the bit to be moving I will be repainting most of it.
The front bulk head had a thorough wash along with the starboard side well deck locker. There was too much stuff to move including the anchor to get the rest of it squeaky clean, so that will have to wait.
With a coat of Woodskin applied we were free for the remainder of the day to go for a walk.
Heading down stream along the river bank we were glad the level wasn’t an inch or so higher as this would have necessitated us wearing wellies. Houses along the path had the front gates blocked with flood barriers but as yet hadn’t brought out the ones to cover their front doors. The river zoomed past us carrying quite a bit of drift wood.
Some moorings came into view, with an assortment of boats. From narrowboats, to cruisers, to steel shells of old work boats (similar to a Leeds Liverpool Short boat, just bigger), to vessels even bigger.
By the wharf there were a couple of what we first assumed were Yellow Wagtails, their body movement and colouring giving us that idea. But checking later on they were actually Grey Wagtails, with a UK conservation status of red. We’ve had morning visits by the boat of Pied Wagtails that have kept Tilly amused in the window, but they seem to be two a penny compared to the grey ones.
The river glistened as it zoomed past, red sandstone cliffs grew on the far bank. The orange buoys of the weir came into view, not much of a height difference today and hardly any noise. Here Lincomb Lock cut takes the navigation to the side. All the lights were red, hardly surprising! On the top side there is no pontoon, just ladders up the wall should you need to stop. These locks can only be operated by C&RT staff and have opening hours. You call or radio ahead so that they can set the lock for you to save having to moor up.
Despite the river being closed the lock is still manned. Today the Lock Keeper was sat in the sun chatting away to a chap from the Environment Agency. We had a good chat with them both. She was not looking forward to getting to Holt Lock tomorrow as the road is cut off by flood water at the moment, so she would have to wade there. The Environment Agency chap had been along the Severn and Avon today, at Tewksbury (I do like a good Tewksbury!*) the world seems to be under water. He and the other Environment Agency staff are trying to work out how to remove a lot of the debris that is being washed down stream and getting caught on bridges and weirs. The good news was that the river had peaked in Shrewsbury and they were expecting it to peak in Stourport later in the day, with the river reopening, they hope, on Sunday or Monday if there’s no more rain.
We’d decided on a different route back away from the river. Across a bridge giving us a great view down the river and then the path hugged the red sandstone cliff into a static caravan park. Mick had the local O/S map up on his phone which showed a footpath leading out from the park, but large hedges and caravans stood in our way no matter where we looked. This had happened the other day too, north of Stourport where an estate had been built with no gaps for the footpath still to exist. So we had no choice but to carry on through the park where we tried to find the path again, still no luck.
So a stretch of main road before we found a path again. This however was not the nicest of paths. The locals it seems have gardening/tree clearing businesses and feel that it is okay to dump any waste on this waste ground, aptly named! At least branches and twigs are natural things to dump, but there were plenty of washing machines and general rubbish as well. Not the most romantic of walks back to the boat.
0 locks, 0 miles, 3.235m at 7pm, 1 hire boat, 1st coat Woodskin, 1 very creaky locker, 1 river walk, 1 Lockie, 1 Environment Agency, 3 to 4 days wait, 0 footpath, 1 filthy footpath, 17 broken bottles, 5738 ring pulls, 3 washing machines, 8m hose, 623 plastic bags, 400m of branches, 1 bright sunny day, 1 bright jolly cat, 4 flee treatments on top of the bathroom cupboard!
* ”I do like a good Tewksbury!” is a line that has stuck in my head from Knights in Plastic Armour written by Rob Shearman that I designed in Scarborough in the late 1990’s, a story centred around a battle re-enactment society. Rob Shearman is known for having written ‘Dalek’ which has the first appearance of the Daleks in the 21st Century revival of Dr Who. I apologise now as when ever Tewksbury is mentioned, I do like a good Tewksbury! I just can’t help myself.