Monday, 3 July 2017

Getting caught up - to five nights ago!

I am running behind schedule now, which is NOT a good look for a project manager. Thankfully I am almost retired ...

In Pershore I did cratch cover mending. See, I was a bit active on those hot days!

Find the shade and then work can happen!

It's all in the way you hold your mouth, so my mum used to say. Getting the needle through canvas is hard!
Since Pershore (11 nights ago) we have moored
  • at Eckington Wharf overnight wherein four of us (not David who was starting his tax return) walked to the village to find one pub permanently closed and the other two not yet open for business, so it was back to the boats for drinks on the park benches beside us - cheaper, not so far to get back onboard, and it meant I could maintain only drinking soda water as it was a fasting day - yes, I am back on programme and fasting twice weekly. Feeling better already!
  • in Tewkesbury for three nights, against a high wall in the town. I declared I hated John because he could step up from his stern, whereas I had to perch my bum on the wall, then push myself up with my feet and roll over on to my hands and knees ... And in Tewkesbury we caught up again with Derek and Bill whom we'd first met at Pershore. Bill lives in Worcester (Birmingham originally), Derek lives in Birmingham still. They were on a fishing trip - well a snake catching trip really - same snake 6 times I reckon. Very few fish though. One eel that they thought was big (hold your hands apart about two thirds of the length of the 12" ruler you used at school as a kid - not a big eel, eh? Now hold your hands two thirds as far apart as you can - now that is the length of a big eel in NZ, OK?) Photo follows of one Derek did catch ... No it doesn't, as I cannot find it, dammit! OK, you can trust me when I tell you it was a silver/white colour, about 8 - 10 inches long, an ovoid shaped body, and it didn't look happy. I did have photographic evidence, I swear!
  • and then down to Gloucester (3 nights). On Monday (this is a week ago remember) we had Ann and Keith onboard  for lunch, and John joined in as they all know each other from the Bridge 61 pub or around and about Foxton. Mick, Julia and John left on Tuesday and got to Saul Junction, on their way to Sharpness. David and I did not go that direction  as we need to do some prep for a birthday and for grandsons coming to stay. 
So here goes for the catch up - not right up to date, but getting closer!

When I read Jennie’s great post about Tewkesbury, I felt ashamed about how little information I provide about the places we visit, their history and the interesting architecture. I still feel a bit shame-faced but I am getting over it…

I realised that I could change my blogging style, spend more time seeking out the sights and information and become more observant of the interesting and significant, or I could provide you with a link to Jennie’s blog!

As we are treading (perhaps more cruising or floating) a path with a decidedly social focus, I determined (with some laziness involved) that I would do the latter. It is a kindness to you really – you get the benefit of two different writing styles and the information provided just once! And Jennie does it so much better than I could – she has a truly admirable bent for this kind of investigative exploration of the historical aspects of the places she and Chris go to. So please enjoy reading her as much as I do.

Since Tuesday last week, David and I have been on our own, so decidedly less social than for the previous 3 weeks or so. Mick, Julia and John continued on from Gloucester to Sharpness and points in between, while David and I had another day/night in Gloucester and then made our way up to Worcester, having come quite rapidly to the conclusion that the Severn is not for us again – in a word: boring. I’ll say it again: boring. I’ll add another for emphasis: boring.

The surroundings are lovely – mostly trees, the water is generally wide and easy to cruise through. But there is not much to see apart from the trees and the occasional fisherman, and there are hardly any places to stop and moor up. On the way between Gloucester and Tewkesbury the only places to stop were at pubs. Now some would find that a blessing, but not us. So it’s a long hard slog for little reward, just the relief of getting back to Upper Lode Lock for some friendly chat this time with the lockie. (When we came down to Gloucester, Mick and John had got to the lock about 30 minutes before us as we’d had to wait at the Tewkesbury lock for them to go down and another couple of boats to come up. While chatting with him, they had encouraged him to give me a hard time on our arrival, which he did. I was not in the mood after sharing the Tewkesbury Lock with a man who faffed about, used his walkie talkie to talk to his wife at the other end of the boat, and insulted her to me – I did tell him he’d chosen the wrong person to badmouth women to … So when the lockie in the broadest Gloucester accent made me repeat the boat number about three times and then said asked for the last two numbers again, twice, I gave him two digits, in the fine tradition of bowmen of yore … ) Anyway, when we got there on the way back, I apologised for being stroppy – he was fine and said he’d been put up to it and was pleased I was no longer travelling with that bad lot.

But more on Gloucester:
In Gloucester Lock - it's BIG! Although the Upper Lode Lock is significantly larger. Mick and Julia with ropes around the wires, David roped to Unknown No 3, I think my back rope was on Mick's rear bollard. John appears to be floating freely up ahead, or maybe he was roped to the boat in front of M&J. Bizarrely, there is a water point on the LHS of the lock - how the hell anyone is meant to make use of it from their boat, I have no idea!

 As I mentioned, we’d had a visit from Ann and Keith which was lovely. Ciabatta, pork stroganoff (recipe out of my own thinkery and what was in the fridge ...), tomato and olive salad (Jamie Oliver) and green salad from the rooftop allotment for lunch for which John joined us (Mick and Julia had already gone out and then to Wetherspoons for steak). [My apologies for that extended and rambling sentence...] We then went to join them for a drink and on the way, John took me into a lovely restaurant he had seen on an earlier walk which had fresh rhubarb for sale – I decided that David and I needed to have lunch there the next day. Ann took a photo of me which I display here with reluctance – when I saw it at first (facebook) I wondered what tantrum I’d been throwing. She reminded me it was a dance of joy for finding fresh rhubarb ;-) Rhubarb cake, here I come! That’ll be the dessert for Midsummer Kiwi Xmas Party to be held soon.
May not look like it, but it's happiness at finding rhubarb apparently ...

As there was to be a parting for at least a week, after saying goodbye to Ann and Keith who guided us back to the docks (I find Gloucester quite confusing geographically and David managed to get lost between the boat, the lock and the CRT office which were about 300 yards apart all up – when paying for an extra night’s mooring, he ended up walking from the CRT office all around the back of buildings and wharves of the dock area across the bridge and back across the lock – about 2 kilometres - to get back to the boat which was pretty much within sight about 200metres away when he walked out the CRT door …)

So, as I was saying - after saying goodbye to Ann and Keith, the travelling troupe had farewell drinks and nibbles on the jetty between our boat and John’s. We finally went inside when it started to rain, and then it was straight to bed, hoping the then-heavy rain would clean the seagull poop off the boat. We had originally moored in the corner (very close to the aforementioned CRT office …) but moved on Ann and Keith’s advice as that position is Seagull Sh*t Alley – it was bombs away when they flew back between the buildings, over that corner and then landed in the water. Jennie and Chris had been bombarded, and then it was our turn …

Lunch at Lily’s Restaurant in College Court was lovely and we highly recommend it. Lovely food, and great service. I had roast pork with crackling, Luke … David had cod and chips, and we both had dessert. The lemon meringue pie was yummy and David’s rhubarb and apple crumble passed the test too. The rhubarb was homegrown by the owner’s father in law.
Yum x 2

The end of College Court opens out into the grounds of the cathedral – there’s a lot of work going on there, removing a car park and replacing it with gardens and sitting spaces – much more appropriate. It was really interesting watching the work proceed, as the first stage after removing the paving materials was excavating archeologically in case of bones or other artefacts. The site was originally a graveyard, so bones are inevitable.
Careful scraping of the surface a couple of inches at a time
Yay!! Two women in senior positions on the team - good to see! We spoke to Kath.

The cathedral itself was another wonderful building – don’t think I am starting to entertain godly thoughts in any way! Not a chance! But the skill, thought, care, artistry, creativity that went into conceiving, planning, constructing, ornamenting these buildings is just amazing. And anyone who thinks project management started with the space race needs their head examined …
Exquisite detail
And more

People wearing sunhats
Beautiful floor tiles

The plan for the garden - certainly more attractive than a carpark! Whose idea was that?

We went back to the boat (didn’t get lost this time) via a bar on the docks. No chardonnay!!! So it had to be a Black Russian obviously. No dinner, straight to bed!

Then in the morning the aforementioned boring cruise upstream to Tewkesbury, a walk out to Tescos to restock, a haircut at Supercuts (she did a good job, Michelle darling, but not as good as you, my lovely). Then another walk to TewkTech to buy a cord to connect the printer to the laptop – printers don’t come with cords included these wireless days, and of course, David has a whole viper’s nest of such cords back in NZ, and of course, it’s the one cord he didn’t bring in the viper’s nest he did travel with … So TewkTech to the rescue! Yay!! It was especially good as they usually do only business work, not personal. It was only that we were touristing that motivated the guy to find a cord for us and supply it. 
On the way down Gloucester Lock, the lockie put my rope around a bollard on the top. AAARRRGGGHHH!!! Rope was too short, so as we were sharing with a very expensive yoghurt pot, I had to stay attaced, so I tied my centre rope to the back rope (well, not a real knot, as you can see). However, I could not release either rope when the descent was complete, so I had to wave the lockie over out of his control tower to come and unloop it. I defy even you, John Knighton, to release it using a quick wrist flick from down in the depths of the lock!

We were on 1400rpm and I knew there was more in the engine, but wasn't going to push it. Not so these keen guys. Their engine was going fit to beat the band, but they happily got past without my having to slow down too much to let them by.

Well, it helps to pass the time
Upper Lode Lock - it's officially big - very very big!
A point to note: when I did my two forays into Tewkesbury that day, having read Jennie’s blog, my eyes were more observant – thank you, Jennie! I think I get distracted by the foreground of the traffic, the people, and I don’t see the history and beauty in any depth or detail.

The cruise the following day up to Worcester was much more interesting and pleasant with a stop at Upton Marina to fill with diesel, get rid of the waste oil, dump rubbish and empty the porta-loo. An interesting approach to the marina entrance which is hidden among trees, with very little signage indicating which way to the filling point – a bit daunting in a marina filled with yoghurt pots as I approach with a 16 tonne missile, albeit slow-moving! And the pontoon is clearly designed for small boats – it was about a third of the length of Waka Huia, so a bit of precision required to enable David to get off with a rope … No photos, as surprisingly we were both focused on other things!
Breathing a sigh of relief at this point in writing - we are still in Worcester, and the blog is only 5 days behind now!!!


Jennie said...

Thank you for your kind comments Marilyn and I am glad you saw more in Tewkesbury the second time around. You certainly have covered more about Gloucester Cathedral than I will do (I too am days behind!) - we did a very quick visit, but as Monty was not allowed in (unlike Tewkesbury Abbey which welcomes dogs) and we visited a couple of years ago, we did not hang around. We certainly got many direct hits from those pesky gulls doing target practice! We too stopped in Tewkesbury on the way to Worcester and I have to agree that the Severn is very boring. Jennie

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Pal,

Lovely post and don't you dare change your style. I can hear your voice with every word, all the nuances, the sarcasm, the laughter, and the brisk telling off. I LOVE the Happy Rhubarb Dance!!!

I enjoy Jennie's blog too and she has a such a gift for descriptive narrative. It is her unique voice and I think posting a link to hers was a good choice.

Laughing John appears to be living up to his name and David apparently found his way back home to the boat so all is well.

Love and hugs,

Jaq xxx

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Jennie,
It is really good that we all have different styles and provide different info, isn't it? But I do get a bit embarrassed that I miss so much of my surroundings or don't explore them in depth.
At least now people who read my blog have access to yours as well so they can choose one or other or, hopefully, both!
Moored at Tibberton now, but need to move on to get water today.
Cheers and hugs, M

Marilyn McDonald said...

Thanks, Jaq,
I do enjoy writing the blog in my own voice - I have spent so many years writing business documents that require and admit no humour that the blog is a good outlet. I used to get that with writing letters, but emails suffice now and I don't write to family and friends as much as I used to when it was snail mail. Phone calls are now cheap and emails are quicker ... A bit of a loss for a mouthy person like me!
I appreciated your comment about being able to hear my voice - my dad always said he could hear my voice when he read my letters. Must be the stream of consciousness at work ...

Biggs hugs, friend, Mxx