Monday, 10 July 2017

Worcester is wonderful

We had a total of three nights in Worcester and could easily have spent double the time there. I sense that we will have to come back again, Tardebigge or no!

The moorings near the racecourse are excellent - lots of people around, plenty of boats coming by - narrowboats, cruisers, rowing skiffs and sculls (what's the difference, please, someone?), kayaks and last but not least, dragon boats!

Our mooring, from the Sabrina pedestrian bridge. Part of the racecourse is at the top of the photo.

In fact, as we left the racecourse mooring on Sunday morning, there were dragon boat races on. That made for an interesting cruise down to the large 5-arched town bridge - a bit stressful making sure we weren't disrupting the race programme, and making sure the boats returning to their landing stage weren't going to end up as squished dragon bits. However the race marshall in his RIB (?) came over to make sure I was heading for the centre arch, and then megaphoned to tell the boats (and the hundreds of spectators). It's stressful enough moving through a plethora of other river craft being watched by a large number of people (can't be called gongoozlers, strictly speaking as they weren't there to see a lone nutcase narrowboater trying to head for the canal!) without attention being called to us in a loud and commanding way! By the way, our boat was probably qualified to enter those races - after all, the Waka part of the name does mean canoe, and I can create a fairly throaty dragon-like roar with the engine if I rev hard enough, and I can supplement it with the airhorn, if necessary ...
Crowds watching the dragonboats on Sunday morning

The best spectator seats (as re-covered by big Neil) are taken - they are for our lovely grandsons.

That dragonboat is returning to base.
David and I had done a small amount of Worcester wandering on Saturday after I had a session with  a local osteopath. That was necessary - my skeletal system was all cranky and skewed, and my major muscle groups were very sore from so much standing while steering (sore hips, knees, ankles) or sitting up on the back of the boat stretched out to reach the tiller (sore shoulders, neck, upper back).  All sorted now for a while, just plenty of tumeric capsules to reduce inflammation - fewer side effects than ibuprofen, I understand. While I was osteopathing, David watched the All Blacks - Lions test. Sonny Bill Williams has justly been banned for 4 weeks, idiot! The ABs' loss will make the test this coming Saturday pretty exciting! (20170710 update: a series draw - probably not a bad result for either team actually ...)

After the treatment it was lovely to be able to move freely again, so we set off along the river bank (this was Saturday, remember) and made our way by walk down to the first two locks on the canal. We were looking for somewhere to have lunch, and phoned Bill (of fisherman fame in Pershore) but he couldn't help as we didn't want to go to Wetherspoons. I did espy a restaurant not far from the mooring, but then noticed the Michelin star - well, not wanting to go to Wetherspoons** did not mean a Michelin star was a pre-requisite. Firstly I would have had to take out a mortgage, and secondly I think the food would be fancy/fussy and dressed up with or contain things David and I would not choose to eat. So we walked on, and enjoyed the waterfront - a lovely sunny warm day but not too hot! We came across the Diglis Hotel, but that menu looked a bit ordinary.

(**We are saving those delights for further adventures with M, J & J - as my friend Edward remarked, it all sounds like Famous Five, but with lashings of chardonnay instead of ginger beer - not in Wetherspoons tho as they only have chardonnay from a barrel ..., but cider and beer do feature for the rest of the troupe, and I have taken up their small bottles of prosecco - single glass size, please note.)

It was good to check out the locks as the lock mooring is reasonably indistinct from the river, and it's tough for David when he cannot properly see where we are aiming for and where he needs to get off the boat. We thought Diglis Basin looked nice, esp in the sun. And we found The Northern Star cafe boat there. People at the outside tables had a nice looking array of sandwiches in front of them, so we decided to eat there. BLTs on granary bread, a cappucino and a hot chocolate - yummo! If you are ever in Worcester, find the cafe - it is very worthwhile.
Very yummy indeed!

Look for this sign, but not this man - he has already left the area ...

Our Saturday peregrinations continued (keep up with the time travel, for heaven sake - it's not THAT hard!)
  • water point identified - check, 
  • elsan emptying building identified - check, 
  • playground for the grandsons - check, 
  • Asda for more supplies later - check, 
  • shop for replacing the soda stream gas bottle - no check: apparently no-one in Worcester stocks soda stream, dammit!
  • discussion with a South African boater about the rugby - check.
Then a wander back through the streets heading for the river -
  • triangular peregrinations complete - check.
Time for a few large glasses of cool water, a sit down in the shade of the bridge (no trees) and a quiet read. The boater moored behind us had put his radio up on his roof in the morning, turned it on and then turned on his sander ... When we got back, the radio was still going and I am not a fan of radio, as one neighbour at home will tell you. (Well, to be fair, I don't like it in the house either so David, who loves listening to the radio, wears headphones ... To still be fair, he does tend to have two different stations going in three rooms though.)  Anyway, upshot was that I sat out in the shade reading with bright orange earplugs in - aahh, peace!

That's me reading in the shade of the pedestrian bridge, earplugs in, avoiding the radio from the boat behind us ...
The grandsons arrived in the evening - yay!
In the morning, Olek read to Mel

and to Karol before brekkie

So after a good sleep and breakfast, we were ready for the off in the morning - down dragon boat alley, through the swan sanctuary, past St Peter's spire and the cathedral and into the locks, filled with water, emptied elsan, moored up so all male crew members could go to the park while I went to Asda for some foodie bits but mostly for shorts, sunhat and sunscreen for Grandson The Younger.

A phone call to Bill (fisherman) and he arranged to meet us at Bridge 12 and show us a good mooring before the next lock. It was a lovely place to be - peaceful but active with walkers and cyclists, and plenty of room for the table and chairs, plus a great stretch for the boys to cycle/scooting up and down making up games/competitions as they did. They are excellent at amusing themselves, esp when there are two wheeled vehicles available!

Bill the fisherman, whome we first met in Pershore. Note the cheese scones. He didn't eat any, but David Olek and I obliged, of course.

Karol had arrived with only one pair of shorts and no sun hat. My trip to Asda was mostly to remedy those wardrobe requirements. The Minion shorts were deemed OK, but Karol would have preferred a cap; however as he is very fair he needs his ears and neck protecting more than sunscreen can do. He did start to like the hats though, which was a blessing.

After a trip to the park for soccer, and much biking up and down the towpath, it was a word game on the iPad. The scrabble dictionary had to come out to find a word that would use the q, u and a random set of letters. No go I'm afraid!
We deemed Monday to be Worcester exploration day and caught a bus into the city to start. The fountain play area along the riverfront was a hit, even though Olek resisted it for a bit (he is 12 after all and becoming too sophisticated for childish things like water-play ...), and then an exploration of the cathedral after a picnic lunch on the lawn in the square. While David and the boys played soccer there I went to visit the Worcester Porcelain Museum which could have occupied a lot more of my time, but I was mindful that we still had to get back to the bus station; and grandfathers, while more physically fit and with more stamina than grandmothers (at least on this boat), do have their limits for keeping up with grandsons ...

See the photos below for the day's progress:

These butts need a lift!

It felt strange standing under this in the Hive

And from the outside of it. Rather impressive we thought.

Olek eventually couldn't resist ...

And Karol took off his shoes to enjoy it in proper Kiwi fashion

Playing with the water.
The seagulls are well regimented ...

A bevy of swans at the sanctuary
In the cathedral I was struck by the beautiful ceilings. I struggled though with the sermon that was being preached while no one was actively listening - there were only tourists walking around talking to each other. And when she started on the Lord's Prayer, I had to leave. The words grate on me as I am not too good with showering power and glory on an imaginary friend.
Maybe he is taller than me
or maybe I am standing in the gutter. Either way, he will catch me up shortly (get it?)

The cobbles - good thing I was wearing trainers! High heels and cobbles would be a lethal combination for ankles, I reckon.

We made our way back to the bus station via the High Street. What a lovely area that is, and the City Council Building is just beautiful. I took a photo of the outside but it was no good. Just use your imagination, please.

While David and the boys explored that, I spoke with my cousin Gordon to arrange storing our motorhome at their place until it is due to be shipped to NZ. Yes, the motorhome has been born and the adoption papers are being prepared - yay!!! We have also semi-arranged a short venture out in it beforehand to make sure we understand how everything works. Exciting!!

Back at the boat, after trying out churros (quite nice but too much sugar) in a Mexican place, a bus ride, and a small supermarket shop, the boys still had the energy for extended cycling up and down the towpath! Clearly they are too well-fed!
I think their strength as they carried the groceries back proves my point that we fed them too well.

Olek is practising his TiT face - Teenager in Training. He hasn't got the pout and stuck out jaw right yet though. Plenty of time - he turns 13 in February, so I am sure he will perfect it by then ...
More later, team. Now in Birmingham and several days have elapsed. I am not sure how this occurs, but I've been noticing it for about 66.6 years now. Oooh! that's a bit significant - but the actual 66.6 years will occur on 4 August. I sense a celebration coming on ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Agree, Worcester is wonderful, great to read and see pics on your blog about your escapades there.
Grandsons are wonderful aren't they, time just flies by and you don't realise how tired out you are until the end of the day.
Like your idea of taking Tumeric Capsules, so will have to seek some out now to try.
Ann and Keith xx