Saturday 25 November 2017

Only a Short Visit

It was only a short visit and we have done almost none of the things we had thought about doing! Yesterday saw an even slower start - about the only reason for leaving the warmth of the boat was for Mike to empty the elsan and that is quite close.

After lunch we went out to look for a few items - Christine thought we were headed for Worcester but Mike went first to the Homebase out the other side of Droitwich. One of the items we were thinking about was a small electric free standing radiator to put in the font bedroom. Although there is an under-bed radiator fed from the main boiler (which keeps the main cabin really cosy, helped by massive output from the solid fuel stove) the bedroom is still rather chilly and it is not even frosty yet. Our weather station did indicate about 1C outside and only around 10C inside at times.

When the sun came out - which was really bright today - this bedroom was actually much warmer than the main cabin - we have not been keeping the stove in all day.

Christine had looked around on the internet and we had seen what might be useful on the Homebase web site - just a low power item as we were not sure about the effect that a 1.5 kW one would have on our electrics. The commonest seem to be 2 kW which is really pushing the limits of our shoreline when taking into account everything else.

The Homebase in Droitwich had a selection but not the low power ones. A very helpful sales assistant checked with Worcester. Even though their stock level showed six, the person at the other site offered to do a physical check and eventually returned to say that she could not find any at all! As result we at least saved ourselves another wasted journey.

After picking up a couple of items from Aldi next door (including a ready made pizza for the evening meal) we then went across the road to the B&M shed but no luck there with a radiator although we did find a thin floor mat which we are thinking about trying as alternative insulating layer above the freezer. Although it is fully enclosed we have found that it encourages condensation which makes the dinette cushion that lies on top sometimes a bit damp. We have been using newspaper but that has a tendency to go everywhere.

Back into town as nowhere out here sold newspapers so we had to brace ourselves to pay another 50p for car parking outside Morrisons. However, we first went into Wilko and this was fortunate as they did have a small 750w oil filled radiator that is small enough to fit under the bed when it is pulled out.

Shopping over we returned to the marina and back onto the boat where we stayed until morning! The pizza was quite OK - at £1.76 we could not really have lost much! At least Christine was impressed - more so than with Mike's mixed salad accompaniment! The cheesecake from Morrisons was a great but quite heavy so most of it was put back into the fridge to go home!

Another bright and sunny morning today but probably quite cold - not yet ventured further than looking through the windows! We are leaving this morning - must not linger too much as Mike has a meeting at 4.30 to help set up Egloshayle Church projector ready for tomorrow morning and the team have asked for a sight variation on our norm so it needs checking out.

It has only been a short visit but we have enjoyed the chance (excuse) to do very little! But we have finished the books we were reading!

Thursday 23 November 2017

Late November Short Break

We drove up from home yesterday. We left in good time and as this is about the nearest marina we arrived by 1 o'clock. The boat was in good shape and it did not take too long to restore everything to habitable status, with the water tank filled.

Apart from Mike making a short trip to Morrisons in town for a few supplies, we were happy to stay cocooned in the warmth - it was blowing a strong wind and not too pleasant to be outdoors. Although Mike tried to put up the satellite dish, a strange sound some minutes later signalled that it had fallen over in the wind. Fortunately we had restrained it with a mooring rope so at least it did not not go into the water!

Today we enjoyed a slow start but mid morning drove into Droitwich for a few items from Morrisons. We did pay for an hour so that we could walk around the town centre to remind ourselves of the layout. It is a little while since we were last here. On the last few times (including last month) we have come along the canal we have only made quick forays to the nearest shops.

We took a brief look at the salt museum in the tourist information centre - we may come back next month when  Alice and Jess are with us. It is fairly compact but does set out the way in which the town was shaped by the large amounts of good quality salt laid down deep under the surface in this area.

A statue is a reminder pf the men who worked in the salt production.

Looking at older maps we have discovered just how much of the centre of the town is very recent with the older, more industrial areas having been replaced. Sadly, much of that replacement is unimaginative and unlikely to last as long as any predecessors!

High Street is the only part with older shops buildings - it is easy to see why there have been problems as many of the buildings are at odd angles as a result of subsidence.

In a gap between various buildings we could see across to the old church on the top of the hill opposite. If you look carefully you can see that a rainbow spanned across the picture. The weather was generally favourable but a brief light shower (which just missed us) lasted just a couple of minutes after which the bright blue sky returned.

We returned to the boat for lunch - which did include part of a fresh pork pie from a small independent butcher on High Street.

Although we had discussed driving to either Worcester or Great Malvern, in the end the bright weather persuaded us to talk a walk from the marina. Once across the Rugby Club access bridge we turned onto the towpath towards the junction. The first part was rather muddy but soon we discovered that there was a better surfaced alternative!

We walked up, passing the three locks to the junction.

Here we took a look at Hanbury Wharf Centre, a collection of a few small businesses including a boat sales operation and others unrelated to the canal - including one selling garden shelters.

Back at the towpath we retraced our steps but at the access bridge we continued on to the new locks just before the motorway. Crossing the M5 was one of the major obstacles that the restoration engineers had to solve. The original route had been completely obliterated by the embankment for the motorway but fortunately they established that a tunnel could just - only just - be made through  a culvert for Body Brook which is much smaller than the River Salwarpe which it joins just the other side.

We were tempted by realising that the next lock was only a short way further one and continued. Here, the new alignment joins the river but leaves it again at the start of Vines Park with the almost-level Barge Lock.

Of course, once at the lock it was only a short extra walk to Waitrose - we missed that we needed some red kidney beans and this would avoid having to drive back in a second time!

Eventually it was time to retrace our steps back to the boat - arriving as the sun was just going down below the horizon!