Sunday 24 October 2021


 Today's Canal - Worcester and Birmingham

One of the reasons for mooring alongside the Commandery was that it is close to the Cathedral. As the service was not until 10:30 we could have had a slow start - except that Mike wanted to take the opportunity to catch up with the blogs for the last three days.

There was dampness in the air as we set off but fortunately it did not come to rain. We entered through the large gatehouse that guards College green. From there we could the south entrance - we were very early so people were just beginning to gather.

By the time the service started there was a good congregation that included the family and friends of a couple whose baby daughter was to be baptised during the service. What made a difference was the the baby was the Dean's grand daughter!

Whilst it was a conventional service with the music sung by a visiting choir from Exeter Cathedral using a setting by Palestrina and the anthem was by Andrew Millington, until 2015 the Organist and Choirmaster at Exeter Cathedral. The anthem was composed for the the visit of the Queen during her 2002 Jubilee Tour.

The sermon was given by the Dean and was one of the best we have heard in a long time and was an especially well crafted piece of writing with a clear arc from beginning to end. He focussed very much on the significance of being given a name and not just being a number.

Close to where we sat we saw the Wylde Tomb. You may remember that we noted yesterday the importance of this family in the history of the Commandery. It was Thomas, the father of Robert and Margaret, who purchased the Commandery in 1544. The family wealth came from being clothiers but Robert trained as a lawyer and joined the Inner Temple in London.  He returned to Worcester later in life and lived from rents and farming. He and his wife were the only members of the family to be buried in the cathedral - most were interred in a nearby church. Since that church has not survived, perhaps Robert's choice was a wise one!

After the service ended we walked back to the boat where we had coffee and later lunch.

We cast off the boat a little after 2 o'clock - we only planned a short cruise today as going any further would have taken us into a longish flight of locks which w would not be able to complete before dark.

The first lock was again Blockhouse Lock which we mentioned in a previous blog. Here is a different shot which shows how the cellar had been given light through additional windows.

We also spoke of the dubious state of the lower gates - here is another angle that demonstrates the ingenuity that CaRT engineers will use to eke out the life of gates towards the end of their usable life and thus stretch the scarce resources as far as possible.

Some boaters would critically use this as evidence of CaRT's lack of maintenance but it seems clear to us that, in a situation where income inevitably falls short of  the need, such keenness to 'keep the show on the road' is much to be commended. The only alternative, sadly, would be extended closures when such situations arise and repairs or replacements have to be left until money becomes available.

Both before and after Worcester Marina we saw numerous hire boats from various fleets returning to their base before dark. In the short cruise we saw more moving boats than for many a day.

We continued up the next four locks, all close together, and the flow of oncoming traffic meant that we had rather less work to do than usual.

The afternoon was generally damp, with light rain for short periods, so photos were not easy to take. We moored where we have in the past, opposite the sports centre playing fields.

2.2 Miles - 5 Locks

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