Well it doesn’t seem like five minutes since I was telling you we were off on our adventures but here we are back again. Mr P is back to work and the boys are back to school.
The weather, as ever, has been typically British and very mixed. Some torrential downpours but also some sunshine. The torrential downpours were significant enough and caused some disruption to our plans but they didn’t stop us enjoying ourselves… more of them later.
We picked the boat up near Droitwich Spa on Saturday, planning to go up the Droitwich Canal, onto the River Severn and up to Stourport and possibly further depending on what time allowed. However we were told that the River had a flood warning on it so we chose to go down the Birmingham and Worcester Canal to Worcester instead, hoping that the warning would be lifted by then.
When we arrived at Worcester there was a Red Flood Warning on the River so we decided to take our time there, have a look around and hopefully the situation would change. We did have a walk by the River and it did seem in pretty full flow. The boys went to The Commandery to find out about the history of Worcester and Grandma P and I went into the town centre (primarily in search of white cotton dk!!!). The River may not look particularly flood-like in the picture below but that is because the Flood Warning system for boaters and those from the Environment Agency (for properties) are different. We could certainly see how fast it was flowing and all the currents that were there. Those are two incredibly skilled lady rowers!
After our exploring the River still had its Red Warning and, not knowing how long it would take for the water to subside, we decided to go back the way we had come instead. So back up the Birmingham and Worcester Canal and onto the Droitwich. This time past the Marina and into Droitwich itself (where some shopping was done) and then beyond, again hoping that the warning would have been removed from the River at the other end.
Before we got to Droitwich we had to pass through a short flight of staircase locks. These are different from normal locks because one lock leads straight into the next (there is no pound in-between). Boats cannot pass in a staircase so the entire flight must be free of boats before you enter, and you use one lock of water to fill the next. It can quite often cause confusion when people don’t realise it is a staircase and that it is different… I have had people arguing in the past, that they can come into the bottom lock when we are already halfway down. No problems this time though and it was only a very short staircase. We spent a very pleasant evening sitting at the bow with bottles of beer and listening to the birds singing the evening chorus. We heard blackbirds, wood pigeons, pheasants, a cuckoo, a woodpecker plus lots of others we could not recognise. And when we got to the River Severn… you guessed it…. an Amber Warning this time.
So we decided to go back the way we had come (again!) and explore our very last option, a little of the Birmingham and Worcester Canal in the opposite direction, towards Birmingham. We couldn’t go very far in that direction because there is a flight of 30 locks, the Tardebigge Flight, which we did not want to do as we would have to come straight back because time was getting short. Instead we had a bit of a walk up the flight instead.
In terms of our route, it was a bit of a frustrating holiday, but then it’s not really about getting from A to B and back again. It’s more about being on the boat, winding down and going at boat speed…. much slower than normal daily life. We get up when we wake, eat when we are hungry and sleep when we are tired. Clocks don’t matter. It’s about quality family time. We did have all of that and enjoyed it very much. Looking forward to many more narrowboat days in the future.