Sunday 9 July
Worcester to Haw Bridge, Tirley
Today has been a pretty restful day. Leaving Diglis Basin took a while due to the two huge locks leading onto the river Severn; not only were the gates super-heavy to open and close (although Leigh tells me closing is always easier than opening them), but the mechanisms were particularly tough too.
The first lock wasn’t too bad due to the fact that there was a holiday boat, with a crew of four, coming through in the opposite direction. The three who were not steering were able to help close the lock.
When Leigh trotted down to the second lock she found both mechanisms were snapping back at her as she wound the paddles up. A man and a woman (gongoozlers) watched her struggling. Eventually, another guy who was crossing the bridge, shouted, ‘Can I help you?’ Just as he did so Leigh had managed to get the paddle through the snappingbackstage so she beamed, ‘It’s ok as I’m past the difficult bit, but thanks so much anyway. Much appreciated’. I hoped the gongoozlers heard, and realised that offering to help is something that polite people do. Yelp!
The river Severn is wide and the banks are steep meaning that the view doesn’t change often. If ‘lots of greenery and a big river’ are your thing, then that’s great – but my humans find it a tad boring (albeit beautiful on a sunny day) compared to the canals and small rivers.
We encountered two manned locks, Diglis Lock (after the basin locks) and one at Upper Lode just past the turn for Tewkesbury. Both lock-keepers (one male, one female) were super helpful and super friendly, taking an interest in our route to London and recommending a good pub to stop off at for dinner. Somehow we missed the pub (very unusual for Tom to miss a pub) and ended up mooring at Haw Bridge; the Haw Bridge pub is being refurbished which meant that Leigh threw together a quick supper of pasta. Apparently, they are planning to eat out tomorrow evening now, when we will be in Gloucester docks – an area overflowing with some superlittleeatingplaces.
Just as we were approaching the Haw Bridge at Tirley we saw about a thousand (slight exaggeration) little sailing dinghies bobbing up and down. It looked to be great fun as they swooped and darted across the river; almost tipping over and then turningonasixpence to regain control of the vessel.
Tom was urged to, ‘Keep to the right’, by who I guess must have been the instructor. I wanted to bark, ‘Do you mean starboard, Sir?’…but I controlled myself. One little dinghy chased our tail as we left them behind and I heard Leigh telling Tom that she, ‘Would have loved to learned to sail as a child’.
Once moored up we took a walk around the lanes of Tirley, where we came across a charming, thatched-roof cottage dating back to the sixteenth century. This still-pretty cottage looked very unkempt – possible derelict – and I could just imagine all the animals that had lived there – either in the cottage or the garden. It would have made a great place to go and readthetrees, if only I had been allowed off-lead!
Monday 10 July
Tirley to Gloucester Dock
Every day brings something new and today was no exception. After a quick off lead (Yelp!) walk we set off for Gloucester.
Although we have moored up in Gloucester Dock before, and thought we knew the area, as we turned around to moor-up today Leigh spotted an interesting building on the other side of the quay; the side where Gloucester College is, as opposed to the shopping and socialising side.
As Leigh was working today we had to wait until late afternoon to walk over to try and discover what the old building was, and whether it was in use. Now, Tom had worked for a company whose offices were in the docks and even he had no idea of what we would discover, never having noticed this building before. On reaching it we saw a sign explaining that there had been a priory on the site and, thanks to a national lottery grant, this is being partially restored. It truly is a wonderful sight and a wonderful site; we wandered around and will definitely go back once the restorers have done their work. It was the old tythe barn that had aroused Leighs curiousity initially, but when you read the information board you find out that there is a lot more to discover and it really is fascinating. There was a priory here dating back to around the fifteen century. Known by three names the most popular is ‘Llanthony Secunda Priory’ – you find ‘Llanthony Warehouse’ on the dock, so the connection has been kept alive although the priory went to ruin. An interesting fact is that this was the second Llanthony Priory to be built (the first was in Wales) so I am guessing that ‘Secunda’ means just that – ‘Second’. Another name for the priory was ‘Llanthony Juxta Gloucester’, so I can see the true use of ‘juxta’ here (Leigh used to use ‘juxtaposed’ a lot – and I mean a lot – in her writing). I just love language and history. Yelp!
This evening my humans went out for dinner – as planned. Cleo came by on her way home from Winchester; according to Leigh and Tom they all had a lovely meal and a good catch-up. Cleo had recently washed her mobile phone so Tom gave her an old one to try with her SIM card; even a week in rice couldn’t dry the phone out. In return, Cleo had a rather nice doormat that her OH didn’t like so she gave us that. In the old days I would have called it ‘playing swapsie’ but I don’t know if grownuphumans play it.
Rosie and I play swapsie with our treats. Well, being completely honest we don’t actually swap, I just steal hers as I’m a treat-monster. I’ve usually gulped mine down before she even finds a place to settle down and eat hers; Leigh often ends up giving Rosie another treat – which means I get double. Works every time folks!
Rosie and I stayed homealone this evening. We enjoyed a lovely snooze – it’s very peaceful here apart from the odd scream. Those seagulls drive me mad – they even come really close to you, almost asking to be chased. To be honest, they’re almost as big as me and are quite scary with beady eyes and hooked beaks. Squuuaaakkkk.