Saturday, 8 July 2017

Finstall Cross WI afloat!

Thursday 6th July 2017
Worcester Racecourse to above the Diglis locks, Worcester/Birmingham Canal

2 locks, 3-4 miles

Well not all 60+ of them!  I joined our local WI shortly after we moved to Bromsgrove.  A totally new experience for me, however when you move at retirement it is important to make new friends. Long gone are the days of meeting Mums at the school gate, so I decided to give the WI a go and what a good move that was.  They are a very active WI with a lot of things going on.  Also I somehow managed to get myself invited to talk about the trip we did across The Wash in 2014.  The Severn and Tidal Thames followed the following year and being suckers for punishment they invited me back again to tell them about the Canal du Midi last year.  One of the 'sub clubs' I belong to is the book club - a great way to get to know like minded ladies in a smaller group, plus it has introduced me to some books I would never have read without them.  Some were great and some were not, but a great discipline and something I really enjoy. One thing we have always said is we are always very happy to have visitors and I am delighted to say that I got a message asking if 5 of them could meet us in Worcester on 6th July to do the journey up to the Commandery on the canal in Worcester.

The weather was perfect - hot, sunny with very little breeze.  They arrived around 11:45 laden down with goodies!

The reason the miles are not exact on this post is because we headed off towards Stourport just to give them a slightly longer cruise.  They are all local ladies and know Worcester a lot better than we do.  I found it fascinating listening to them talking about the places we were seeing.  I had never realised that there is a large park at the far end of Worcester Racecourse - somewhere they used to take small children as a reward for good behaviour after a trip to the shops!  It set me thinking and I realised I had never had to do that.  Why not?  Did we have exceptionally well behaved children - no they were the same as most children the world over.  It took me a while, but I eventually realised that we had been in the north of Scotland when they were small and we did not have shops!  Well none that required a great deal of time to visit.  When after four years we moved to Norwich on our first visit I found the choice in shops totally overwhelming and had to give up and go home!

Two sat at the back with Chris

and three at the front.  Coffee/tea had been provided as we set off.

It was only a short cruise and then we turned round and went back to leave the river to join the Worcester Birmingham Canal at Diglis where there are two big locks.  Three ladies (from the right - Thalia (a seasoned boater), Jenny and Janet) got out to help push and pull the gates

Jenny had a go with a windlass

Whilst Susan (left) and Jenny (yes out of 6 ladies three of us are called Jenny/Jennie!) stayed on the back deck to supervise Chris.  Chris knows Thalia well, so all he had to do was learn who was Janet and who was Susan and then if he said Jenny he was okay!

All too soon it was time to get back on board and make the very short trip to the water point just a few hundred yards along the canal.

Just one thing of interest whilst we were locking - two small dogs with their own paddling pool!
 
Whilst Chris was busy filling and emptying as required, the rest of us broke out the sandwiches I had made that morning, some mini pork pies, cocktail sausages and pork & apple bites (the reason for trips to M&S the day before), along with drinks, chicken drumsticks and cakes provided by our generous visitors.  A veritable feast was enjoyed by one and all - and we did feed Chris as well!

The plan had been to go up one more lock to moor at The Commandery, however mooring space up there is limited, so Monty and I walked up to recce.  Sadly it was full.  We had already pulled forward off the water point, so that is where we stayed for the night.

 Bags were gathered together, Chris was pressed into action as a photographer

 and it was time to bid them farewell
It was a really great day - you are welcome again ladies and thank you for coming to share our dream with us for the day.

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