Tuesday, 3 August 2021

On to Slimbridge

 Monday August 2 Saul to Patch Bridge (4 miles, 0 locks, 6 swing bridges, Engine Hours 4519)

Yesterday, we met daughter Joanna and baby Hope in Chepstow, just over the older Severn Bridge, and had a pleasant walk around the town centre and Sunday market. Later, we read, watched the Olympics and walked the dog, as usual.

Today, after breakfast, Liana walked Honeypie while John added oil to our leaky gearbox, then took Annie back through Sandfield Bridge to the CRT services by the CCT shop. Once we had emptied loo cassettes and filled with water (with a coffee at The Stables while we waited!), we headed for Slimbridge, taking our time. 




The busy Sandfield and Fretherne Bridges are powered, after which you parallel Frampton village, reaching its church just before Splatt’s Bridge. The bridge keepers have to open Splatter Bridge and Cambridge Arms Bridge manually. The Cam feeder now has a fancy new house next to it, replacing the old chalet. 





Our Pearson’s Guide shows visitor moorings before and after Patch Bridge, on the towpath side. However, CRT visitor moorings are actually after the bridge on the other side. Overgrown before the bridge on the towpath side, we moored after it, on decent piled moorings, which are not signed as CRT visitor moorings. There is now no chandlery selling gas next to the Black Shed cafe, either. Michael Pearson, take note, please.

Later, we tried out the Black Shed cafe (ok), chatted to holidaymakers visiting Slimbridge, watched the Olympics and turned the music volume up when thunder frightened Honeypie!

Wednesday August 3 at Slimbridge 

Today has been sunny, so we have walked through sheep pastures and beside a field of maize and the length of Slimbridge village.  Sadly, the church was closed, while there was little in the post office, apart from snacks and a few cards.

Back at Patch Bridge, we treated ourselves to lunch again. Liana  had ok loaded chips and coffee. John had a cold can of Guinness with a good steak and kidney pie, new potatoes and peas with gravy …. Ah!




John popped the engine on for dishwasher, the two loads in the washing machine. We read and baked in the sun while the clothes dried. Various interesting craft passed us by. Later, we walked Honeypie down to the closed World Wildlife Trust Slimbridge Wetland Centre, while the normally busy road was quiet. There is a good-sized car park for our daughter Jo when we all visit tomorrow.

It’s a hard life, but someone’s got to do it!





Saturday, 31 July 2021

Hope and Happiness



 Saturday July 31 A New Hope!

These last few days have been all about our family. Liana and We had a lovely Ruby Wedding celebration on July 24 with daughter Jo, partner Mark and his parents Julie and Bryn, eating the special Shu Pies at the Three Horseshoes, Frampton on Severn. Jo then was delivered next day of a beautiful baby girl, Hope Juliana (Julie, Liana, geddit!), 6lb 13oz, our first grandchild!


After a quiet day together to recover, we were allowed to visit and see how lovely mother and daughter are! Dad did well, too! Jo, Hope and Mark are below.

Auntie Rach came to see Hope, too.


Mark’s family visited next day.

Also, great gran Flo, Liana’s mum, aged 91 on July 29, was brought by our daughter Sarah to see Hope on her birthday, too! They stayed at the Bell Inn, Frampton on Severn, where we had a decent meal together in the evening.

Exciting times!

Boat wise, we’ve stayed at Saul and Frampton, nearby, chilling, walking the dog and watching the Olympics, which have been excellent.



Sunday, 25 July 2021

Sunday sortie

 Sunday July 25 discovering Stroud Brewery

Today, we watched more Olympics before visiting Saul Junction in the car to empty a loo cassette and visit the CCT shop. This had no Cotswold Canal Trust T shirts for sale, just polo shirts etc. 

We popped through Stroud to Brimscombe Port to walk the canal back to Ham Mill Lock. The CCT shop next to the Ship Inn was closed (open Tue, Thurs, Sat). 

After a hundred metres of piled up mound covering the canal, we followed the excellent towpath to the dug out Gough’s Orchard Lock, where you could see the normally submerged culvert entrance leading to the top gate ground paddles, which opens to fill the lock chamber. In the picture above, you can also see the top gate recesses and the wooden cill remains.

After a weedy stretch if canal, we passed  Stroud Brewery, with bar, ice creams and snacks. 

From here, the canal is in water, possibly navigable, with new mooring outside the brewery! 



After walking on to the fully functional Ham Lock, with universal joints on the paddle winding gear, we returned to the brewery for a drink (good ale, strong coffee), before going home to Annie.





Saturday, 24 July 2021

Enjoying the summer. Sapperton Tunnel

 Thursday July 22

Happy Birthday, daughter Rachel, who is sweating in the kitchen at a Christian group’s week’s camp.

We visited Saul in the car, emptied a couple of loo holding tanks, then enjoyed breakfast at The Stables, canalside at Saul Junction. We chilled in the shade later.

Friday July 23 Walking the Thames & Severn Canal: Sapperton Tunnel

In the morning, we took bin bags to the big bin by Sellars Bridge, then chilled.

After lunch, we drove to the Daneway Inn, near Sapperton . After a drink, we walked through the car park, which is built over Summit Lock (!), and then followed the towpath 500 metres to the Daneway Portal of the Sapperton Tunnel. This is over two miles long, mostly in good condition, with two roof falls due to unstable fullers earth rock.






We then walked half a mile downhill from the car park, down six more semi-derelict but dug out locks to Whitehall Upper Lock. On the way, we passed the remains of Daneway Basin, below Summit lock and beside Wharf Lock. After the three Sicceridge Wood locks (some with side pounds), the canal broadened at Bathurst Meadow Lock, where we crossed over the tail of the lock as the towpath changed sides. All these locks are very deep and unguarded, so take care, especially with children and dogs.





Before returning to Annie, we drove through the scenic  Sapperton village to Coates and the eastern Coates Portal, which has the Tunnel Inn above it. This was almost dry, but in good condition. The stop planks under the bridge where we parked mean that springs inside the tunnel fill the canal in winter, so trip boats can operate, run by the Cotswold Canals Trust.





We ate on the boat and chilled/napped later!

Saturday July 24 Our Ruby Wedding Anniversary

Yes, we have been married forty years, hard to believe! We opened our lovely anniversary cards, and drove to Dursley for an excellent breakfast at the Hummingbird, “The Huggiest Cafe in town”! 






It was cooked freshly from excellent ingredients, including the local sausages and bacon. We had a pleasant walk around the partly pedestrianised town centre, too, including the large church, Lions Club shop and local heritage centre, where John talked about Lister engines with the manager (R A Lister built their engines at their Dursley factory).

We chilled under cloudy skies on Annie, watching the Olympics. In the evening we celebrated with the famous pies at The Three Horseshoes at Frampton on Severn, withJo, partner Mark and his parents, Julie and Bryn.



Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Travelling abroad and back for tea!

 Tuesday July 20 by car to Wales 

Today we travelled over the newer Severn Bridge to see  our daughter Jo, near Newport. This was our first visit since her moving day last year, and it was lovely to spend time with her and see her partner Mark, before our first grandchild makes his or her appearance.

We returned over the older Severn Bridge to another meal at the Pilot Inn, followed by a warm evening on Annie.

Wednesday July 21 Chilling!


This morning we simply found the shade, read and relaxed, as the sunny weather continued.


Monday, 19 July 2021

Walking the Cotswold Canals

 Monday July 19 Thames & Severn Canal

Sunday was so hot we sheltered from the sun for most of the day, reading and walking the dog, but mainly trying to keep cool. It was 37C! We did enjoy watching on tv all the Formula 1 motor racing this weekend, at Silverstone.

Today we took the car to Chalford, near Stroud, and walked the Thames & Severn Canal along the Golden Valley of the Rover Frome. It’s a tight fit for road, rail, river and canal in this narrow Cotswold valley. 

Having walked the restored section from Stroud up past Ham Mill Lock previously, today we walked back from Ballinger’s Lock 12, by the Round House at Chalford, along the unrestored canal a couple of miles to the site of Brimscombe Port. 











On the way, the Felt Cafe, by the canal at Bourne Mill and Lock 8, and beside the River Frome, provided good coffee and excellent meaty sausage roll and chocolate cake. 


We figured out the position of the future basin close to the Brimscombe Mill building, presently a car park. 

John found the new Cotswold Canal Trust shop next to The Ship Inn. 


The canal will one day pass under the road and 100 yards along the lane next to these two places. John found the towpath and more filled in canal to Gough’s Orchard Lock 7, which has been excavated.


The blue pipe is to bring water from the River Frome one day, we think.

On the way home, we stopped to see the canal by St Cyr Chirch, Stonehouse. Honeypie beat all of us to navigate this canal!