With 50 years of experience as a boat builder Mr Pinder fixes the cooling system with some grease and kitchen paper, even though we have to borrow a ladder to get him into the engine room. Thanks John. And so off to Pershore.
Thursday 30th July
Still in sunny Pershore, the view of Bredon Hill obscured by driving rain all day yesterday has raised the water level at Pershore lock to two feet into the red. The debris is pouring steadily down the river, the weirs are roaring the ducks are paddling hard and little groups of boaters gather on the shore discussing the latest information. People still leave in their boats but we head back to the moorings, the launderette, the market and the public toilets at the back of Asda and wait. Don’t want to wrap Tyseley round Eckington bridge on the way back to Tewkesbury.
A good show last night packed into the bar of the Rock of Gibraltar at Enslow Bridge, a very generous collection and great Greek food provided after the show by our hosts – Faith and Stamatis. Will ring the lockkeeper at Avon lock early afternoon and hope for good news.
No good news so we stay at Pershore another day. Up at six the next morning and paddle down to the lock to check the levels. Still on red but down a long way so back to bed for an hour and then paddle down to the lock again. The level is just a centimetre above the amber so ring the lock at Tewkesbury and the whole river is on amber so decide to go for it. The best day’s boating of my life. Went past the lock and back upstream to avoid crashing the gates and swung round on ropes to get in. Left the lock gates at 10.00am and powered through the swirling current at the two Pershore bridges passing the stranded boaters on the moorings and sped past the plastic boats, keeping the speed up to keep steerage. The river looks so beautiful, sparkling in the sunshine, Bredon Hill looking serenely down and the woods and fields speeding past. A few gentle curves and then Nafford lock. We get on the moorings easily but have to clear the lock of debris before entering backwards. The indicator is on red but this is the narrowest part of the river so after consulting the lock keeper again we carry on. The weir, which I thought would turn us round actually pulls us in and a few hairy moments before it pushes our nose slowly downstream and we are on our way to the swan’s neck. No problem here, just a quick burst of power out of the curve and we are on our way to the next obstacle, Eckington Bridge. Again the power of Tyseley puts us in exactly the right place and keeps control all the way through. We stop for water and sewage and then on to Strensham lock. Going in backward we have to stop a tiny punt with an outboard following us in as we have to straddle the lock. The wind is coming directly upstream so there is nothing to pull us round as we exit. Instead we reverse right across the stream and spin round to catch the current off the weir to bring us round. A straight run into Tewksbury where the river is on green by now, turn on a rope with the help of the lock keeper and back into our mooring on the weir stream.
Jumping straight into the van we motor to Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire for the night’s show and then back to Tyseley to catch a few hours sleep before setting off for London and HMS President on the banks of the Thames, where I am sitting now looking out on the now calm high tide waters and the lights of ‘Sea Containers House’ across the river.