Unplanned stay in Tewkesbury

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Clattering down The Avon we stopped at Tewkesbury.

We had phoned Tewkesbury Marina and they had arranged to lift Ginger Bear out of the water.Simon and his team were incredibly helpful and quickly pulled her up the slipway bottom first.

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An engineer had been called to check the damage. They were all impressed by the bend in the prop.

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Much sucking of teeth, next step – new propeller. Time was spent rubbing and polishing the old propeller, like Aladdin’s lamp – no genie, but magic numbers were revealed identifying size, pitch and rotation. Very important if we were to get the correct replacement. A new propeller would take some time; we settled down to wait.

If you have to get stuck somewhere, Tewkesbury Marina is a rather good place to be stuck. The customer service is truly fantastic (a real pleasure to be on the receiving end), nothing was too much trouble, and a berth was quickly found for us for as long as we needed one in this immaculate marina.

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We explored the delights of Tewskesbury, a rather intriguing small town with some lovely old buildings. It has starred on television masquerading as an island during floods.

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A cheerful bus driver dropped us off in a nearby village so that we could satisfy Dugald’s ambition to climb Bredon Hill. It was a very gusty day with forbidding clouds and heavy downpours – the views were amazing.

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On the way up we managed to find Neil and Nettie’s family cottage where Dugald stayed as a child.

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Walking along the river, Dugald was very excited to see dinghies racing. We sat and watched them for a while as they went round a racing mark. It was good spectator sport.

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Dugald collected our car from London and we ventured further afield. We visited friends Frank and Lorna near Shrewsbury,

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and went to Gloucester to have a look at the docks.

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We walked along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal viewing some overambitious projects on the way. Dugald has plans to take Ginger Bear from Sharpness to Avonmouth with a pilot on board. I have made it clear that this is one trip I intend to miss.

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My sister Anne and husband Richard live in Devon but frequently dash around the country on business for their company Clickety Books. They publish great educational children’s books which my grandchildren love. We provide periodic floating hotel facilities for them, and they dropped in for a night on their way back from Birmingham. The following morning we woke up to thick autumn mist to find the boat festooned with cobwebs. Spiders and narrowboats go together: apparently they like slightly damp environments and at this time of year their handiwork is beautiful.

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We waited patiently. The weather was pretty awful, but Dugald managed to do a little DIY in between the showers

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and I made some changes to our garden.

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At last our shiny new propeller arrived.

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Ginger Bear again suffered the indignity of being pulled out. The propeller was fitted and tested, all OK.

We were nearly ready to go, but just had to take the car back to London. Dugald set off promising to be back later on a train arriving at 8pm. I spent most of the day washing the clothes and cleaning the boat. Unusually I was so organised that I timed supper to be ready as he arrived home. The phone rang just after 8, and he told me with an increasingly fractured signal that, engrossed in his book, he had missed the stop – next stop Worcester! I rescued supper, he grabbed a taxi and an hour later we opened a bottle of wine together.

We have changed our plans and are retracing our steps up The Avon. This may sound boring, but walkers know that ‘there and back’ trips never feel the same. ‘There’ always feels quite different from ‘back’.

We sampled new places.

It took us five hours to shake off Bredon Hill before we stopped at Evesham for the night

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Yesterday was a lovely sunny day and we moored at Bidford-on-Avon. Bidford is a pretty village which still retains a butcher, baker, small timber framed bank and a couple of pubs. I don’t know what the secret is, but they must be doing something right. We were by the large recreation ground and in the evening the entire village appeared to be out exercising their dogs and supervising their swimming.

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The sun is out again today and the river I found rather grey on the way down is showing its beauty. The leaves are just starting to change colour and there are bright berries everywhere.

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We have just moored the boat in the Stratford Basin again between Hamlet and Lady Macbeth. Like the other boats we are part of the tourist scene. We have visitors again so must go shopping. Anne and Richard are exhibiting in Coventry and we are close enough to provide bed and a good meal tonight.

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