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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2014 Day 20

Posted by indigodream on 5 September, 2014

Rewind to Sunday 27th July (posted from Congleton)

Stoke Pound (Tardebigge Bottom Lock) to Dunhampstead Bridge

Wonderful views..

Wonderful views..

Thanks to my cold, I had a rotten night’s sleep. However, I had a treat in the morning, Richard cycled off to get the car (parked at Alvechurch) and I got into bed for a few hours with Ollie. In fact I had some extra time – Richard had trouble navigating over the tunnels! My lie-in was refreshing and so, by late morning, I was somewhere near a fit state for cruising.

Our plans to go along the Droitwich had now changed to a vague ambition to get to Worcester. As I got comfy on the helm, a winged seed from an nearby sycamore tree drifted down to my land on my lap before the wind picked it up for the next stage of its own odyssey. That’s about as focussed as our plans are at the moment – blown by the wind of chance – hard to believe that we were ever focused enough to come third in the BCN Challenge!

But the wind of chance blowing us towards Worcester was particularly sweet. Cousin Denise and husband Wyn, both experienced Indigo Dreamers, were coming up to the Cotswolds for a mini-break on Thursday 31st. She got in touch to find out whether the boat was in the Cotswolds – result! We move down to Worcester, they’d book an extra night at a local B & B and we’d have a catch-up cruise together next Saturday.

Several boats went past us in the morning but after the early rush to tackle the Tardebigge, we had the canal largely to ourselves. Despite the mighty fall down the Tardebigge, there were still a LOT of locks between us and Worcester. We didn’t get into the same routine as yesterday, but we still did well, first down the Stoke flight then the Astwood locks. We passed the narrow entrance to the Droitwich and carried on south.

Where does that path go to....?

Where does that path go to….?

But by the time we got to Hanbury Wharf it was gone 2pm, with several hours cruising and the long drive home in front of us. I got a bit daunted and looked with longing at the visitor moorings at Dunhampstead. We cruised past, undecided, and were thinking of looking for moorings at Tibberton, when we came to a winding hole and decided to turn back. By now, the cold that had beset me overnight had settled into my ears, so I was feeling very peculiar. We hastened back to Dunhampstead. On the way down, I’d seen the sign for the visitor moorings but there didn’t seem to be a restriction. When we moored up, we walked the moorings and found that they were only 48 hour – b$%%^&. But I was done for, the moorings were empty and we decided to moor there anyway and contact CRT for an extension on Monday.

Richard once again got on his bike and cycled back to Stoke Pound for the car. I packed the boat ready for a quick getaway and had another welcome snooze.

This weekend was the hottest cruising weekend of the year for us (we’ve lounged at home during the previous hot weekends) so it had to be the time that our fridge broke down. We removed the controller unit, which we suspect is the problem, for return to the manufacturers, Shoreline. Luckily we didn’t have much food that needed refrigeration, but we did miss cold drinks and ice!

Although I was desperate to get home, we set ourselves up for the drive by having a proper long, cold drink at the Fir Tree Inn. We’d have eaten there too, but they don’t serve food on Sunday afternoon/evening. Still, our drinks refreshed us enough and I drove us home in reasonable time.

Today’s Trivia

You’ll see below a photograph of a blue brick embossed with the name “Joseph Hamblet” dated 1894. I though I’d find out whether they were original and they are – 120 year old bricks looking brand new! Joseph Hamblet founded the Piercy brickworks in West Bromwich where they were renowned for making blue bricks. There’s a fascinating article in the Black Country Bugle which gives more on his history. The blue bricks were very strong – apparently they were crush tested by the Institutiion of Civil Engineers in 1886 – they reported that “Hamblet’s bricks proved the superior, requiring, on average, a force of over 16,000 lbs / sq. in. to completely crush them.”. Now in modern money that is 110 N/mm², most really good blue engineering bricks nowadays struggle to achieve 75 N/mm². Hardly surprising that they became the building material of choice for major infrastructure projects – like canals!

Photoblog:

Love these embossed bricks - were they really made in 1894?

Love these embossed bricks – they can tell us so much about the history of the canal…

I had less luck finding out about P W Bennitt - presumable another local brickmaker...

I had less luck finding out about P W Bennitt – presumable another local brickmaker…

Windmill - never noticed that before....

Windmill – never noticed that before….

Witty!

Witty!

It's a long fall to the Severn, then another long fall to sea level...

It’s a long fall to the Severn, then another long fall to sea level…

Such a pretty lock cottage - the garden was immaculate...

Such a pretty lock cottage – the garden was immaculate…

Rural idyll...

Rural idyll…

The entrance to the Droitwich canal - looks enticing - but not today... :-)

The entrance to the Droitwich canal – looks enticing – but not today… 🙂

More wit :-D

More wit 😀

Pretty as a picture...

Pretty as a picture…

Wonder what's lurking under this towpath??

Wonder what’s lurking under this towpath??

This is exactly as I remember it from our trip here in nb Dragonfly

This is exactly as I remember it from our trip here in nb Dragonfly

And so it was in Septmber 2005, when Indigo Dream was named :-)

And so it was in September 2005, when Indigo Dream was named 🙂

 

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