A Change is Gonna Come

Given reasonable luck, we should be leaving Droitwich the week after next. It has come rushing up very quickly so – before the off – I thought I’d write a quick update of what’s been occurring.

We hope to leave the Marina via the Droitwich Canals down to Hawford – one of our favourite places round these parts. But there has been an issue for the last few weeks. Navigation on the Droitwich Junction canal (off which the Marina sits) is affected mainly by the River Salwarpe. You’ll recall, perhaps, us just scraping under the nearby M5 bridge after some heavy rain?

The waterway is also affected by the Body Brook – which enters the canal just below the third lock on the way towards Droitwich town. Over the winter, the Body Brook had deposited a great deal of silt where it enters the canal. It is always a little shallow at this point, but this year it had created a new islet – which we dubbed Silt Island. CRT were made aware of it and are aiming to re-open the canal by the end of next week. Here are some pics of what they have been up to

We are very much hoping that the work will finish on schedule (it looks promising) so that we can go down to Hawford and then up river to Stourport. And therein lies another slight worry. The River Severn is quite capricious at the best of times and we will not be able to go on to it if there is too much rain. So that’s a situation to watch. We have a Plan B and even a Plan C, but we hope not to have to implement them.

We have also had the CRT fish counters out, counting alien species on the waterways. I think they are mainly looking for Zander – a quite voracious, pike-like predator, responsible for the deaths of many native fish. Apparently, if you happen to catch one you may not throw it back, but they are supposed to taste OK. Although my French friend Lau advises me that you should never, ever eat a freshwater fish as they taste of mud!

Fish counting

We recently said goodbye to our Australian friends and fellow Ortomariners Karen and Jon, who have been in the UK for nearly 18 months. They were heading out on their summer cruise, after which they will be selling their boat, Watt Knot – a parallel hybrid – and returning to the land down under. What an awfully big adventure they have had, though! There is a chance that we will see them, somewhere on the waterways before then, but we felt very sad to see them go, just in case we don’t happen to coincide. The boys – whom they have looked after a couple of times for us – will also miss them. They left last week, and we helped them up the three locks to Hanbury junction, so it was quite a lingering farewell!

As I mentioned a little while back, Old Nick is coming out of the water for inspection and blacking and I’ll be taking a few before and after shots, as you might imagine! That’s happening on Monday of next week. We will watch the proceedings and see Old Nick safely on land and then scoot down to Fareham for a few days to pick up our summer gear. It seems a bit premature – it’s been snowing for the last 36 hours as I write! – but you can be sure we’ll be hanging on to a few winter bits to get us through the Spring. It’s George’s birthday and Mother’s Day too while we are down, so it all works quite nicely. And hopefully, the weather will not delay the blacking. Cross everything for us!

If we make it to Stourport on the river, our plan is to then go up the delightful Staffs Worcs canal, taking our time and enjoying its beauty, before turning on to the Shropshire Union Canal, at Autherly Junction, just North of Wolverhampton. The Shroppie, as it is known, is a firm favourite of ours but it has been a long while since we traversed its length, so we are really looking forward to it. And from there, we’ll go on to Llangollen and Chester and wherever else the fancy takes us!

This looks tempting….. Pic by Russell Green

As you can appreciate, our leaving has a lot of conditions that must be met before it can happen but, inevitably, leave we will. But, before all that, we have to say goodbye to all the friends we have made during our time at Droitwich – although we hope it will be adieu rather than goodbye for ever.

We will miss Nick and all the friendly team at Droitwich Spa Marina, Rob and Caroline and their helpful and obliging team at Ortomarine. They started out as our boat builders but we now consider them FFLs.

I will miss the Thursday morning friends I made at the brilliant IDC College in Bromsgrove, learning new sewing skills and just enjoying the company of other like-minded women. I now totally understand the joy of a Sewing Bee – described as “Old fashioneda small informal social gathering (usually of women) based around the activity of making or mending clothes or other things with a needle and thread“. Nothing old fashioned about us and I recommend it to anyone. Particular thanks go to Brenda Killigrew and Jeniffer “Tailor Taylor” Taylor. May your thread never break and your bobbin never run out at an inconvenient moment!

Sewing up a storm

Paul will definitely miss his team mates at the Droitwich Veterans walking football. He played on Friday evenings, rain or shine and looked forward to it all week.

We will both miss our dear fellow Ortomariner, Roy , on board Here We Go Again. We hope to see him out and about on the cut. And I will miss my friend Jayne (and her dog Monty), who moors a few boats away from us. We have become quite close this winter and will definitely keep in touch. They are both joining us for a farewell Afternoon Tea this Sunday coming.

It’s been really nice living close to my Cousin Alison and her husband Peter and Cousin Jonathan and his husband Christian. Really good to be close to family, I’ve never really had that, I realised. But we know they will come and see us. Or else!

I will miss Tooty the Coot and ducks Charlie Drake and his consort Camilla. Daily visitors. I hope someone else will keep them fed. And I’m sure Bill and Ted will miss Charles -who always has a treat in his pocket for them, Monty. Max, Hector and all the other dogs they have met on their walks around the Marina.

Leaving will definitely be a wrench. There will be tears. But it’s time to move on.

And to end on a happier note, we shall be splitting our summer cruise into two parts this year. After we have visited the spots I mentioned above, we shall be dropping back down to Brinklow – our new home – to await the advent of a new crew member; our first grandchild, due in mid July. So exciting! And , while at Brinklow, we shall hopefully take part in the “Increasing the Overall Jollity of the Nation” event and also the Brinklow Bash – live music all day and night, arts and craft concessions, narrowboat traders and food and drink concessions! Exciting times!

May be an image of text that says "THE INCREASING THE OVERALL JOLLITY OF THE NATION SUMMER TOUR COMES TO AQUAVISTA BRINKLOW WATERSIDE & MARINA FRI 30 JUN SUN 2 JUL Join us on board the famous floating music venue for truly unique weekend of entertainment, fun and jollity. LIVE MUSIC, FOOD BAR, UKULELE WORKSHOP, CANAL-THEMED QUIZ MORE. FRIDAY NIGHT FROM 7PM JOIN SATURDAY Roast. workshop SUNDAY rovided. ablet perform board Butty night! SATURDAY NIGHT The Relatives Brinklow's CHEERS Please contact the Marina Office let us know you can attend all or some of the events. This will help with planning and catering for the event."
May be an image of text that says "DATE DATE Saturday THE BRINKLOW 8 July SAVE Bash 2023 SAVE 2023 THE MUSIC & ALE 8 July DATE Saturday"

We will leave Droitwich with many happy memories, but we have so much to look forward to. Our next post will be in a couple of weeks – hopefully Spring will be here in force!

One Reply to “A Change is Gonna Come”

  1. Hello Kate

    Lovely read, thank you for the mention . you will be missed. Your next adventure is a part of the country i also like .

    Good luck with all your travels

    take care Brenda & Team IDC Bromsgrove

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