Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Monday 19 November 2012

Busyness in the Basin

The weather was just perfect all day yesterday, and the crowds were out and about enjoying the Canal, River and the Basin in the sunshine. The shops were busy too, but we kept away from them.  We went walking along the river and round the basin as well, so many more people about than my early morning stroll in the frost.
But Tacet is the only visiting boat moored up today.
Entertainers were out too; we saw from across the river a tight-rope walker on his rope stretched from the lock bridge to a tree, (too far away for a photo). A crowd had gathered around him on the ground.
We could hear the tinny sound of an old piano being played and as we moved around we saw this fellow going past.

 By pedalling as though on a bicycle, he seemed to be pedalling backwards, his piano moved along sideways, whilst he was playing and singing his merry tunes.
He had various other instruments, horns and bells to play, a tankard of beer and of course the upturned hat (begging bowl).
At the top of the lock entering the basin this signpost gives the distances to these big cities.  Last year when we were here, we had only been to York, now we have been to them all.

Today we had a little excursion back onto the river, we needed services and to run the engine to charge the batteries and do a load of washing.  We went up river under the lovely old bridges, with just enough headroom and went up to the service point at the Old Bathing Place.
Here the water had been turned off for the winter, this has been common along the Avon, but we had two cassettes to empty, which we still did, sluicing the hopper down with buckets of river water. Our taps were just beginning to make gurgling sounds, so we knew there wasn't much left in the tank, we really did need water. Fortunately we knew that there was a tap alongside the recreation ground opposite the theatre and more fortunately it was still on, so now our water tank is full again too.
On the upper stretch of the Avon, there are some very grand homes, lots of caravan parks, and this enormous log cabin on stilts being erected.
We ventured up this way last year and went as far as we could, almost to Alveston Weir, today we were more sensible and turned at the winding hole at Avoncliffe.
We shall be staying in Stratford for a few more days as it is now the season of stoppages and we shall be planning our cruising around the works being carried out on locks and bridges over the winter.  Work is currently being done and planned on the South Stratford and Lapworth, so we shall have a few days hanging about up that way next week, so for now we shall enjoy the opportunities of being near civilisation for a few more days.

4 miles, 2 locks

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