Weekending Monday 16th July 2012
As the Queen would say Weve had a birthday.
For a treat Ter and Claire stayed at Tythe House (Bed & Breakfast), just two minutes from Splatt Bridge.
On their second day the clouds got brighter and we all cruised down to Sharpness and back.
Its worth mentioning Ter and Claires B&B because if you check the reviews youll see plenty of praise for it. The owners Guy and Jane provide excellent rooms, in fact Id put them higher than many 4 star hotels Ive stayed in. If you are looking for a smart bed and breakfast and attentive hosts, close to the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal, then Id recommend Tythe House.
Breakfast is full, flexible and top quality, rooms are immaculate and the service is friendly.
With apologies for lifting the photo (I forgot to take the camera when we called in), this will give you some idea of what to expect.
If pushed to give negatives I can only find one, the floors creak, and thats my only comment. Would we stay there, yes, unreservedly.
The variety of size and type of craft puts the G&S in the same league as the Trent and Gt.Ouse.
Similarly the water is deep and clean enough to support lilypads and a host of plants that you dont see on bog standard canals.
Low tide at Sharpness just after the new moon could have given us a view of the Severn Bore, but it didnt, not even a tiny one. It was shy on the day and although we waited and waited we couldnt make out anything higher than a ripple that the wind whipped up.
Saul, Patch, Splatt and Sharpness are the limits of our travels this week. The deluge has had us battened down like most others but weve enjoyed it; the towpaths are reasonably puddle free and the feathered wildlife doesnt seem to be bothered by it.
Flies are on the increase as are my skills with the newspaper which is evidenced by blood splashes on the cabin walls. Spiders are multiplying at a similar rate and Im onto them too, with the exception of the one that lives under the washing machine. My foot has missed him more times than I care to remember.
Calls from the cruise boats to bridges asking for an opening before the wind blows them in circles, shows their progress along the canal and announcements of which locks on the Severn are closed or on indemnity spoils any ideas that boaters had of going further afield.
But when river levels are high theres nothing stopping you taking to the roads. Dick and Jennie came to our rescue on Thursday and whisked us away to Stroud for a beautiful meal in lovely surroundings, a town house with exposed oak beams, stone walls and stories of life as it might have been hundreds of years ago.
The number of sunny days this week can be counted on one finger so that day was spent exploring the engine room. With 8,700 hours on the engine counter it was due for an oil change and one is beginning to wonder how many hours are left on it.
By way of contrast we bumped into nb.Kathleen May, another Sandhills boat. She is at least three years older than Balmaha but has only clocked up 3,000 hours.
We swapped boat stories and canal experiences and hope to see more of them when they take to the water full time. Poor Carol is only two weeks into a broken shoulder so cruising isnt as much fun as it could be.
With a fraction of the planned summer jobs done inside the boat we now need a long dry summer-autumn to prepare for the winter. We shall soon be thinking about new batteries and bottom-blacking, but as things stand we wont be needing barbeque charcoal, weve hardly used our first 5kg bag of the year.
All being well well have another month or so in this area before heading north away from what has been a memorable waterway. Together with the journey to the southwest the Gloucester & Sharpness goes into our list of favourites. We havent exhausted what she offers and with her proximity to so many friends and family we are sure to visit again.