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It was another relatively early start for us when we left the mooring at Bidford on Avon. We wanted to ensure that we would be able to moor in Evesham so again we tried to time our journey so that we would arrive in the middle of the morning. In the event, we needn’t have bothered as when we arrived, the town moorings were quite deserted.

All alone in Evesham.

Our tour began with a visit to the Abbey, we visited both of the churches (All Saints and St Lawrence’s) and the bell tower. Later in the day, we could hear the tune, “Abide with me” being played just before the chimes on the hour. It turns out that there is a whole host of hymns played in this way, the details are here.

All Saints church with the bell tower to the right of it.

This old building now houses the NatWest bank.

The Bell tower as seen from the gardens below.

When we were last here, in 2015, we quite liked Evesham but some experiences are best left in the memory. Don’t get me wrong, nothing bad happened but the place just didn’t quite seem the same. There are more empty shops than before, and there were already quite a few three years ago. The local market was more of a flea market and was a good representation of the feeling in the town. One of the highlights that we enjoyed on our last visit was the speciality gins in the Royal Oak. On that occasion, we were greeted by a friendly man wearing a white apron and looking like a French café owner. He handed us a gin menu which wouldn’t have looked out of place in The Savoy and took time to explain what each of the concoctions and infusions were. This time around, I was eventually served by a lad wearing jeans and T-shirt and when I asked him if they still had a gin menu, he fished a piece of card from behind the bar and handed it to me apologetically saying, “Sorry its a bit manky, mate but they get like that behind the bar.” The card was no more than an advert for various Fevertree tonics with different gins as the mixers. When Sue joined me a few minutes later, we had a short discussion and decided to leave.

Our mooring was good and quiet and we both slept well. When we awoke the following morning we were rather uninspired when it came to deciding what to do with ourselves. In the end, we took a walk to the edge of town and did a bit of shopping in Tesco – how exciting! In the evening, we walked back up to the market square and found that it was full of motorcycles and their owners. We had a wander around and chatted to one or two of them about their bikes.

1974 Triumph Bonneville.

Triumph Rocket III.

Another big Triumph.

The moorings had filled up during the day, one of the boats being Jolly Lamb so after we returned from town, I persuaded Julian to join me in the pub across the road for a couple of pints while Sue returned to Caxton and began her next knitting project.

Much ado about nothing.

The “nothing” being the forecast rain. Faced with a day of light rain today followed by a day of heavy stuff on Friday, we decided to brave the elements and try and get to Stratford and batten down the hatches for the impending storm. We untied at seven o’clock and made our way past all of the moored boats on our way to Evesham lock; the bottom gates were open for us but we made a service stop first. This was to be the only lock of the day in our favour although we did manage to share many with other boats. The rain never came except for a five minute period of spots blowing in the wind as we made our way upstream. As we rose in the penultimate lock we could see a small grp hire cruiser bobbing around outside the top gates. By the time we were ready to exit the lock, the wine swigging crew of three females had tied their craft in such a way that it was partially blocking our exit. Ordinarily, this would not have been a problem but on exiting the lock there is a sharp left hand turn requiring space for the stern to swing into. They ignored requests to move, declaring that there was plenty of room. The skipper of the other narrowboat even got off his boat to try and get them to turn through ninety degrees, explaining that there would be little contest in a collision between them and a 22 ton steel boat. They drove across our paths to the opposite lock landing and as we passed were still trying to justify themselves and their actions. Sue tried to tell them that it was for their own safety but only got an “Eff off” in response – very ladylike! We didn’t see them again, perhaps they went to explore the weir.

Our lock buddies were also intent on getting a riverside mooring to sit out the storm and happily enough we were both successful in securing the last two available spaces, quite an achievement given that it was by that time almost four o’clock. As we saw in Evesham yesterday, the evening river traffic is given over to the local rowing club.

As for the weather, the forecasters are now puzzling over how they could have been so wrong, let’s see what tomorrow really brings – perhaps they’ve got that one wrong too (fingers crossed!).

Tonight’s view from Caxton


On to Evesham

We awoke at 7 o’clock after a quiet night on our mooring near Pershore. As we prepared to move off, one of the narrowboats behind us also got underway and we followed them into Pershore lock. The morning was everything that you could expect from a mid August day, blue skies and a light breeze. In all we shared three locks with this boat, built by Barry Hawkins at Baddesley basin, Atherstone. They are heading back there from their base near Gloucester so perhaps we will see them again soon. We didn’t share the fourth lock of the day as they had caught up with another vessel and went through with them. 

We started looking for a mooring as soon as we reached Evesham and were soon tied up opposite Abbey park. As usual, we sorted ourselves out before walking into to town where we had a light lunch and a bit of an explore. 

We stopped off at the Royal Oak where Sue treated us to to a specialist gin concoction each, very refreshing!

We returned to Caxton and sat on the front deck, enjoying the early evening sunshine and watching the local rowing club zipping up and down the river. There is a bit of rain forecast for the next couple of days so we are unsure about how we will finish our journey on the Avon.

As an aside, I was reminded today of my first narrowboat experience, a family holiday in 1981 (I think). The hire base was in Evesham but when we arrived were told that since the river was in flood we would be unable to leave the boatyard that day. I seem to remember visiting the Railway Hotel for a few pints with my dad (although as usual it would have only been reported back to the mother superior as two pints!)

 I don’t remember too much about the rest of that holiday other than being moored up in Stratford a few days later but maybe I’ll get some flashbacks as we journey along the Upper Avon. In any case, it’s safe to say that the 1981 holiday probably sowed the seed that brings us back here today.