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The Narrowboat Girls

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S: The Narrowboat Girls June 2007

FC: The Narrowboat Girls | June 2007

1: The Venue: Central England, Birmingham, Evesham, Oxford and Stratford | The Dates: June 13, 2007 to June 27, 2007 (Michelle was there June 17th to the 24th) | The Cast: Janice Tobia, Michelle Brown, Bridget Greer, Kerry Bruer & Sue Eastwood | The Plan: Join Janice for her narrowboat timeshare week. Add some time on either end and celebrate Kerry's significant birthday.

2: Birmingham to Banbury, to Oxford and back (train & bus) Birmingham to Evesham (train) Evesham to Wooten Wawen (cab) Wooten Wawen to Stratford and back (Narrowboat) Wooten Wawen to Kingswood to Knowle and back (Narrowboat) | Planes, Trains, Hanson Cabs and a Narrowboat! | Wooten Wawen to Evesham (cab) Evesham to Brodway and Snowshill and back (cab) Evesham to Dumbleton (cab) Dumbleton to Birmingham (cab & train)

4: Our first introduction to narrowboats was in the city core of Birmingham.

5: Kerry found a captain to give her tips about life on the canals. | We were charmed - but did not yet know that our planned trip had been canceled as the narrowboat company we were booked with had gone bankrupt!

6: We stayed in Residence at the University of Birmingham for our first two nights. It was after our second day touring Oxford that Janice got notice that there was no boat for us. The time share company was working on an alternative solution for us.

7: But it might not be another narrowboat. They had to find a weeks accommodations for five of us.

8: Day two and we took the train to Banbury and then a bus to Oxford. We had no idea how much time Janice would spend in these phone booths when we staged this photo!

9: We toured the Bodleian Library and saw the sites and stacks where Harry Potter was filmed.

10: The learned city of Oxford

11: Banbury Cross - Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, but no restaurants open in the evening! It was hard to find a place to eat that evening. We saw canals here too.

12: Evesham | Heavy flooding had hit the region before we arrived. These swans are swimming on the steps leading down to the riverside walk - all underwater. Even if our boat had been a go, we could not have traveled on the river.

13: The Almonry Heritage Center. | Pedestrian mall in core of Evesham.

14: A fine pub to spend the afternoon in!

15: Michelle arrived at the train station in Evesham on June 17th. We were supposed to get on a boat that day - but there still was no solution in sight.

16: This is where we found the "other girl"! | We walked to the Fleece Inn from Evesham to Bretfordton. (#6 on Evesham map) The weather was great and we were able to eat outside.

17: Witches conjuring a spell? Petrified toadstool? Nope - just an old staddle stone!

18: If you have to be stranded somewhere, Evesham is a nice little town to be in!

19: After many calls and lots of $$, Janice made contact with a representative in Cork who found us another narrowboat company (Anglo Welsh) that would honor the time share vacation. But it is not in Evesham, it's in Wooten Wawen!

20: We stayed an extra night at the Hollymount Bed and Breakfast in Evesham as we sorted out where we would be vacationing. | Passion flower

21: Star Dance - our home for the next week! We get a very quick overview of the boat and operating instructions. We load our gear and groceries and we're off!

22: Rod, our instructor | Where'd he go?

23: Tiller Girl 1 | Windlass Wenches 1 & 2 | Tiller Girl 2 | Scout

24: Stratford Canal We started in the middle at Wooten Wawen, went south to Stratford, then retraced our route back to Wooten Wawen (just because we liked saying it!). From there we went on to Kingswood and crossed onto the Grand Union Canal system as far as Knowle. We turned around in the landing basin and ultimately headed back to Wooten Wawen. | Our Route

25: Upper Basin at Knowle

26: You can tie up and moor anywhere along the canal.

27: Inside our cozy retreat!

28: Anatomy of a lock.

29: A run of locks in succession.

30: Negotiating the locks is quite easy. But don't lose your windlass! | Tiller girl negotiates the aqueduct with ease. | Heading onto the aqueduct. | Coming out of the lock.

31: Scout takes a break at the top of the lock. | Stepping down on the way to Stratford.

32: Stratford -on-Avon | Janice did an excellent job mooring in the Stratford marina. We took a bus tour that reviewed the highlights of Shakespeare's life in Stratford.

33: On our route back north, we stopped to tour Mary Arden's farmstead. She was Shakespeare's mother.

34: Heading back up north from Stratford.

35: Pubs - we tried a few! Kerry and Bridget tried the duck in almost every one! Ye Old Red Horse, The Gateway, The Fleece, The Navigator, Dirty Duck Tavern, Pen & Parchment, Fleur de Lys , Heron's Nest, Swan Hotel, Bull's Head.....

36: We learned the water "Thrift Code". "Stealing" a lock, emptying it or filling it when it is already set for an approaching boat is frowned upon. All paddles and gates should be left shut to conserve water. | We spent the better part of a day traveling from Stratford to Wilmcote via the canal and about 16 locks. That night as we walked to the village we saw a road sign - Stratford was only 4.4 miles away!

37: Tow paths were originally for the horses that pulled the narrow boats before they had engines. Now they are great for a walk and for scouting ahead to see if the lock is in your favor. | Those of us that did not "till" walked more of the trip than we traveled by boat. Boat speed was only about 4 miles per hour.

38: Star Dance layout | Filling up the water tank | Canal = 7 feet 6 inches wide | Boat = 6 feet 10 inches wide.

39: Knowle was the end of the line before we turned around and headed back to Wooten Wawen. Unfortunately we had to drop Michelle off to catch a cab back to Evesham before we made it all the way back.

40: windlass | I love public footpaths!

41: Barrel roofed cottage near Preston Bagot (lock 37)

43: Snowshill Lavender fields in the heart of the Cotswolds.

44: As seasoned travelers we did the logical thing - settled in at a pub! | The weather held for our walk between Snowshill and Broadway - but then the skies opened up.

46: Dumbleton Hall had impressive grounds with animals roaming freely and beautiful flower gardens.

47: Dumbleton Hall - We stayed here for one night

49: We hiked the public footpath from Dumbleton Hall to Alderton hoping to find refreshments at the halfway point.

50: 11 km figure eight hike on public footpaths between Dumbleton Hall & Alderton | Over the stile. And through the wood.

51: And home again home again jiggity jig. Lots of wine and dinner awaits. | Alas in Alderton, Gardener's Arm pub was closed. Bridget, the Thatcher's apprentice.

52: A unique trip with lasting memories.

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  • By: Sue E.
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  • Title: The Narrowboat Girls
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