As a number of friends have told us, the upper Avon locks are only half as horrible as the Lower Avon ones. As to the river itself, I'm a bit biased because this is my home territory, the bit of river where I misspent so much of my youth. The biggest treat for me today was passing through Offenham lock, which didn't exist when I were a lad. But scrabble down through the bushes to the river and oh deep joy, the ford by the Fish and Anchor. I used to know every square inch of that lovely spot and I was pleased to see that they haven't been able to spoil it. However if you just pass through the lock in the normal way, you won't even see it or know it is there.
The river is fast and shallow at this point. You can walk right across it and keep your knees dry. The new lock alongside is a splendid affair with loads and loads of mooring. Well done Avon Navigation Trust.
My big Bro Graham was with us for the day and was enjoying seeing his home turf from a different angle. Graham is a far better photographer than me and maybe I'll get some proper pics from him to show you another day.
Here at Bidford bridge it is also shallow and there is a fair old current running. Earlier this's evening a narrowboat got grounded trying to cross the river in front of the bridge. The bloke driving the boat appeared to be fairly unskilled and Kath and I were standing on the bank shouting, "no, don't do that!". The poor guy got in a right pickle and seemed bent on making matters worse. Some kind soul in a Sea Otter ventured out and towed him off to great applause from the Gongoozlers in the pub garden. I should have been taking pictures but I was too busy watching the drama unfold.
Talking of the pub garden, we are moored right outside the Frog inn where they serve a great pint of Mad Goose. Within thirty seconds walk of the boat there is a chippy, a hardware shop, a pizza parlour, an Indian restaurant, a Chinese take away, a convenience store and a funeral directors. What more could you want? Actually if you did want anything else, Bidford doesn't have it. It is a very small place.
Tomorrow, we may possibly get as far as Stratford-upon-Avon, home of Bill Spokeshave as my dad used to call the bard. On Thursday we have got tickets to see Hamlet at the RSC. There's posh.