Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Alvechurch (taking the recycling bags for a walk)

Sunday saw us up early to drive down to Reading to pick up my youngest two, Jake and Polly, as we were off to Southampton to see them play Everton.  As, is always the case, when Polly goes to see them, they won - she has yet to see them lose so is obviously our lucky mascot considering how badly they have performed this season.  In fact they ended up thrashing Everton so we had a thoroughly good, if long Sunday.

The four of us at the football match

In case you thought we were cruel and left Buddy on the boat all day, we didn’t: we left him at Lauren and Lewis’s in Reading.  They had friends up for the weekend who had a yellow Labrador so Buddy was in his element all day.

It’s always amazing how the recycling builds up, so on Monday I researched where the nearest recycling centre was and found that there were recycling bins in the public car park in Alvechurch.  For our first walk of the day we set off for the car park only to find that the bins had been removed.  I popped into the greengrocers to get a lettuce and the lady told me that they had only recently been removed but why didn’t I just use peoples' green bins on my walk back to the boat.  I didn’t really feel I could do that so went to the local boatyard but they wouldn’t take it – they only recycle items left by their hire boaters.  So, it was back to the boat fully laden still.  I was probably slightly grumpy as it had started raining and I hadn’t expected to walk quite so far with so much recycling  

In the evening we went over to Stratford to play bridge so we stopped off at Sainsbury’s on the way to get rid of the recycling.  

Moored next to the new marina being built here at Alvechurch reminds us of when we were moored on Mike and Lesley’s mooring over the summer in Cropredy.  They were in the process of having a new house built on their mooring so, on weekdays, we often watched the mechanical digger at work.

Reminding us of the few weeks spent at Cropredy in the summer

On Tuesday, we walked south on the canal towards Tardebigge and had a look at Cobley aqueduct on the way.  This aqueduct has always fascinated me as it looks like it crosses a dry river bed but it is very unusual to have dry river beds in this part of the country.

Cobley aqueduct from the ‘river bed’

Upon investigating further I have found that the river bed is actually one of the old saltways from Droitwich.  Many of these were built to transport salt to local villages and several roads in the area have stretches that are still called Saltway.  The track must still have been in use when the canal was built otherwise the aqueduct wouldn’t have been deemed necessary.

Part of the Droitwich-Alvechurch saltway which, apparently, is mentioned in the Domesday book

Following the old path up Cobley Hill gave us some wonderful views across the open countryside and we also came across some meadowland that, judging by the state of the molehills, hadn’t been cultivated for a long time.  This is always a refreshing sight to see as it often means it will be good for butterflies etc.

Old molehills

Its only just over a fortnight until Shirley lift bridge is due to reopen, so over the next few days I will probably start thinking about turning around and making our way back to Lapworth for the last part of the year.  

We won’t be able to get into the centre of Lapworth until the 16th December as the locks are closed until then but in the week between the bridge opening and the locks opening we will probably moor at the top of the Lapworth flight or in Hockley Heath.  It will make Karen happier about her journey to work as she will be able to go cross country rather than use the motorways.

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