Stratford on Avon (admin, admin, admin)

It feels like we have less free time now we live on the boat and I’m retired than we used to when I was working!  Tuesday seemed to be taken up with loads of admin which, in retrospect, was probably good as my back is still not 100% recovered so it’s best not attempting to move the boat on my own at the moment.

During the morning, Malc and Jude moored in front of us to take on water.  Like us they have been hanging around Stratford for a while before deciding where to head to next.  They moved aboard their brand new boat six weeks ago so are very new to living on it and consequently had loads of questions.  Mind you, they’re not new to boating so at least it’s not a total change of lifestyle and they have a good idea of what they’re letting themselves in for.

Malc and Jude taking on water

Seeing that they were Beatles’ fans I asked the obvious question, ‘Why didn’t you call her Hey Jude?’.  Jude told me that Malc wanted to but it was their home not his home so it had to be a joint decision.

We moved aboard full time at the start of a winter whereas they have done it at the start of summer.  There are pros and cons of both but I think on balance it was right for us as we had a good few months of peace and quiet before the waterways got busy.

Our mooring this week

Aileen mentioned in her blog recently that they had just clocked up 2,000 hours on their boat and when I read that I thought that it wasn’t a lot considering they had been living on it a few years.  I did a comparison with our record on the new boat – the hour counter didn’t work on the old boat so I had no idea how many hours we did.

Firstly I checked the hour counter was recording correctly by comparing with a phone timer.  As an hour ticked over they were only a couple of seconds apart so that was pretty good.  We picked up the boat 203 days ago and have had 24 days holiday leaving 179 days.  The engine has run for 477 hours so that is an average of 2 hours 40 minutes a day which feels quite reasonable.  Even on days when we don’t cruise we have to run the engine for hot water for the shower.

Aileen did the same calculation and came up with a similar average – I had forgotten that they take three skiing holidays a year and countless foreign trips in the summer!

With my back I haven’t been walking so far each day.  On Wednesday I walked down to the racecourse and then crossed over the river on an old railway bridge and then back up to town on the other side of the river.

Stratford race course

One of the weirs on the river Avon

The weirs fascinate me as they are different to the concrete and steel structures found on most rivers.  These are just boulders and lumps of pre-cast concrete piled up in a line across the river which, although man made, are more natural looking.  Where there are weirs you will find a bypass has been cut one side or the other for a lock to enable boats to pass up or down - the railings of a lock can be seen through the trees in the picture above.  The weirs keep the river levels artificially high to provide a navigable channel for boats.

The weirs seem to do their job as the river is navigable from Alcester all the way down to its confluence with the River Severn at Tewkesbury – that’s 45 miles of cruising in mainly open, rolling countryside.

Later in the day I took our rubbish over to the boaters’ rubbish bins in the basin and couldn’t help laughing at a group of Chinese tourists who were taking selfies in front of an ice cream van called ‘Shakees Ice Creams’.  Maybe they thought it was an authentic ice cream van from Shakespeare’s time.

When Sophie stayed over last week we had lots of chuckles at all the obvious ploys using Shakespeare’s name to pull in the tourists – even the town’s marathon is called Shakespeare’s Marathon.

Not sure how these caps relate to the 16th century but these French school children were happy wearing them

Us seen from the churchyard where Shakespeare is buried.  Well he is inside the church which is just as well as it makes it easier to charge to view his grave.

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