I must firstly mention that Captain Ahab, from Wand'ring Bark, wrote a blog on Saturday 21st August about our most enjoyable evening with them in Abingdon - it's a most entertaining posting containing information on most of the rules of Barry's 'Six Handed Rummy' card game - cheers again Andy and Helen (and Jeff of course) for your company that night, sorry Barry plied you with so much alcohol that you lost the game, lol!
We'd hoped for a prompt start on Saturday but unfortunately fate had other ideas - our toilet finally gave up the ghost this morning and adamantly refused to flush! My worst nightmare had come true :-(. We weren't sure what was wrong, but the power to the flush sighed heavily and wouldn't budge an inch. Jamie, bless her, was completely casual about the challenge and just suggested we take a walk into town to find the nearest convenience - such a typical kiwi 'she'll be right' attitude again, I so wish I could inject some into my British veins and not be such a worrier! We soon found a loo in the new Debenham's complex and relieved ourselves, but we weren't sure how we'd cope on the long journey to Bristol ...
Barry was mildly confident we'd find someone in a boatyard, somewhere on our journey, who may be able to sort out our problem - but of course it was the weekend so being a true Brit I wasn't too hopeful!
Weston Lock ahead, the first of only six locks for today
Though it looks like we're in for some queuing
Jamie was straight in and helping - she hasn't forgotten how, though these are the first double locks she's tackled
It's beautiful along the river. We saw many large dragonflies souring past and at one point spotted a colourful Kingfisher flying close to the surface very near to us - awesome! They're such gorgeous birds, I just wish they'd keep still every now and again so we could get a really good look at them - and get a close-up photo. There's certainly less this year than last, but hopefully they'll re-populate if the coming winter isn't so harsh.
A very calm river today
The very wide weir at Kelston Lock - all the locks heading into Bristol from Bath have a weir next to them with quite strong currents, which is a challenge when you have to wait for the lock and hover in the river
Jamie closes up after we've exited
There was no-one to be found at the first boatyard we stopped at, and at the next one their engineer had left at lunchtime after a half day, so things weren't looking too promising. We did find a toilet at Bath Marina on the way which was lucky, and eventually arrived at Netham Lock around 1730hrs. You have to moor up just past the open lock here, and go and see the Lock-keeper to buy a license which allows you to moor up in 'The Floating Harbour' in Bristol. For our boat it was £18 for one night, £30 for two - we wanted to stay for three but that wasn't on the list and it took a bit of negotiating to work out how we'd manage that!
When the sun peeped out it lit up the surrounding hills
Hovering in the river awaiting our turn at the Swineford Lock
If you have to live in a terraced house this wouldn't be a bad choice
Seems to be mostly cruisers round here at Swineford Lock - Not sure what the building is
We shared most of the locks with this boat 'My Lady Guinevere'
This tiny narrowboat looked insignificant in the lock
Plenty of hire boaters out on the river enjoying their summer holidays
The Avon twists it's way gently through the gorge towards Bristol
The rain chucked it down as soon as we got to Bristol, so our arrival wasn't the best. From what we could see through the deluge it looked like a fabulous place, so in spite of the downpour we toured around the harbour. I was catching the train out of Bristol on Sunday for a few days with my family and wouldn't get to see the Harbour area again so it was my only opportunity ...
Through a very modern stretch of offices and apartments
It was pouring with rain by this stage so Barry had to photograph this as we went under a bridge
The far end of the harbour with the harbour masters office, Underfall Wharf and boatyard and the lock entrance to the tidal Avon and then onto the Bristol Channel
Such a striking splash of colour along the hill top
SS Great Britain - Islamad Kingdom Brunel's creation
The first steam powered iron hulled passenger liner built in 1843
We moored up eventually in one of the three visitors mooring places in the harbour, which turned out to be the noisiest setting but very handy for Jamie to go out on her night on the town as it was right in between a number of extremely lively bars on a Saturday night! Ah well, it meant we were near to facilities when we needed them!
Jamie went out with some friends she'd arranged to meet, so we had a night of trying to catch up with some blogs after our heavy week. Later in the evening we went for a drink - mainly to use their toilet - so I only had a Baileys as I didn't see the point in emptying fluids from one end and filling up at the other! Our mooring was close to the Arnolfini Arts Centre, and all around there and opposite was teaming with Saturday night revellers, so knowing we'd find it difficult to sleep unless we were very tired, we had a stroll around the part of Bristol called 'The Old City'. Sadly Barry hadn't taken his camera, but I'm sure he'll make up for that in the coming days!
Looking over the wharf with an old chimney stack, Cabot's Tower and Bristol Cathedral
Eventually returning to the waterside, we came across a 'Bumper Cars' ride packed with young people enjoying themselves, and who should we spot in one of the cars but Jamie - we really should've had a camera, she may not believe we saw her as she didn't seem to be able to see us looking in from the dark so we left her to her fun and returned to Northern Pride to try and sleep amongst the revellers.