The trip down river and plan to collect Mummy didn’t quite work out when it wasn’t possible to moor near the car park. So, back up The Avon, under Clopton Bridge where the river begins to narrow…trees lay across the water practically blocking the path with ‘NO HIRE BOAT’ signs strung through the branches, no overnight mooring, pretty grotty services – oh and some very expensive looking houses, surprise surprise. Fine by us, the car park was great, we didn’t want to stop the night and a couple of trees weren’t a problem – other than when I got us stuck on the bank.
Mummy and a crazy amount of food and drink onboard we set off for a very windy Stratford river experience. Up into the basin taking turns with another boat to try to moor, both abandoning first attempts and circling for a second, somehow Nick ended up on the wrong boat.
The weather just about held out for Shakespeare’s houses and a visit to Holy Trinity church for Shakespeare’s tomb (fee!). A lovely two days, waved goodbye to Mummy this morning – pondering thoughts of Romeo and Juliet by Francis Bacon and The Eagle landing in Hollywood. Sure you’re up for this SFR??!
The rain came down. Unsure how much The Avon can take before water levels begin creeping, we tentatively headed down river, at a fair pace. Luddington re-visited tonight. The rain can stop now please.
License displayed we left Brancroft Basin, it was well before ten but the crowds were already hanging over the bridge. Out onto the river we motored across to the waterpoint. On then, through Colin P. Witter lock where everyone suddenly disappeared. The bustle of Stratford soon felt far away as trees and bushes came thick and fast. Signs of how ferociously the water sometimes runs are here and there in the odd bit of rubbish caught high up in branches, for the most part you wouldn’t know you were on a river at the moment.
Down a couple of locks where we had lunch and gained an extra dog for a walk over the fields. A spin round before heading back up river. Being a river it’s not a tie up where ever you fancy deal out here. Moorings are spottable a mile off as they’re all designed with flood in mind, tall poles with rings that slide up with the water. Sleeping at Luddington tonight, very quiet other than water crashing down the weir.
VIP arriving tomorrow!
The sun was cracking the roof and pumping through the solar panel before we woke. People soon started arriving, more and more and more until the basin heaved. There’s a lovely thing going on down here, boats bobbing about, musicians dotted around and everyone mainly looking very happy.
A walk along the river where hire boats were all hired out and the chain ferry shipped people from one river bank to the other for the bargain price of 50p.
The walk to Anne Hathaway’s House was quite a way, Shakespeare definitely put in the effort for that one. Unbelievably English – babbling brook, country gardens, thatched roof, timber frame, cute little windows and air heavy with Wisteria, it had it all going on. Back in the town Nash’s house and Shakespeare’s childhood home had tours snaking through non-stop.
A few departures and a couple of arrivals today but still plenty of room in the basin. A 70ft stag filled Anglo Welsh has just rolled in to a frosty welcome from the boat they moored alongside, something along the lines of a very loud, ‘You’re too close, reverse, reverse reverse, I can see you’re drinking beer!’ Luckily the guy answered with the calmness of a surgeon and tucked the whole 70ft away without so much as a bump. He he.
Early one as Stratford by night will be out there soon.
A final water top up before the last drop down into Bancroft Basin. With plenty of moorings free we swung round and reversed back along a pontoon. Ice cream boats, restaurant boats, trip boats they’re all here and so are the customers. We’d heard the basin can feel a bit like a goldfish bowl but we’re loving it – as is Murk, discovered sat out the back with a whole audience snapping their cameras. That dog is heading for a begging bowl.