The chief cook needed to leave the boat and Biggles for a few days next week, and head for Essex (don’t ask…). The plan was to head up to Worcester via Tewkesbury and Upton-on-Severn over the next few days, moor up in a boatyard near Worcester station, and despatch her off. The bo’sun and skipper could then spend some quality time together catching up on the – by now – large backlog of laundry.
A phone call to the Upper Lode lockkeeper at Tewkesbury first thing on Thursday morning elicited the response that there were no problems as far as he could see, and he’d be expecting us. He said he didn’t know what the Gloucester lockkeeper was on about. So we waved farewell to Gloucester Docks, locked down onto the Severn rather more quickly than we’d locked up, and pointed Song & Dance uphill.
With miserable-ish weather, the only possible mooring for a pub lunch-stop full of other boats, not much to see, and a fairish flow on the river, it took what seemed an awfully long time to grind all the way up to Upper Lode. There were very few other boats about, and a lot of debris coming downstream: leaves, twigs, logs, branches, even most of a tree, so the helmsman/woman/cat had to concentrate all the way.
Another call to the Upper Lode lockie shortly before arrival had it all set up waiting for us, and once again it seemed a huge lock, just for a foot or so difference in level.
Then, as we crossed past the upper weir entrance towards the junction between the Severn and the Avon, a huge salmon leapt totally clear of the water. Twice. Quite a spectacle.
We locked up onto the Avon so the Skipper could meander round his favourite mooring spot, and Nic the Avon Lock lockkeeper said she once had a narrowboat arrive with a salmon stranded and expired on top of the cratch. The boaters were squeamish, but it was still nice and fresh, so Nic had it for her tea.