Up To Upton

With Suffolk Girl getting home late on Thursday evening, and both the Severn and Avon behaving themselves, we got up early on Friday morning, packed up the cat and the car, and set off back to Tewkesbury at the crack of 11:00. Arriving back at the boat just after lunch, and anxious to resume boating, it was decided that the transport manager would return the car home straight away (summer Friday traffic – lovely) and if feasible get a train back Friday evening. If not, Saturday morning would have to do.

Unfortunately, it proved feasible, and getting back via train and taxi to the boat for the second time that day at about 20:00, we headed out for dinner. Completely knackered, the transport manager decided he was getting too old for that sort of lark.

Anyway, the boat had been fine under lockie Nic’s watchful eye, and the rivers were all just fine, so we were just about to set off when we overheard a boater who’d just arrived remark that there was a jazz festival at Upton over the weekend. Made some enquiries…

  • chances of getting onto the Upton visitor moorings other than three abreast – nil
  • going all the way to Worcester upstream in one hit leaving at lunchtime – unrealistic
  • other places to moor overnight between Tewkesbury and Worcester – none

There is absolutely no substitute for advanced planning.

As the Captain and the Chef really, really wanted to visit Upton, and – not trusting the river -we didn’t want to wait until Monday, a phone call to the Big Tupperware Yacht marina at Upton elicited two bits of information

  • someone had just left unexpectedly, and they would be able to accommodate us for the night
  • the cost, payable in advance, was completely extortionate, and made even Pyrford marina (near home, and part of the same chain) look positively a bargain.

And so, just before she packed up for her lunch, we waved farewell to Nic as she locked us down onto the Severn level, and we made a un-noteworthy transit upstream to Upton-on-Severn, moored up in the marina, and went walkabout.

It was a warm and pleasant afternoon to sit overlooking the river with a Guinness, but wandering around Upton was weird. Almost but not entirely unlike Sidmouth Folk Week or Chippenham Folk Festival, it was full of happy people, and bunting, and food stalls and stuff, and even the trad jazz or squeaky bonky noises spilling out from here and there didn’t seem out of place. But (a) there was no continual background “chink chink chink” from perambulating Morris dancers, and  (b) we didn’t know anybody. Weird.

Some friends we’ve not seen for a while, and who have just sold their house, have a daughter and son-in-law who run a pub in Upton. Turned out they were staying at the pub while house-hunting, but had gone off to Southampton for the weekend. Ah well. There really is absolutely no substitute for advanced planning…

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