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  • clivenmel

April 23rd

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Last night (Tuesday 21st), we must have been more tired than we thought; Mel was doing the blog and I relaxed on the bed; next thing I heard was Mel telling me to wake up and go to bed properly � I was still dressed! Mel had been chatting to our good friend Lindsey in New Zealand on the laptop using Skype and couldn�t be bothered to even read � so we both had an early night and a good night�s sleep.   Wednesday morning � April 22nd, Sells Green -  I woke to find mist hanging over everything; the outside of the boat was decked out in fine spider webs, all gleaming in the weak sunlight � where they all come from I have no idea but it�s all very pretty. As I opened the window to have a taste of the air, who welcomed me but a very early bunny and a mate, hopping along the towpath. I said hello but he ignored me; it wasn�t until the first dog walker came by that they both scattered into the shrubbery.   Mel actually awoke feeling a lot better than expected after her gruelling day yesterday and so, after breakfast and the mist having burned off, we were on our way again. Just a little way on, was the first of a number of swing bridges, where you are obliged to jump off, turn a key and swing the bridge out of the way, swing it back after the boat has passed through, lock it down again and jump back on. It all takes time. Fortunately, as we had just got going, another boat was powering up and the driver said he would be along in a minute and could we leave the bridge open � he would be happy to close it again. So we agreed and thinking no more about it, came to the bridge. The problem, of course, is that with the bridge open, Mel is now stranded on the other bank � oops, forgot about that. So we waited a minute or two and waved the other boat through. They thanked us and said they would do the same at the next one.   This worked out really well, as we accompanied each other through all the bridges and half a dozen locks, leapfrogging each other so we could take turns and setting things up for the first boat. In this way, we had a very enjoyable day; the weather was excellent and suntan lotion was the order of the day.   From a wildlife perspective, the big news is that we have seen our first Vole! These little fellas are getting a bit rare, mainly through polluted waterways and loss of habitat. This was a Short-Tailed Vole, spotted by Mel and Anne, scurrying into the hedge at the side of a lock � it�s great to have seen one.   At one of the locks, Mel and Anne were talking (!) and Mel mentioned that we were looking for an anchor, and one bigger than the ones we had seen so far � well, serendipity � they had one onboard and they didn�t need it anymore; would we be interested? So after a quick look at what was on offer, an excellent deal was done at �20 for the lot! (I think I must have saved myself well over �100) and shortly a 35lb (approx 15Kg) anchor, X metres of chain and a nylon tipping line were stowed in the cratch on Lady Arwen! Funny how you meet folks like that, isn�t it? All I needed was a bucket to keep the chain in, to stop it fouling everything else, and Bob�s your uncle.   The day passed very pleasantly and we finally moored up, in the last visitor mooring spot, at Bradford on Avon. Mel spotted a Sainsbury�s very close by, so did a bit of basic shopping and found me a bucket! So we are all ship-shape again and ready for anything.   Thursday April 23rd (Mel here!) � what a lovely day we have had!  Bradford on Avon is a lovely old Medieval town with a very interesting history.  First of all I assumed wrong when I commented to Clive that it would be nothing like the Bradford we know in West Yorkshire � they do actually have something in common � they were both woollen towns!  Bradford on Avon�s fortunes were built on wool and weaving, just as were Bradford�s in West Yorkshire. The buildings in the town reflect its history, there are weaver�s cottages and also a former woollen mill, which has now been very tastefully converted into offices and apartments � very nice too! However there is a lot more to B on A than that.  There are some wonderful old buildings and they have very characteristic architecture.  When we were in the town centre Clive commented on the fact that it was very reminiscent of Holmfirth, a town near Huddersfield that we know very well indeed as Clive�s father grew up there and he still has relatives living there.   For those of you who don�t actually live in Yorkshire you may well have seen Holmfirth on TV in Last of the Summer Wine!   We had a lovely walk around the town, up the little tiny streets, which also have a bit of an Italian feel, they are quite similar to some of the streets we have seen in Italy�s hill villages, all steep and winding and seemingly clinging to the steep slopes.   Evidently the name Bradford is derived from Broad Ford - The history of the town bridge spans seven centuries. The "broad ford" across the Avon, which gave the town its name, served as a crossing point until the original packhorse bridge was built in the 13th century.  It has been repaired and altered over the centuries, including widening, it is now twice its original width!  I have included this photograph, which I did not take myself, I had to pinch it of the internet! You will see a little building on the bridge, on the left side, this was evidently originally a chapel!  It dates from the 17th century and was converted to a prison or �Blind House� at a later date.  The weathervane on its roof incorporates a fish and is known as The Bradford Gudgeon!   Whilst we were browsing around the shops we spotted a hardware shop and popped in ever hopeful that we might find a parasol base � no luck unfortunately but Clive found something he has been looking for ever since we set off.  The man in the shop called them �Terry Clips�.  When we finish cruising for the day the first thing Clive does is to remove the tiller arm and our Kingfisher pin and stow them away inside the boat.  The problem is that there isn�t really a proper place to stow the tiller arm, up to press we have put it in the cupboard under the top step.  Clive has said all along that he wanted to be able to clip it under the gunwhale somehow � well these Terry Clips did the trick, he has screwed a pair under the gunwhale and now he can just clip the tiller arm under there neat and tidy � or shipshape and Bristol fashion!!! We continued our stroll around Bradford and found a riverside hostelry where we partook of a couple of drinks and some lunch � it was all very peaceful and pleasant except that it was �snowing� fluffy seeds and they kept falling into our drinks and onto our lunch!  After our lunch break we went to find the Barton Grange Farm, which was on the way back to the canal.  This place is amazing.  The Abbess of Shaftesbury was evidently given the land in 1001 by King Ethelred.  Since the 1530s however it has been in private ownership and was a working farm until 1971 when it was bought by The Preservation Trust and restored.  The Tithe Barn itself is the most incredible building � it is 51 x 9 metres, is divided into 14 bays (units) by its timber roof trusses.  There are four porches on the North and South sides � these were to make it easier to unload wagons in the dry and also to create draughts for winnowing the corn.  However the crowning glory is its roof � it is absolutely fabulous!  The timbers of the roof have been dated using tree-ring growth to between 1334 and 1379 thus confirming the mid fourteenth century dating of the barn.  There are also several outbuildings and the most gorgeous farmhouse, which appears to be still used as a private dwelling.   After we had finished exploring this amazing place which was right next to the canal, we set off along the towpath to go back to the boat.  We had decided we wanted to stay put in Bradford for another night but fancied moving a bit further along from where we moored last night.  On the way back we noticed a boat moored up and couldn�t resist taking a photograph!  We actually had a chat with the guy who owns the boat but it turns out he isn�t from Huddersfield at all, he bought the boat from the original owner.  He has been thinking of renaming the boat but is rather concerned about the superstition that renaming a boat can bring bad luck � he has heard that there is some sort of elaborate ceremony that one should carry out!  We informed him that there is such a ceremony and it is available on the internet, so he is going to look that one up!   By the way, I took quite a lot of photos today so I have put them in a separate album entitled Bradford on Avon. We did move the boat, down through one lock in the centre of town, which we shared with another boat, then just out the other side we moored up in a lovely, leafy spot.     I have made soup with the leftovers from our roast chicken and we bought a lovely rustic spelt and honey cob from a baker�s shop in the town this afternoon so we are really looking forward to our evening meal tonight � yum!    Oh this is the life!   Have I said that before????

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