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  • clivenmel

April 29th

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;} Bet you thought we had absconded!  No we are still here, just been too busy to blog!   Sunday 27th April dawned bright and sunny but we were in no rush.  We didn�t get up early, no need.  Clive managed to get a better BBC signal and settled down to watch the Bahrain Grand Prix for a couple of hours or so and Jensen Button did it again � well done!  So it wasn�t until about 3.00pm that we left our mooring outside The George in Bathhampton.  The cruise into Bath was pretty uneventful and only took about half an hour.  However, we did pass this weird and wonderful boat along the way, it actually looks like a floating hobbit hole!  Love the figurehead!  Can�t imagine what it must be like inside though!   We have noticed that most of these strange craft seem to be crewed by young, new age traveller sorts and I am sure this one is no exception! We arrived in Bath and moored up in what appeared to be a nice, peaceful spot near Bath�s Sydney Gardens (obviously named after Clive�s father!!).   The tow path once again was extremely busy with dog walkers, joggers, families out for walks and lots and lots of cyclists!  There was a stone wall just beside the towpath and it wasn�t long until we found out what was at the other side of it, but a long way below - the main railway line into Bath!  We didn�t just hear the trains on this track, we felt them!  We could feel the trains approaching before we even heard them, the whole boat vibrated!  Oh well, never mind, we are getting quite used to trains by now.   Once we were moored up we went for a little walk along the towpath, through a couple of tunnels and past the Sydney Gardens, which are very pretty.  We also found a Tesco Express, which was handy!  Then it was back to the boat for dinner.   Monday  27th April � was grim!  It had started raining in the night and continued relentlessly through the day so we decided to stay put, no point going anywhere at all, so it was a good excuse to relax.  Then woe, woe and thrice woe � my gold filling came out AGAIN!  It is six months since I had it refitted back in Wolverhampton and there it was again in the palm of my hand!  So I got on the internet then the phone and finally managed to arrange an appointment at an emergency dental clinic the following morning at 10.10am.  I also arranged for a taxi to collect us from the Tesco Express at 09.30am.    Tuesday 28th April � dawned bright and fair, lovely!  We had decided that we wouldn�t come back to the boat after my dental appointment but go straight into the centre of Bath by bus in order to explore.  We set off along the towpath at 9.15am and our taxi was spot on time, however it only too ten minutes to get to the surgery so we were rather early, however I eventually got called in and had my filling re-cemented in place � I hope to goodness it stops in this time!  That done we found the nearest bus stop and soon after a No 10 bus arrived and conveyed us into the centre of Bath.   Bath is beautiful � I have never been before but have always wanted to.  The first thing we did was find a nice caf� near the Abbey and had a coffee and a bun al fresco watching the world go by.  We hadn�t been there long when we realised that there was a film crew at work just in front of the Abbey.  There was a girl in a red coat, a guy with a shaved head and another guy with a guitar and they did take, after take, after take of one scene.  I saw a guy go over to ask what it was they were filming so as we walked passed him I asked him what they had said � they were evidently making a university film about falling in and out of love!  There was me thinking it was something exciting!!!   After our coffee we went to explore the Abbey.  It is a beautiful place with the most exquisite ceiling.  The site of course is extremely old.  The current Abbey is built on the site of two previous buildings.  The original was a Saxon church, then a Norman Cathedral was built on the site.  The cathedral was begun in 1090 but was then demolished to make way for the present Abbey Church, begun in 1499!  There are memorial stones all over the walls of the Abbey and some of them are really ancient and make very interesting reading.  One of them Clive called to my attention as being of special interest to me � Sir Isaac Pitman!  I attended a Pitman�s college in Leeds in my youth and of course learned Pitman�s shorthand, which I still use to this day!   After we had explored the Abbey we went to find some lunch and ended up in an O�Neill�s pub!  Well it was handy!  Then after lunch we headed off to find a particular place that we wanted to visit � the William Herschell Museum.  William Herschell lived in Bath for many years, he was a musician and astronomer and from his house in New King Street he discovered the planet of Uranus.  This was a very important discovery as it was the first new planet to be seen since Galileo�s day and of course effectively doubled the size of our known solar system at the time.  The museum is in his actual house, the one he shared with his sister Caroline.  We went down to the cellar first to watch a film about his life and discoveries and then toured the house, which has been restored as it would have been in his day.  It was great to see the actual telescope with which he had discovered Uranus.   We headed back into the centre of Bath and went to find the Roman Baths, which are actually very close to the Abbey.   Clive has actually been before, however things have changed a bit since he was there some 25 years ago, technology has been introduced and now each visitor is giving a handset, a bit like a mobile phone, and you can listen to a commentary as you explore the baths, which is very helpful. It really is an amazing place and the stuff that they have found as the excavations have progressed is amazing.  It is incredible looking around and seeing how well preserved it all is knowing it has been there almost two thousand years! The thing that amazed me though was that it is all built around a geothermal spring.  I didn�t even realise we had any in this country!  It was almost like being back in Rotorua in New Zealand where many of the motels and private houses have their own hot mineral baths where the hot water just comes bubbling up out of the ground and it is just the same shade of green! Once we had seen our fill of the baths, including having a complementary glass of  warm, geothermal spring water, which tasted as if it had been in an old tin kettle rather too long - yummy(!) - we headed off back to the boat.  Clive had worked out the route, it took us over the Pultney Bridge, which crosses the River Avon, not the canal.  It is quite spectacular, especially with the horseshoe shaped weir in front.  The walk also took us up through the Sydney Gardens again, they were lovely in the sunshine.  We were very glad to see Lady Arwen again as by this time we were both footsore and weary, it had been a long day � ah home sweet   home! Needless to say I took LOADS of photographs so I have put a selection in a separate album entitled "Bath"!   Wednesday 29th April � time to leave Bath.  After breakfast I took a walk down the towpath again back to the Tesco Express as we had seen a post box there yesterday and I had some postcards to send.  As the turning circle was further down that way we arranged that Clive would follow me down about ten minutes later, turn the boat around and pick me up and that is exactly what we did.  So it wasn�t long before we were saying farewell to Bath and heading back up the K and A.  It was lovely and sunny again today so it was a pleasant cruise. We have seen many anglers on our journeys up and down the country and to date we have never seen any of them catch anything!  Today was different.  We passed one guy just as he was netting a fish that he had caught and then as we were negotiating the shallow Limpley Stoke Valley we saw this guy just as he hooked something and when we looked closer it was an eel!  Slippery little suckers!   We have also passed many pieces of sculpture alongside the canals and other forms of art too but we were quite surprised to see this piece of canalside art as we were cruising along today � it�s a bit different don�t you think!   We finally arrived back in Bradford on Avon at about 3.30pm so the trip had taken us about three and half hours.   Lady Arwen is now moored right alongside the Tithe Barn, the only space that was left on the visitor moorings.  The holiday boats are now out in force and we are going to have to start looking for moorings quite early in the afternoons or else they will all be snapped up by the tourists!  After we had tied up, about a foot off the bank I might add, we went for a walk up into the town again as we needed a couple of things and we were delighted to see a sandwich board on the pavement opposite that wonderful little old tea room that I had photographed a few days ago, announcing that �The Bridge Tea Room in Bradford on Avon has been voted the best Tea Room in the UK for 2009, judged �near perfect� by the prestigious UK Tea Council topping The Ritz, all top London hotels and The Pump Rooms of Bath�!  Now as far as I was concerned that merited a visit but Clive had other ideas so we stopped at the Canalside Inn for a drink instead on the way back to the boat!  Shame really, I quite fancied a Cream Tea!  We hadn't been back on the boat long when I heard a high pitched "peeping" outside the boat.  I looked out of the window and there was a newly hatched Moorhen chick - bless! The mother was being very attentive feeding it with stuff she pecked off the surface of the water, presumably bugs! We have just had a bit of excitement, as I was doing the blog actually!  I just happened to glance out of the window and was surprised at how far away the Tithe Barn looked and also that I seemed to be able to see more towpath than would be expected.  When I looked out of the other window I realised why - the rear pin had come out of the bank and the boat had gently drifted right across to the other side of the canal!!!!  The bow was still secure to the bank so we were completely across the waterway, totally blocking it!  Fortunately just about everybody should be moored up by this time of night so nobody rammed us!  Clive started the engine and he gently eased her back across the canal.  I was inside putting my trainers on ready to jump off when a good samaritan who was jogging down the towpath very kindly grabbed the rope from Clive and pulled us in!  We are now secure again but Clive keeps jumping up and looking out of the window - just to make sure!! Sometime tomorrow Clive is going to have to clean the roof of the boat - whilst we were in Bath there were lots of ducks around and they kept roosting on our boat.  I fed them from time to time to get them back into the water but the ungrateful wretches have poohed all over the roof - its a right mess!  Charming!

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