A day of normality?

Since my mum died in January, we have been doing a 320 mile round trip between Yorkshire and Worcestershire every other week. There was so much work involved in clearing mum’s house in preparation for sale, I found spending more than a week there emotionally draining, so the long drive there was the lesser of the two evils.

Finally,  on the 10th April the house was put in the hands of an estate agent, and we returned home for a longer break.

We had left a few bits of essential furniture there for when we visit, but basically this can be removed as and when, which will be sooner than I expected, as the house was sold, subject to contract on 15th April.

Last Thursday (24th April), T decided we needed some normality back in our lives. Normality being, a bus (free pass) or train (senior discount) ride to somewhere nearby.

I think we’ve been spending too much time in Yorkshire, I’m a tight Tyke by birth, but it’s rubbing off on T now, so the bus won and we whooshed to Worcester on the Woosh Bus.

Once there we headed down towards the river for our normal stroll along the bank.

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The River Severn was at a more normal height, unlike the last time we’d travelled to Worcester on 7th January, when our stroll was curtailed by floods. I wrote and posted a short video about it here.

Believe it or not, the floods got even worse, and in early February eventually took out the rivercam.

Check out 11th February on this website by Farsons Digital Water Cams showing the lock gates underwater and compare to my photos below from 24th April.

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We continued along the footpath.

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T does concern me sometimes.

On towards the new Diglis Bridge, we followed our footsteps of a previous walk I’ve written about………creatures of habit we are 😉

But wait, these metal men weren’t here before:

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Just standing there, by Diglis Bridge, without any rhyme or reason as to why.

I took a few photos and we continued on our way.

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Past the new and I’m guessing rather expensive apartments, now occupying land where the famous Royal Worcester Porcelain Works once stood.

After sharing…….yes, I did say sharing (tight Tyke syndrome)…..a bag of chips, we both decided a pint of real ale at King Charles House would help wash them down……no we didn’t share a pint 😉

I’d found the metal men sculptures totally fascinating, especially when photographed from a low angle, so once home I had to find out a bit more about them.

Chosen by the people of Worcester, they are representative of Worcester’s past.

A Royalist and a Parliamentarian from the Civil War, Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist, Ernest Payne and  Sir Charles Hastings, founder of the British Medical Association.

More images of them in the slide show below.

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Is Britain sinking?

The coasts are being battered by tidal surges, and with the continuous rain, the rivers are bursting their banks.

In the spring of 2012 many counties had already imposed a hosepipe ban on their residents, it was soon lifted when we had one of the wettest summers for 100 years.

Even after last summer (2013), which was the warmest since 2006, to my knowledge there weren’t any hosepipe bans anywhere.

Today we went to Worcester on the train, a journey of about fifteen miles. Looking out of the window across the quagmire of mud and water that was once fields, I started to wonder how much more water our country can take.

The River Severn – which flows through Worcester –  is the UK’s longest river. Starting in the hills of North Wales, it enters the Bristol channel 220 miles later, wreaking havoc in times of flood, with many towns and cities en route.

The scenes in this short video are becoming a far too common sight these days. Not the worst I’ve seen, but they do seem to be happening more frequently.

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The above photo of T (standing near Watergate) pointing to the highest recorded level that I’ve seen, was taken in August 2013.

Todays level, which can be seen on the Watergate clip in the video below, I’m guessing would probably be up to his waist.

 

In the King’s footsteps

Living quite close to Worcester, we often pop into the city for a walk along the river.

Worcester is a city steeped in history, where many battles have been fought.

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Looking towards Diglis Lock from Diglis Bridge last week.

The River Severn was very calm, and flowing at a more normal depth, unlike the video I posted last November in a previous blog post.

About a mile from this very modern bridge is Powick Bridge, a site of one of the major battles of the English Civil War during the 17th century.

We continued over the bridge and headed towards Worcester Cathedral. The cathedral’s tower was chosen by King Charles II to watch over the Battle of Worcester.

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Worcester Cathedral’s Watergate wall has dates recorded on it of the varying flood levels when the Severn has burst its banks. The highest recorded level was in 1770 (the large plaque) followed closely by March 1947.

To the right just above T’s head, is a marker (with greenery growing under it) for July 2007, the highest level in my lifetime.

The river’s normal level is at least 10-15 feet below the footpath he’s standing on.

We walked into the town, and along Friar Street, a very picturesque street full of beautiful timber framed buildings. I wonder what tales those walls could tell.

IMG_4689Having a while to wait before our train home, we called into King Charles House. This ancient building, which is now a pub, is one of Worcester’s most historic buildings.

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I’ve never been too interested in the history of the British Monarchs, but as T, who has a great interest in the English Civil war, launched into a history lesson with the poor barman, I started to find it very interesting.

King Charles House is the building from where King Charles II escaped his enemies after the Battle of Worcester in September 1651. This battle marked the end of the English Civil War, when the Royalists were defeated by Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians.

The King who eventually escaped to France, first headed north towards Shropshire, then, almost doubling back on himself, headed for the south coast.

Below is a map of his route.

For anyone interested, as I’m not going to launch into a history lesson, there is some good information here.

I have often walked Sal and Jasp on the part of The Monarchs Way that passes nearby our home, without knowing the full reason for its name, but the cogs of my brain where slowly putting two and two together.

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So today, we decided we’d would walk in a few more of Charles II’s footsteps.

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Is this really the route he took?

If it is, according to the above map, On September 10th 1651, he would have been heading towards where I am standing on his way south.

After doing a spot of research for this post, it appears we’ve trodden in his footsteps quite recently too.

When he reached the south coast, Charmouth was another place he passed on his escape route.

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I doubt he’d have had time to look for fossils though 😉

** I have added quite a few links to this post. Because of all the history involved, I felt it would make for heavy reading and may be off putting, but for anyone with an interest, they are quite informative.**

Wet and windy Worcester

What a difference a day makes!

After such a glorious day on Sunday, it would have been nice for it to continue for a couple of days at least, but oh no! we’ve had a miserable murky Monday, a torrential Tuesday, a wet Wednesday and err Thursday, well it wasn’t thundery, but it wasn’t far off.

We decided to drive to Worcester, that’s right, no bus or rail passes today, my motor had been standing around since we returned from Yorkshire last month, so it needed a run to give the battery a charge and Worcester seemed a good option.

A couple of junctions down the M5, and we’re parked up beside the new Diglis bridge. This is T’s favourite spot for launching his kayak into the Severn as it’s got easy access down a slope into the river.

He certainly wouldn’t have had any trouble launching it today, it would have just slid off the footpath straight into the river as the slope had vanished under about eight feet of water, though if he had, it would probably have been the last I saw of him and his kayak in the swirling mass of water.

We set off on the circular walk, over the Diglis bridge, along the riverbank to the town road bridge and back along the bank on the opposite side.

What a contrast there was today compared to when we did the walk on that beautiful day in January that I wrote about here.

    

Where’s the weir? On the video below, I filmed where we thought the weir should be, but it was totally submerged, the only sign of there being one there was the orange barrier to stop any stray boats, which was bowing under the strain of a tree it had caught.

A day without (T)rain

Thursday 16th.

No rain today, and we both agreed the bus or rail passes needed to get out somewhere.

How about Worcester T suggests…………. yeah, good idea!!

Looking at the clock we realised we’d missed the bus at the top of the road, which would have given us a free journey, the next one wasn’t due for another two hours, so it looked like it was the rail passes lucky day.

So we jumped into the car for the short trip to Bromsgrove station, arriving at 13.00hrs, just in time to buy the tickets for the 13.10 to Worcester…………..or so we thought.

Being old and thick, we still haven’t fathomed out how to purchase two tickets at the same time, so, ladies before gentlemen, I tapped the requested route into the ticket machine, checking it carefully (yes, I’ve been caught out here before), I put my card into the machine…..

……please insert your pin…….please press enter………I wait patiently for the authorisation screen to appear, when suddenly, just as the card machine jumps into life and the ticket machine spits my tickets out…………….

…………..I hear a voice over the tannoy system “We are very sorry to announce, the 13.10 Birmingham to Hereford train (yes, this is our Worcester train) has been cancelled, due to a broken down freight train blocking the track, further trains may be delayed or cancelled”

WHAT!!!!!! I turn around to see T dancing around on the platform, pointing at me “ha ha, you’ve got a ticket and you’re not going anywhere”

“S’okay I said, I’ll get my money back”

To be confronted with “You tight Tyke, you’re never going to claim £2.95 back………….are you????……………you are aren’t you!”

He obviously knows me too well 🙂

“Well, we could always wait for the 14.10″, we haven’t any other plans” I said. So that is what we decided to do.

We got talking to other folk who were also waiting, it turns out, one lady had arrived for the 12.10 (which had been cancelled too), needed to get to Hereford. Now the only other way to get to Hereford, apart from by train, is by bus…………from Worcester………but first you’ve got to get to Worcester. Yes, there are buses from Bromsgrove to Worcester, but the rail and bus stations are about two miles apart.

After checkin the London Midland app on my iPhone, I noticed the 14.10 had departed Birmingham on time, yeah, our day out was on again…..or was it?

T, still hadn’t bought his ticket, but when we saw headlights in the distance coming down the track, I dashed over to the machine to purchase his for him.

Oh no!!, the headlight were from the broken down freight train, which was being pushed down the track by another engine.

I stood and watched container after container trundle past, now holding two rail tickets in my hand.

Eventually at 14.22, a train arrived and we jumped on for the short journey to Worcester.

Once in Worcester, waiting to cross the road, the Worcester Woosh bus (the one we decided not to catch, as we would have had to wait two hours for) went past and into the bus station.

LOL, we could have got there quicker, and for free, but instead, we’d watched the world go by (well nothing else was) at Bromsgrove station.

We ended up, walking along the river doing the same walk we did here, picking a few blackberries, then dashing back to the station for the train home.

This time though I had a camera as I’d recently bought a cheap, pocket size video camera, mainly as it was waterproof, and shockproof, and I wanted something pocket sized, for times on the beach and in the sea (and rain)

So I captured the day in motion.

Music is Drops of Jupiter – Train

The return of the raindrops

I was dreaming in the early hours, that there was rain beating on the window, I woke up, and the dream didn’t stop. Second thoughts, perhaps I was dreaming in a dream, so I was still a dream away from reality.

Hhmmmm, the reality of it all, was that when I pulled the curtains back this morning, the raindrops were there again 😮

T and I started to discuss what Worcester must be like with all the rain we’ve had recently. Worcester stands on the River Severn, the source of which starts in Wales, is 220 miles long, and can be a very destructive when in flood.

“Shall we pop over on the bus, I can take a few pics for my blog” I said, I look at him shaking his head. “OK I’ll go on my own then”

As T has named himself the bus maestro, I didn’t want to make his head any bigger, by checking with his timetable brain, so I proceeded to check the bus timetable on the internet, by which time I realised I had missed the 350, a rather infrequent but direct to Worcester bus that I could catch ten minutes walk away 🙄 I started to look at alternatives. 55 into town, X3 to Bromsgrove (yes, this is the X3 of Kidderminster fame that calls in at Bromsgrove) then the 144 to Worcester.

Walking downstairs, T asks “you going then?” YES! “do you know what buses you need?” YES! “which way you going then?” He was probably expecting me to say the 350, but I pulled my piece of paper out of my pocket, and read off the buses, and the connecting times 😆 “Oooooh” he says in disbelief “you’ll be as good as me soon”

Keeping my fingers crossed that all connections went smoothly, as there was only about five minutes leeway between each one, I set off. My precision planning had worked like clockwork, there was no demented running anywhere, and I walked sedately from one bus to the next.

I arrived in Worcester (20 miles away) ninety minutes after leaving home. Yeah, OK, I know I could probably have got to London in that time, in fact I could have flown to Paris in an hour, but Hey! I’m time rich, and the journey was free 🙂

I made my way down to the river bank. Well, the Severn certainly had a bit more water in it than the Avon did yesterday, to say it was a bit full is an understatement, though I have seen it higher in July 2007 (must dig a few pics out). I took my Canon Ixus out of my pocket, and dodging raindrops (it does this better than my other bigger camera) proceeded to take the following shots.

I didn’t think I’d manage a walk along the riverside today…….

………though Mr Swan did

A slightly different take on things compared to this blog post

Down a few steps and under the Watergate archway and you are on the riverside walk. Not today though, the gate was firmly bolted, just in case anyone might be daft enough to try.

Just on the left, once through the arch, are plaques, engraved with various river heights when in flood, some interesting info and photos can be viewed here. The highest flood waters filled this archway in 1770, the plaque for 2007 is not too far below it.

Once I’d taken all the pics I wanted, I wandered back into the bus station, checking my list of bus times, I didn’t have too long to wait for the 350 back home. 🙂

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Argh!! I haven’t got my camera!!!!

26th January 2012, and another day out on the local rail system.

It was a grey rainy day, we were both sat at home twiddling our thumbs, well not literally, I was endlessly trolling through the posts on a popular social networking site, and Tony was doing his daily Sudoku, when he suggested we pop over to Worcester on the train. Great idea!!!, so making sure we were well wrapped up against the elements, we set off for the station.

Now having been to Worcester many many times, having hundreds of photos stashed away in various places, and considering the torrential rain, I decided it was not a day for my camera to come with me.

How wrong could I be. Worcester is only 17 miles away, but in that short distance the sky became a stunning blue and the light, well it was that wonderful clear light, that always follows the rain.

Annoyed with myself for breaking the golden rule, I pulled my phone out of my pocket to try and capture what I was looking at.

River Severn Worcester from road bridge The River Severn from the road bridge, with Worcester Cathedral in the distance.

 Worcester Cathedral.

 A river sign, warning to keep left, otherwise you’ll end up down……………

 …….the fast flowing weir.

 The new Diglis footbridge, which was opened in July 2010, it enables walkers & bikers to enjoy a circular route along the Severn between Diglis basin & the road bridge in the city.

 One of the bridge supports, and that amazing blue sky.

 Looking back across the bridge.

 A row of seagull ready for take off (if only I’d got my camera)

 A river sign, note how many locks to Gas Street Basin, Birmingham (subject of an earlier post).

 Part of the old monastery ruins.

 View back up the river to the road bridge.

I was quite impressed with how my phone had coped, but it’ll never replace a camera.