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.

 

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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Down to Upton

Continuing our brief visit to Upton on Severn, here are a few more pics.

After an extremely comfortable first night in the motorhome, we awoke to what promised to be a beautiful day ………. until we heard the weather forecast …….. PM, rain, turning to sleet or snow on the high ground 😮

Not wanting to use the motorhome, as we were only about 20 minutes walk from the town, I got myself togged up for the promised downpour, T on the other hand had decided we’d be back before the heavens opened. Off we set 🙂

First T wanted to pick up an adjustable spanner for the gas bottle, so we made our way to the local Countrywide store, dogs on leads are welcome, the sign said, so we ALL went in. Jasper and Sals eyes widened at the sights & smells emitting from the section specially for dogs, where we’d suddenly been pulled to.

Leaving the store, we wandered across the road, to have a look at the River Severn.

Making our way to the road bridge, we crossed over the river, stopping to take in the view of the Malverns in the distance.

Upton is part of the 40 mile circular Elgar Route, which meanders through the rolling Worcestershire countryside.

Still no sign of the promised rain, we found a suitable location to sit and watch the world go by.

The old road bridge used to cross the river just by the steps in the brickwork on the above photo, this was washed away in the 1852 flood. Upton has suffered severe floods in the past, the last time was in 2007. Flood defences are presently been built, which can be seen in the pic of Jasp & Sal in slideshow below.

Sitting watching the men at work, we felt the first few drops of rain, the sky was still fairly bright, so we continued on our way, to have a look at Upton Marina (see in slideshow). Bad idea that was as the rain was getting quite heavy by the time we got there. Turning tail, we walked back towards the town, finding an arch to shelter under as the rain became quite heavy.

As the rain eased slightly, we made a dash back to the road bridge…….. 2nd bad idea ……… the heavens opened just as we were on the bridge, being open to the elements and the wind blowing directly from the now not visible Malverns, the driving rain bit into my face as Jasp decided he wasn’t budging, T by this time was running over the bridge with Sal in tow.

When I eventually caught up with a now soaked T (in his non waterproof coat) & Sal (who looked liked she’d swum across the river) they were sheltering under a tree. Jasper, who loathes getting wet, looked even wetter than Sal, and Me? my trousers were soaked from the rain running off my lovely waterproof coat.

Soggily we walked back into the town, where we called into the local store for more provisions for that evening.

Dinner that evening was pasta, and more much needed red wine.

The evening turned out quite nice in the end, with a beautiful sunset over the Malverns, but it didn’t last, I was woken several times during the night, with rain hammering on the roof.

By lunchtime today, with the rain still hammering down, we decided to call it a day and set off for home.

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