Europe 2012 travel blog

private barges

Hope this isnt our lot for Canal trip nrxt week!

Dock view

countryside outside Glouster (including Canola /Rape seed fields

and more

As we still had a lot of daylight and had done the central and southern villages on our list, Yve suggested we go to Gloucester near where another friend of Chanelle’s had taught. SO off we went again. Nearing the town we saw some tourist signs, one to the cathedral and the other to the Port museum. I thought the latter might be interesting, so asked if we could head there. With the help of our trusty little GPS man (who had done very well all day. He had been turned off when we strayed between villages!) We easily found it. I really enjoyed that stop. We walked around the barge area, and onto the museum noting on the way all the revitalised warehouses. Most were now apartments, with a few new ones added in the same style. One was even the Town Hall.

When we got to the museum Yve again checked out the shop and Mike and I went into the small museum. It was very informative. A short video about the canals in England and the creative engineering that got water up hills, down steep inclines, over ravines, crossing over each other, etc. There was a section on the barge families who were regarded a bit like gypsies and blamed for everything that happened in the towns they passed through. If something was stolen it was them, if any other crime was committed it must have been them. AS a way of demonstrating they were clean and respectable they (and probably more so to pass some time away, but this wasn’t given as a reason) they decorated their boats and if very arty crafty, decorated everything on the boat, from flower pots and watering cans to the utensils being used.

Amongst the interesting ‘tools’ of the canal trade was the iron breaker barge. The bottom of the barge was completely round, halves of 44 gallon drums joined to make a barge length boat bottom. With a horse pulling it along, men stood in the barge and rocked it from side to side, until coat tails were hitting the water on both sides. The rocking and forward movement broke the ice.

When we left Gloucester Yve suggested we go to the village where Channelle’s friend had lived when she taught at the exclusive school attended by the Royals. Getting there was an adventure in itself. We wound up and round steep hills. The views from here were spectacular, if a little misty. Looking into valleys with large manor houses and small villages scattered throughout. Buildings were still the yellowy honey bricks of the cotswalds.

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