Tuesday, 1 August 2017

National Waste of Time Museum

Until a couple of days ago the Llanthony Lift Bridge was just an occasional CRT Notice Alert, mentioned when it wasn't working for whatever reason. I had no real idea where it was, and certainly no idea what it looked like.

But now, having been moored in Gloucester Docks for 30 hours, I do know where it is (immediately south of the docks where the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal joins), how it lifts and what it carries (buses, taxis, cycles and pedestrians).

Here it is, just starting to close after allowing the trip boat Glevum through.

This morning we went round the National Waterways Museum. Now I had thought that this was the main one, but it isn't a patch on Ellesmere Port. The sign on the Llanthony Warehouse leads one to imagine that the museum occupies the whole warehouse - or, at least, a good part of it.

Er, no. It's on two floors with much of the ground floor taken up with gift shop and basic tea room - no, sorry, that's too grand - coffee bar. There's a five minute looped HD aerial film of the lower Severn which is mildly interesting, and talking head videos of former commercial boatmen who worked the Severn. There's a scattering of canal-related stuff, but there's far more and better at Ellesmere Port. Outside there are three or four boats including a Dutch dredger (in the foreground above) and a barge now converted to a modern classroom. On hardstanding, with no information board, is a Josher narrowboat whose name now escapes me and whose cabin is in poor condition.

Neither of us was impressed. On the plus side the ticket covers entry to Ellesmere Port for a year - but we went there last year and are unlikely to be back within 12 months.

There are some interesting old buildings in the city centre, but it's not as chocolate box pretty as Tewkesbury. We were outside Baker's (Practical Watchmaker, Jeweller & Optician) when the bells were chimed for 5 pm, each of the four outside characters sounding their bell with a hammer before Father Time hauled on his rope to strike the hour.

We went to Choral Evensong in the cathedral at 1730, which was sung very well by Wells Cathedral's "voluntary choir" (more Elgar - is it compulsory in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire? The anthem at Tewkesbury on Sunday was an excerpt from The Apostles; today we heard 'Give unto the Lord'.)

We ate at the Lord High Constable of England (Wetherspoon's) at an outside table on the dockside. Despite the sun having gone into a sulk behind clouds it was actually warmer there than in the over-air-conditioned interior. (photo taken in the sunshine yesterday)

Tomorrow we shall venture down the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, all sixteen miles and sixteen moveable bridges. Maybe only 14 bridges - I'm guessing we won't be going into Sharpness Dock.

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