We might have stayed at Wolverley for a rest day but it was so noisy last night that I couldn’t get to sleep till 3am. Children skwarked and shouted till well after dark whilst an endless stream of feet scrunched along the gravel footpath 6′ from our tent, to and from the toilet block. Meanwhile four adults, clearly good friends, chewed the fat over a bottle or two close by, their volume controls disabled by alcohol. What twattery makes people forget there is a just thin piece of material between them and the outside world? Snore in a quiet campsite and your 20 nearest neighbours will hear. Farting also.
Once the four friends stopped talking, about midnight, there was just owl hooting and occasional crunching until two women could be heard, apparently walking round the site, one distressed and the other trying to mollify her. After a few circuits they settled down in their tent, perhaps 80 feet away from me and Raisin, and continued loudly from there. The distressed one seemed to be relaying a litany of betrayals and disappointments by a loved one, the pitch of her voice rising as she tried to talk and cry at once. I had earplugs in by that time and the noise reaching my brain was very like a Clanger speaking. The mollifier must have been a saint or drunk to have had the patience to listen to that and to keep up with the soothing responses. On and on it went; Clanger had so very many things to get off her chest. Suddenly, about 3am, they stopped talking, as if the site’s Antisocial Behaviour Unit sniper had got one or both of them with a tranquiliser dart.
So I was tired and grumpy this morning as we headed south along the canal towpath, with Raisin trotting alongside the bike. Towpaths make me a bit edgy since I fell into the Regents Canal in London whilst cycling to work. (I met a bike coming the other way under a bridge, where the path narrows, and there wasn’t room for both of us.) Anyway, my mood today wasn’t helped by a puncture at Kidderminster Lock. This is hostile territory as the leader of the faction that opposed mine in the Battle for Gresley’s Duck a couple of years ago lives in Kidderminster, and I wouldn’t put it past him to push me in the canal should he happen to waddle past.
With the puncture, and Kidderminster, behind us things improved and the tow path was very pleasant. It runs between the canal and the fast-flowing Stour, where Raisin had a swim to cool off. We saw a kingfisher, some fish and a frog.
Leaving the waterway at Stourport we stopped to eat lunch and play balley at Hartlebury Heath, whose sand, heather, gorse and dogshit reminded me of the King’s Forest at home, although here were hills too.
We climbed out of Stourport up and up to the northern tip of Worcester where our campsite is on a farm surrounded by fields and a lovely view of the Shropshire Hills and the start of the Malverns. There are only three or four others staying here. There’s one toilet in an unlit shed and an outside basin with no hot water. My kind of place.