After a week at my brother’s we are on the move again, heading down the River Severn.
The Severn was named after the Goddess Sabrina, or perhaps it is the other way round, it’s hard to tell with deities. You may notice that they don’t actually have the same name any more. You can imagine the scene in the Sabrina household.
River Sabrina: Mum?
Goddess Sabrina: What is it darling? And will you please stop flooding all over my kitchen floor.
River: I can’t help flooding, Mum, I’m upset. People keep getting us mixed up, I want my own name.
Goddess Sabrina: What do you mean, your own name?
River: I’m tired of being Sabrina. It’s so femme. How am I supposed to build a decent flood plain with a name like Sabrina? And I don’t like the way Father Thames keeps encroaching on my watershed.
Goddess Sabrina: Well what do you want to be called then?
River: I was thinking something more butch, like Sven, or Grunt.
Goddess Sabrina: Severn would be OK.
River: I said Sven, not Severn. Honestly Mum, you never listen!
Goddess Sabrina: River Severn it is then. Now you can’t say I don’t support your choices however stupid they are.
River Severn: I can feel another flood coming on.
To leave Stourport we had to navigate the Stourport basins, stop off at a boatyard for diagnostic work on the engine screech, pick up my brother, his wife, their two sons, and one son’s girlfriend, and get down two staircase locks. The various Conways helped with the locks, so we got down the flight pretty quickly and out on the river.
First impression: This thing is huge, I could turn around anywhere.
Second impression: The banks are deep and covered in trees. We’re never going to see the first cows of the day.
We celebrated our entry to the Severn by sacrificing some chicken and rice to the Goddess Sabrina, who has gone right off human sacrifices, and is trying to eat less red meat. It was gobbled up by the battle swans, who are far more carnivorous than you might imagine if you didn’t see the insane glint in their eyes.
We dropped the Conway clan off at a riverside pub after the first lock. The locks on the Severn are large, automated, and manned. You can even call the lock keepers up on the phone and let them know you are coming so they open the gates for you. Now that’s luxury.
We moored up in Worcester, and I took a brief walk around town. The cathedral here is the burial place of King John (who you will remember was not a good man) but I have been there before, so I struck out more or less randomly to see what else there was to see. Oh, look, they have a church spire with no church.
The Church of St Andrew lasted from medieval times until 1949 when nobody wanted it any more so it was demolished. Seriously? Yes, I know the country was recovering from a devastating war, and was more concerned with building a better future than preserving the past, but couldn’t they have propped it up for another few years till someone could convert it into a bistro or a night club or something? There just aren’t that many medieval buildings around it seems a shame to waste one. Bowling alleys were big in the fifties, they could have made it a bowling alley.
Now let’s talk about the unrepentantly gloppy Queen Anne guildhall.
I know it’s a Queen Anne building because there is a bloody great statue of Queen Anne on the front…
… and as she is a monarch who is more famous for the furniture she made than any monarching she did, nobody would bother to put up a statue of her unless they were trying to suck up to her while she was still enmonarched. Above her statue there seems to be a relief depicting every weapon used in Worcester since Roman times, but I don’t have a joke for that. I should mention that the architect did not get paid until fifteen years after he had died, so perhaps the guildsmen of Worcester did not like the weapons all over the building either.
Lower down the building are statues of Charles II…
… and Charles I…
… Queen Anne’s uncle and great uncle, putting the building firmly in the protestant monarchist camp. Notably missing are Anne’s father, James II (Catholic) and her sister, the Mary half of William-And-Mary, who weren’t nearly as good at making furniture as Queen Anne.
On the way back to the boat I was nearly entrapped by The Hive.
The cover story is that is contains a library and government offices, but clearly it is the headquarters of an alien intelligence that is trying to assimilate us, otherwise why would it be covered in golden tiles strangely reminiscent of pangolin scales? Whichever way you go, there is no escape.