When we made our decision to head north at Tewkesbury, we hadn’t given up on Gloucester completely; we just used a different mode of transport. Thursday 28th June was another hot day and as result the rail companies had speed restrictions in place to prevent buckling of the rails. Our train was late, in common with a number of others and while we waited, we chatted to a Canadian man who had been at the University for a week looking at a rural touring arts scheme that is in place in the county. He was travelling to Paddington and then to Heathrow before flying home that evening and it was his first experience of our railways. Hopefully his journey wasn’t delayed too much.
It was just before midday when we arrived in Gloucester and our first place to visit was the Cathedral, another very impressive structure.
A film crew were setting up to film scenes for a BBC drama, The Spanish Princess.
In nearby College Court is a shop selling Beatrix Potter books and gifts, the building is reputed to be the house of The Tailor of Gloucester.
The next stop on the tour was Gloucester docks where we would have moored if we had turned left rather than right at Tewkesbury. The docks have been and are continuing to be redeveloped. The quaysides are populated by bars and restaurants and on that sunny day it all looked very vibrant. We had lunch here before moving on to the National Waterways Museum where there are a number of good exhibits but the focus, unsurprisingly, is on the history of trade on the Severn.
We were all done by three o’clock so that gave us a choice, head back to the station for the 15.37 train back to Worcester or have a drink before checking out the nearby shopping mall and its outlet stores and then catching the 17.37. We chose the latter option and after a couple of soft drinks in the nearby Wetherspoons, we went to the shops.
Afterwards, we took a slow walk back through the city centre which is alright but not as appealing as Worcester. At the station, chaos ensued. The speed restrictions that led to late trains had eventually led to cancellations including the 15.37 so it was just as well that we hadn’t tried to catch that one. Platform changes were being announced, passengers were getting frustrated as they were being shunted from one end of the station to the other and of course it was still very warm just to improve everyone’s mood. Our train just got later and later but eventually arrived twenty minutes after it should have done. The air conditioning had broken down so the carriage was boiling and the passengers were pretty uncomfortable. Some were concerned about missing onward connections and the train manager was doing her best to get answers for them. The train continued to lose time and even stopped for five minutes near Tewkesbury. As it pulled into Worcester Shrub Hill, the train manager announced that the service was going to terminate there and that everyone had to leave the train. This left us on the wrong side of the city and gave us an extra mile to walk back to our mooring and yes it was still boiling hot outside! By the time we got back to the boat it was gone 7.20, an hour later than we had expected to return. Still, we had seen Gloucester and that was the main thing. It was worth going but we were just as happy that we hadn’t gone by boat.
(We didn’t see Dr Foster though but that wasn’t surprising really, he only goes when it’s raining and we haven’t seen any rain for weeks now!)