Monday, 6 April 2015

Must be Clarkson in front of us...

Monday 6th April 2015

A quick look outside this morning showed a nice light fog and a perfect day beyond - no clouds and the sun was shining brightly.
As it was a fasting day for us, there was no reason not tobe making an early start, particularly as there was a cassette to empty and a water tank to fill before we really got underway.

Only a few minutes down to the services point; Diane had already off-loaded the rubbish at the bins by the previous bridge.
For once the water pressure was quite strong - about 500 litres in 20 minutes - good going in our books.
A new development right on the edge of the canal -
Tom on nb Waiouru has mentioned this previously in his blog...

...note the position of the water point and elsan in the bottom right
corner - the residents won't put up with that - safe to assume that CaRT
will close it down, but will they relocate it or forget it

Round the bend and past the Aylesbury arm - perhaps next time we will venture down that way, but for now we had a flight plan.

Would luck be onour side today - well if the signs from the first lock were anything to go by it was a possibility - a lock in our favour - straight in and up in no time.

A little cruising past moored boats and the reservoirs, necessary to reach the second lock - mmmm!! it was full - someone had come off the moorings, so a bit more time but no real problems.
The thrid lock was not far beyond, but around a turn, so imagine our surprise to see two boats in the lock - looked like they shouldbe ready to go out - but the real question is, if we could catch them so quickly, what were they doing to be taking so long.
Diane went forward and after they had emerged and she reset the lock she told me.
Seems that the two boats were lashed together and the guy driving them left them in the lock whilst he went ahead to set the next lock and then be able to steer them straight in.
The woman from the other boat and a girl about 15 helped marginally to close the gates once he left.
At this rate we would be quite a while getting through.

Next lock was a bit quicker but not by much and so it continued for the next few locks.

Finally in the pound between the last two locks he waved his arms and was saying something which I could not make out, but with the level of the pound well down I assumed that he had run aground.

So off I went to investigate - Diane was on the boat in the bottom of the lock; I didn't want to fill it and drain the pound - it seems that he had something wrapped around the prop and offered for us to go around - with the state of the pound well down that might have meant all of us not able to move, so I suggested that he see to his prop whilst I ran some water through the lock and he should then be able to carry on - agreed.

Water level fixed; prop cleared; and I thought that would be that, but no, he wanted to check the engine out on the other boat as they were going up the Wendover Arm and that is a single boat passage at a time.
At this point I should have said that we would go around, but didn't expect the delays that were to come.

My thought was that the pound would have supported them going into the lock and then us to fill our lock, but not for another lock of water to come out of it and then try to go around.

The 2nd engine started immediately and so they slowly made their way into the lock - slowly the important word.
I filled the lock with Ferndale (and Diane), opened the gates when full; they were still in the lock and it was not full - so much p__sfar___g around.
Even when Diane made her way up there, they wanted to take the seemingly slowest way to get both boats out - one at a time and every point along the way took three times as long as it should.
Look closely - we are already out of our lock; Diane (right) almost to the lock
and the two of them are still chatting on their boats - a crowd has gathered in
the meantime - oh and the lock is still not full.

Finally an hour after the first problem they were clear of the lock - Diane was ready to set it for us when along came a woman from a boat coming down - but not quite there yet - even from distance I could see she was completely p__sed off - not at these people but at the others going up ahead of us.

James May from Top Gear had passed the comment about Clarkson when the latter was being an a__e and called him a "knobhead" - Clarkson being notorious for being primarily concerned about himself and not giving a s__t about anyone else - I think we may very well have encountered some of Clarkson's relatives.

Given that we had waited to make sure thatthey were going and got the lock and pound ready for them; had put up with their lack of care about those behind them - I would be ready to agree with James May's description of the type of person similar to whom we met.

Anyway after those 7 locks which incidentally took 2 hours and 25 minutes (which had taken me 90 minutes single handed in August 2010) we had some lovely cruising in the sunshine - the final 7 locks down into Berkhamsted which are spread over 2 and 1/2 miles took only 2 hours - too far to walk between.
The canoists were easy to deal with.

Got a shot of this fella - I am sure someone will tell me what it is

A really nice sight exiting the last lock into Berkhamsted

Finally moored up, still in bright sunshine we headed off to Waitrose to claim our free coffees each - courtesy of the myWaitrose cards that we have.

Back to the boat to finish a few things and relax after two relatively hard days to finish the long weekend.
We are back to normal working hours tomorrow.

The last word that we have is for our son Mitchell and for good luck tomorrow with his interview for a US visa to live and work there and for he and Sara to be reunited - this time in the US.

7 Miles, 14 Locks
YTD: 255 Miles, 130 Locks, 6 Tunnels, 2 Lift Bridges, 10 Swing Bridges
Totals: 3149 Miles, 2251 Locks, 104 Tunnels, 36 Lift Bridges, 161 Swing Bridges


  1. Ray, I think the bird is a chaffinch.

  2. My fingers are crossed, good luck Mitchell.
    Kath (nb Herbie)