Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Canal claims another victim

Monday 4th May to Tuesday 5th May 2015

For anyone who may have missed it, Monday was, of course, Star Wars Day, so a belated happy Star Wars Day to one and all; light sabres out, speeder bikes at the ready - countdown to release of The Force Awakens (Dec 2015).

We however concentrated on more practical things - toilet cassettes and the need to empty them sometime this week.

It was such a lovely day that we untied and winded where we were - one thing that we love is that at 55' it is possible to wind almost anywhere, compared to those further north, where anything over 35' needs a winding hole.

There was an exceptional amount of rubbish in the canal this morning as we headed off - not just the usual stuff that washes down with a bit of rain (of which to date we not had any), but we also had tied bags of rubbish, large polystyrene containers and the like - deliberate dumpings.

Heading westward we stopped for water at Black Horse bridge (again) and after that travelled to Yeading where we moored up on the off-side along with about 10 other boats alongside the park - this seems to be an acceptable mooring site.
It's duckling season - spotting that is.

Very peaceful and quiet, Diane had the outdoor lounge chair out; relaxed and reading; coffee delivered; sun shining - just as she enjoys it.

Sadly, later on the clouds started to come over and the wind gradually picked up and she came inside - it was getting cold outside, but still cosy warm inside.

It was a bit hard to believe the difference that the week had delivered - centre of London (well Paddington anyway) we had to put up with a pair of young snobby twats, to now this where it was much more laid back - obviously way west of London (practically Bristol way).

This ensuing week has shown us a better side to people here, but next week may be different.

Monday night was the final session of the snooker and with two really nice guys contesting it, both of whom deserved to win, it was hard to pick one.
I just found it difficult to not see Stuart Bingham as the underdog and hence the one to support - we watched until it was 17-15 before we were off to bed - good news in the morning as we saw he had won 18-15.

Weather forecast was saying rain in the morning and heavy winds in the afternoon - we now had two cassettes which said "FULL" - we had already decided to head for the services as Norwood Top Lock.

At 6:30am it was not raining and a bit on the brighter side so we decided to leave early and go for it - hoping to beat the rain - which we did apart from a few spots only.

Getting to Bull's Bridge Junction, Diane wanted to get a couple of things at Tesco - maybe you can guess what it might be?  What's that you say - milk - then you would be correct.
In one, to write down on the calendar, I had to hold the boat whilst she shopped (not able to tie up anywhere); she went off to Tesco.
Expecting a lengthy delay as she dawdled walked there, she was going to obviously be sidetracked by shiny items, and check everything out, I was seeking an optometrists appointment as she returned after 10 minutes - "Weren't they open, dear?" - the look was deadly.
So we were off in a new record time and heading along previously un-navigated waters.
Houseboats - and going up...

...and bigger...

...I think the verandah has been undermined

The services block, which is marked in the Nicholsons appears to have been demolished to allow for the land to be sold off for new apartments. In the meantime a single toilet and a temporary elsan point have been left, the bins were further down on the other side (over the lock).

Everything was taken care of and now we just needed to wind and find a suitable mooring place nearby.
The wind had picked up but nothing of great concern; this part of the canal seemed a bit narrower than previously - with the front and stern buttons up we were in need of another 6" to be able to perform the manoeuvre - I've heard that criticism somewhere before.
The only option was to reverse back to the small side arm and wind there - just 150 metres back into the wind.

We put into practice some of the skills that we had seen on display at the Cavalcade just two days earlier, and a modicum of pride, we managed to do it without any loss of paint, skin or greying too much hair.
It was still a lovely and peaceful cruise

Safely around we tried a few spots to moor up but each seemed to have insufficient water below the surface. The wind was gusting and during one of these my favoured Driza-bone hat was whipped off and deposited in the canal - not the first time this has happened, but now the last.
It stayed in the middle of the canal, so no chance to retrieve it and slowly sank out of sight - hope that it doesn't find itself around someone's prop.
Goodbye old friend !

We eventually found a mooring spot back at Bulls Bridge outside Tesco, where we will spend the night.

Over the last week, especially, we have the distinct feeling that the alternator which charges the leisure batteries is not working at full capacity and could very well be on it's way out, so a phone call has been made for an electrician call next Tuesday and look at it for us.
It doesn't seem to like having anything taken out (washing machine or vacuum cleaner) even whilst running the engine under load - it takes a little while (up to an hour) until the appliance can be used - something has changed with the performance over the last 3-4 months.

After mooring up, Diane was a bit disgusted with an abnormal amount of rubbish that had been simply left right where we moored - it was a boater (or boater's) - do not these people have any pride in their own environment - so she set about bagging it all and I guess if we do not find any bins it will occupy the front cratch to be dumped when we do find one.
cleaning up someone else's mess...

...such a good girl - might have to keep her on.

The winds came up not long after and with a number of boats passing by or wanting to stop for water, it was "interesting" to see how each one coped with the conditions - some did well; others were unlucky.

10 Miles
YTD: 323 Miles, 180 Locks, 6 Tunnels, 2 Lift Bridges, 11 Swing Bridges
Totals: 3217 Miles, 2301 Locks, 104 Tunnels, 36 Lift Bridges, 162 Swing Bridges

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