Sunday, 5 July 2015

If I had wanted it hot I would have stayed at home.

Wednesday 1st July to Thursday 2nd July 2015

All of the forecasters were saying it, Wednesday would be an extremely hot day -perhaps the hottest in a decade - well they were wrong - hottest July day ever.

We wanted to start down the Hanwell flight of locks today in anticipation of being on the Thames by the end of the week.

Not even leaving very early saved us from it; to go with the biting sun, the air was also warm, not something that generally happens in this country.
It really felt like summer back in Melbourne and that wasn't what I signed up for.

Neither of us like the hot weather and if there were canals in Greenland we would have gone.

Diane was the brave soul stationed out the back whilst we cruised the 5 or so miles until the locks came upon us; this gave me a good chance to get some more work done (and avoid some of the direct heat).

But with the start of the locks it meant that we were both busy and with heavy gates it wasn't long before Diane needed to rest up a bit and she steered the boat whilst I took over locking duties.

Fortunately for us, there was a lockeeper about halfway down and he gave us a hand with the remaining 4 locks that we had to get through before mooring up.

We had a few cans of icy cold Stella in the fridge and very thankfully bundled them up for him to enjoy later on.

We moored up after Lock 97, right outside The Fox where we had intended to be.

The heat had been a constant all the way down and we were both pleased to be able to relax and have a cooling shower before heading off for lunch.
Our last visit had been about 6 weeks ago with Tone and Julie and we decided then that we would return for a repeat - very pleased to say that it was as just as good this time as well.

After returning to the boat there was not a great deal that we could do to escape the heat, just use as little energy as possible - oh how we were missing the air conditioning from home.

The sun going down did not really change the situation - it was just very warm and humid to go with it - somehow we managed to get a half decent night's sleep but it was broken at times and in the morning we felt a bit tired but not too bad.

At this point on the canal we were just 3 locks and a couple of miles from Brentford Lock and the Thames; we hadn't really decided to go out but thought that being this close we may as well.

Once again it was a reasonably early start - still being quite warm, but a little bit of cloud as relief.

We contacted Brentford Lock first but only message bank and then tried Teddington who gave us the information that we needed - Brentford would be manned from 14:00 hrs and we could probably lockout about 15:00 with the trip taking about an hour.

After using the Brentford services we cruised the short distance after the town lock to moor up and wait for the lockeeper - we had decided to go.

After such a dreadfully hot one the previous day, we found it a pleasant change, after tying up, when it started to rain - not heavy but it helped to clear the air and cool things down a bit.
This was the look between lock and the Thames - tide
not quite in - well not at all really...

Before we knew it, 14:00 had rolled around, the lockeeper had appeared and he waved us into the lock and equally quickly, we were through and once again out on the Thames - going towards Teddington.
...and just a few hours later we were set...

...and off - picture courtesy of the "selfie-queen"

the final stretch from the lock

Wide river behind us...

...and in front.
We even had a Port of London escort - I think they wanted us to keep an eye
on them in case they got into any trouble.

They made it safe and sound to their mooring and waved their thanks to us!

The sun had reappeared but accompanying it was a relatively coolish breeze, which made for an extremely pleasant cruise.

Richmond Lock - only needed at low tide

Twickenham Road Bridge


Richmond Bridge

We kept the speed up a bit and as we approached Teddington Lock, Diane called to let them know - there was a bit of confusion on their part as they were expecting a vessel coming down from above the lock - it was quickly sorted out and we moored up on the waiting pontoon with a much larger gleaming white vessel awaiting our turn to enter the lock.
In the lock and rising

Before long we were in there; roped up; engines off; being watched by a small number of gongoozlers; then we were out - we moored up on the first space available and headed back on foot to see the lockies and hand over some hard-earned for a month-long EA licence for the Thames and also for the mooring - we decided to stay where we were for the night.
Our mooring for the night - above Teddington Lock

After making sure that the boat was secure we took off for a wander around Teddington and then back to the boat - no pub visitation - it was a fasting day for us.
Just the sort of thing you would expect to see in the grounds of the church -
anyone for a tune

They seem to park in a strange way around here

Reminded us of home - summertime and the grass is brown - just a patch of
green called a cricket pitch

Google Map StreetView were out and about

The river craft, naturally, are able to travel faster than we are used to on canals, but a few of the very large sight-seeing vessels seem to have a problem in keeping it below the 8km/h (5mph) speed limit - signs are well visible as well as the notation in the navigation notes.
Probably not the worst offender but the idea of keeping to the speed limit
was a bit like talking another language

The end result of their excess speed was a large wash and buffeting around of any moored boats -  the moorings themselves are very much suited for craft with much more air draft - our attempts to place fenders in correct positions had little chance of serving their purpose - eventually we dragged down the two large car tyres that we sometimes use and these did the job.
night view from the back of the boat...

...and from the front

After dark we also had a chance to see what nb Herbie had reported on their blog - the moon in full profile and the sight of Venus and Jupiter.

Venus (l) and Jupiter (r)
and in the morning - so still before the big boats were around

14 Miles, 13 Locks
YTD: 518 Miles, 310 Locks, 12 Tunnels, 2 Lift Bridges, 13 Swing Bridges
Totals: 3412 Miles, 2431 Locks, 110 Tunnels, 36 Lift Bridges, 164 Swing Bridges

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ray & Diane,
    What a contrast to your header pic, yes it was hot, must'n complain mind!
    Be winter again in a minute.
    Nice pic's nice post.
    Quite a bit on the Thames this year on the various nb blogs I follow, a fair few partaking in this lovely river.
    Thanks for sharing