Saturday, 29 August 2015

Hire boaters or dumb-ass boat owners

Thursday 27th August to Saturday 29th  August 2015

For the first time in a couple of weeks we had a completely relaxing day with nothing that really needed doing and not a lot done anyway.
Why you may ask? There has been a fair amount of travel done lately and we thought that we deserved a day off and besides that there was a bit of rain forecast.
We had reached our target location which we needed to be in for our Friday travels, so no need to move.

We have been to Berhamstead a number of times previously but never ventured too far away from the main street - this time we did go out of our way.

Diane had not been to see the castle ruins so we went there.
Not a great deal left, but you can visualise the walls, the moat, the motte and
the outer defences - just a shame they built it so close to the railway

We had not walked the canal to see more closely the things along there - rather than just cruising; we hadn't walked different streets - so we did that as well.
Watford Ladies FC home ground is at
Berkhamstead. No, Diane is not about to sign up
Seeing new aspects of places already visited is especially interesting and we have tried to make a concious effort to do so.

Friday was our day to travel down to Watford - Diane had a screening test to go through at Watford General and we had some post to pick up from Maggie and Paddy.
So on the train which was stopping at Watford Junction where we both got off and waited for the next train which would stop at Bushey - I travelled on this one and Diane exited the station and made her way to the hospital.

We had been waiting on some pens to arrive which we had ordered in a bit of a rush from James and Debbie (The Pen Makers Boat aka nb Lois Jane) - they were able to get all of these away quick smart for us and we could not be happier with the results - the pens are really lovely and will make great gifts - so if you are looking for something very good and of high quality then look no further.
This photo doesn't do them justice - visit the website and see for yourselves 
I spent some time with Maggie and Paddy talking about the wedding last weekend and everything that went on and before long it was time to walk up to find Diane at the hospital - no problems there - she was out very quickly and with the test results - all is OK - so only left to have something to eat and then head home - Diane had been fasting all day and by now it was after 4pm - the poor girl was in danger of wasting away to a shadow.

After what was a reasonably long day of travelling down and then back we made it home a little before 6pm - certainly glad to have made it and just a little bit tired.

Saturday was moving day and we had Hemel Hempstead in sight for mooring for tonight, but firstly we needed water and then later we needed to empty the cassettes.
Just possible to see the totem pole (in the background) - 
which was carved by members of the Kwakiutl tribe
in recognition of the years that trade took place
between this area and Canada.

More from Watford - well at least the icon 

We did manage to share a few locks with one boat before we caught up with another single boat - as they were originally ahead of us we waved goodbye as they teamed up with the other boat.

It wasn't long before we were joined by another single boat - this time a hire boat with parents and three young children out for a week - Linda and David were the parents and there was Abigail (8) and twins Isobel and Joshua (both 6).

I mention all of this because both Linda and David shared boat and lock duties; all of the kids were so well behaved and very careful about everything and well mannered.

Linda and David had an excellent understanding of a lot of things about the canals and were excellent examples of how any boater(s) should be on the waterways.

I am pretty certain that I have said it before, a great many people who hire boats do so because they enjoy the waterways as much as others who own their own boats and the skill levels are in many cases much better that the pompous old farts who go out once every other year and think they own the canals - Well done to you all!

As I was saying there are people who own their own boats and really have no idea of the ettiquette that is part and parcel of cruising.

We were coming up to Lock 62 and I was walking the towpath to prepare the lock; being no more than 40 metres away I could see that the lock was full - this I thought would be the case as the boat that had exited had not long passed us.

Anyway, two women had come up with windlasses and disregarded the approaching boats - clearly in sight - and turned the lock - I yelled to them that the lock was full - one dropped the paddles, the other completely ignored me and faced away.

As I got to the lock it had dropped and would drop further before they could/would change it so rather than get hot under the collar I walked away.

In cases such as these we will refuse to offer any assistance; Diane later going up as they were almost ready to leave the lock and advise them about conserving water/turning locks/ co-operating with all users - they didn't have a clue - one even saying lying that the lock wasn't full.

I overheard the conversation on the boat with the steerer which basically went along the lines of "it was our lock, we were there first" - Give me strength.

As is now my custom - if you come across a 35-40' bluish boat called "Buster" (painted on the bow only), then it maybe the same people - be prepared for them having no manners and only caring about themselves - there, named and shamed.

We moored up after Lock 63 having farewelled Linda and David and then needed to post a letter; across the other side from the next lock was not one but two games of cricket in progress - we had often wanted to see a village cricket match - this was about the nearest we have come across, so we wandered across and had a bit of a look; then wandered up to the main shopping area and did all of the things that we wanted to do and came back, sat down and enjoyed the one game that was still going - I was happy to oblige with the commentary for Diane in the style of many a fine commentator - she of course knows just as much about it and simply smiled and nodded at me.

Still it was a nice way to end the day.

5 Miles,  11 Locks, 1 Swing Bridges
YTD: 784 Miles (1262 km) , 470 Locks, 14 Tunnels, 11 Lift Bridges, 16 Swing Bridges
Total: 3678 Miles (5919 km) , 2591 Locks, 112 Tunnels, 45 Lift Bridges, 167 Swing Bridges


  1. Hi Diane and Ray, We had the opposite experience to yours with Buster the other day - on the way into Leicester we were travelling as a pair with John and Vanessa on Swift and Low; they were ahead of us because David had to faff around with the bike's brakes. They approached a lock and the woman who had started to turn it, turned it back again for John and Vanessa. She and Vanessa were just starting to empty it when we arrived, so they stopped and re-filled the couple of inches lost and let us in. Now I call that good neighbourliness on the cut! Only thing is, I didn't get their boat name, But we did thank them profusely. Cheers, Marilyn

  2. Hi Ray,
    Sorry if I came rather close to you this morning. We (Cleddau and Tentatrice) had come up in Lock 63 this morning. Ken jumped back on board and reclaimed the tiller (and unknown and unannounced transferred power to his preferred throttle on the right as opposed to the one on the left that I had been using). He then went below to seek painkillers for a troublesome ankle and left me to it - and it took a moment or two to realise why I wasn't getting the power or direction I wanted, hence the near close encounter...
    Sue /Boatwif /nb Cleddau (Winkwell)