Friday, 9 June 2017

A fool and his ways or Locking like a Twat

Tuesday 30th May 2017

It was time to move along, we had spent 4 days here and got through a few things that we had wanted to get done on the boat – the roof and other side had been washed; Diane had polished that same side after it had been cleaned; the ladder had finally been made – albeit a day after it could have been properly tried out.

The itinerary now demanded that we get going, but it would not be very far at all, and it was not such an early start for us – after 9 am in fact, but it would only be a few miles that we would eventually travel before we were moored up again.

Our next few days would be down in London – Mitch and Sara were coming to the capital after attending a friend’s wedding in France and we had arranged to spend the time with them – it would be our only chance to see them this year.

Originally we had wanted to catch up with them in Paris, but there happens to be some sort of tennis tournament going on there, which helped to make any sort of accommodation both short in supply and consequently high in cost – not that anyone could ever describe London prices as anything but disproportionately above the odds.

So we untied the ropes and pushed off from our temporary residence and managed a half mile before pulling in for the services – 2 cassettes to empty – 10 minutes – and we were off again – 1 lock, 4 miles – and then a mooring, with power. All previously booked and once we were settled in and able to enjoy a bit of power we sort of just relaxed – for a boater this is the idea of luxury – being on power and able to do some of the things that you do not normally get to do, not that we would ever suggest that what we normally do is anything other than great.
But here we were; Diane had her feet up, TV on, tennis being absorbed, I was finishing off my work before a few days off – and the sun was shining brightly.



The only strange thing that we had encountered today, was getting through the one and only lock that we needed to complete.

Earlier as we were about to set off we were passed by a narrowboat in a bit of a hurry – so much that he neglected to take any notice that we were holding the mooring ropes in our hands – obviously we were intending to move – he didn’t slow down, so he got no acknowledgement from me.
Anyway, as we approached the lock, which had been 4 miles from our setting off point, here he was in the lock mouth, gates closed, and from our point of view, the lock was still full – the water leaking from high on up was a dead give away – to us, it was a foolish place to sit- these are huge locks and therefore have to release a huge quantity of water.
As we approached the lock, we could see the boat in the lock mouth and
assumed that maybe the lock was almost ready.
Note the river coming through on the right hand side

...but we could see the water coming out through the leaking gate that the
lock was far from empty - despite being asked to join him in the lock mouth,
we made our way to the bollards on the left

He was beckoning for us to pull along side of him – no chance of that happening – we moored up on the lock bollards and Diane went to find out what was happening – we could not see any sign of the water about to be released; there were CaRT people there.
As Diane got near to the lock, he suggested again that we join them in the lock mouth, but she simply advise him that it was actually safer to be back on the lock moorings where we were and we would wait for the lock gates to open.

As it happened, there was a problem with one of the bottom paddles and CaRT were on the job looking at that; as there were now two boats waiting to go up, they would operate the lock for us and see what the process would reveal on the other paddle mechanism.
Whilst we sat peacefully on a firmly moored boat on the moorings for the lock, we watched with some amusement at the other boat, still in the lock mouth, being buffeted quite a bit by the release of the lock water, through just the one gate paddle (dread to think how “violent” the action might have been with both paddles operating) – the skipper was having to use thrust and reverse to keep the boat in postion; we were still sitting undisturbed watching it all.
As the paddles were opened, he was fiddling around with
the forward and backward propulsion, and...

...at times struggling to keep it there - meanwhile we were
quite relaxed, being carefully tied up waiting for the
lock to be ready

Ultimately the gates opened and they went into the lock on the left hand side – settling for a middle section of the left hand side of the lock – perhaps not quite enough room to allow us to effectively come in behind them – certainly not to attach front and back lines to the sliders, so we opted for the right hand side and did just that – Diane at the front attached her line, I moved Ferndale back to a convenient slider for the back rope and acknowledged to the lockie-on-duty that we were ready.
Our “friend”on the other boat thought that he would only attach a rear line but to the lock ladder; the lady on the boat sat dutifully alongside him, neither of them thinking that a front line might be wise. Diane did say to them about a front line – there was a polite indication that they would stay with just the one line.
The top gate paddles were opened and water started to fill the chamber – slowly at first and then a bit more quickly – we held the ropes firmly but with relative ease – the chap on the other boat needed to re-position his back rope on higher rungs as the boat rose; re also needed to use the engine controls to properly steady the boat against the turbulence of the water; his companion still sitting on the rear deck – neither of them with the ability to think about a front rope.

We looked at each other knowing what was about to happen to the other boat and sure enough it did.

Slowly but surely, the bow edged its way out from the wall of the lock and across to the other side – fortunately our position was far enough back from theirs so as to avoid any impact of the their boat onto Ferndale.
Both people on the other boat looked straight ahead as if nothing had happened; no eye contact; no suggestion of asking was there any contact or damage to our boat; it was only when the lock was practically full and Diane asked would they like a push off for their boat, that there was any response with a “thanks, yes please”.
Foolish, foolish people; and when we read about people getting into difficulty we often wonder how it could happen.

We wondered why the lockie didn’t advise them but afterwards we surmised that the guy operating the lock was the technician to sort out the lock mechanism; we perhaps should have more strongly suggested about the potential problems, but having suggested what was better and practising what we were saying, he might have got the hint – he was just an obstinate man who thought he knew best – we would say just a foolish man who hopefully might contemplate and quietly change his way for the next lock.


4 Miles, 1 Lock
YTD:  536 miles (863 km), 241 Locks, 15 Tunnels, 9 Lift Bridges, 19 Swing Bridges

Total: 5168 Miles (8317 km), 3392 Locks, 139 Tunnels, 75 Lift Bridges, 191 Swing Bridges

4 comments:

  1. There's plenty of Twats around especially at this time if the year .Stay safe and try to keep your distance from them .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gary
      some of them, like this guy are easy to spot; I still cannot believe how stupid he actually was

      ray

      Delete
  2. Big locks = big water = bigger than usual care: correct?
    Mxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely Marilyn, anything to do with boats and with locks needs to be done with safety in mind; it is too easy under normal circumstances to find yourself in trouble without ignoring the obvious

      ray

      Delete