A Wallace of Volunteers. 18th May

Fishery Lock to Toovey’s Mill Arm
IMAG3438smWhen we woke this morning the rain was long gone and the forecast was good and dry. Our waterproofs could carry on drying.
P1030667smWe pootled along and worked our way down through the locks in Hemel Hempstead, such a green place it was today. Although B&Q was very close to the canal where we could get ourselves a scaff plank we decided to carry on as we were hoping to reach Cassiobury Park before mooring up for the day. I hopefully will have a couple of very important things to collect from the Post Office by the park and it would be good to be there before Saturday (if they arrive in time!).
P1030668smI had been toying with pausing to buy Tilly a new collar at the pet shop by Apsley Top Lock. Sadly our second mate quite frequently pulls her collar off and then sneaks around without us knowing where she is. One can’t have a proper bath when one is wearing a collar, can one! So I was hoping to get her one without a safety catch, a section of elastic instead, these are needed should her collar get caught on something like a tree branch, then the collar will come off. But even though the shop was close I decided to leave it for the way back from London.
P1030672smP1030673smAs we approached Apsley Lock there was a sea of hi-vis vests and one blue C&RT t shirt. Eleven Volunteers were pausing for a lunch break, all their food was balanced on the lock beam. One chap gathered them all around as I walked up to set the lock, I couldn’t hear that much of what was being said, but it did sound like the patter you get when they are asking you for money. Mick brought Oleanna into the lock and the beam with all the sandwiches and doughnuts started to swing, luckily it was caught before everything fell off into the lock. It turned out that it was a corporate volunteer day and they were busy clearing away the undergrowth surrounding the lock, weeding and planting a few flowers to smarten the place up.
Why a Wallace of Volunteers? I put ‘collection of volunteers’ into Google and the first thing it came up with was about the Wallace collection.
IMAG3445smThe Sainsburys moorings were free so we pulled up onto the blue bollards and headed off to restock the fruit bowl and wine cellar. A new DIY store is nearing completion beside Wren Kitchens. Bunnings Warehouse looks like it is going to be a new chain of stores, they already exist in St Albans. They say they will beat anyone on price or give you 10% back. We’ll have a look on our way back.
P1030675smA boat was coming down the lock behind us as we pushed off, so when we reached the next lock I walked back to see if they were still following us, they were and it was NB Book and Spud. We shared the next three locks as the weather report was proved wrong, it started to rain! By the time we were down Red Lion Lock it was raining hard so we pootled on past the rail line and pulled in where we had moored on Lillian on our last trip to London April last year. This was where Tilly had her first explore off the boat with me nervously watching and trying to encourage her to stay close. Today the back door was opened and she dashed into the cover from the trees, we had our rain loving cat back. I couldn’t stand a third day without shore leave! An hour or so later there was a meow and a thud at the back doors, we don’t stand like worried parents on the towpath anymore!
P1030676smBridget, sorry your comment didn’t seem to work. But thank you for the lead on smaller fitted sheets from John Lewis, I’ll have a look on line.
Denise and Colin hope you enjoy Bletchley, watch out for the low flying Spitfires and happy anniversary for tomorrow, hope it stays dry for you.
DSCF7114sm6 locks, 2.99 miles, 11 volunteers, 3, yes only 3 boxes of wine, 1 unopened DIY store = 0 plank, 3 locks shared, 0 fishing kingfishers, 4 water proofs, 1 wet Tilly, £50 down, 4 fingers crossed, 1 nesting swan, 1 lacerated ear.

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