Boat Improvements. 19th May

Toovey’s Mill Arm to Cassiobury Park

The rain didn’t seem too bad this morning so we prepared ourselves with full waterproofs, well those that used to be waterproof. Every lock ahead was set against us, we were following someone.

P1030694smWe worked our way down the couple of locks before going under the M25. Here a couple of cruisers caught our eye. One had had a wooden top (much like an arc) built around it’s existing fibreglass top, whilst the other had built a wheel house spanning it’s two cabins. They made us smile as both boats were aspiring to be just that bit different.

P1030703smP1030705smThe M25 looked like it was being held up with tonnes of scaffolding. I seem to remember some scaffolding the last time we came this way, but today we hoped we’d get under before anything collapsed! Once through we could see that none of it was structural, but still there must be something major going on for it to be there. A short distance on and we arrived at North Grove Lock. What a peaceful lovely place it must have been pre 1975.

P1030710smP1030716smHeather from NB Bleasdale had said what a lovely place Hunton Bridge was to moor. Certainly other people thought so today as it was quite busy. We’d just been wondering where we’d see the boat with the car, when there it was. It seems to have added a motorbike to the bow now. It was far too early to stop, maybe we’ll have a look round on our way back. Shortly after the two locks the railway stopped following us as it goes into a tunnel and heads off further east.

P1030733smI was just starting to set Lady Capel’s Lock when Mick shouted that there was a boat coming. I had looked ahead but the canal takes some sharp turns and Mick could see a boat around the bend just as I was lifting a paddle. So I emptied the little I’d put in and we both helped the chap up. He confirmed that we were following about six boats who were all heading to Rickmansworth for the festival this weekend. Last time we came through here we were sharing with what appeared to be a single hander, until his girl friend surfaced from inside just as we’d finished working the lock and he moored up. Today as the boat came into the lock there was a surprised gasp from an oriental lady inside who then disappeared from view very quickly, maybe I should try hiding at this lock!

P1030737smP1030751smWe wound our way round under the roving bridge, past the golf course where President Obama played golf with David Cameron last year. There were a lot of golf buggies out today and the hole flags weren’t the normal sort. Round the next bend at Grove Mill there was space to moor. It is a lovely looking place and normally full, but sadly today it would have given me a very long walk to collect my deliveries so on we continued and down the two Cassiobury Park Locks.

P1030770smWe managed to moor up, in a sort of fashion before Iron Bridge Lock. The pound was down today which made it hard to get the stern in, but this was where we needed to be and is a perfect place for Tilly. Since last year a large gap in the woodland has been created, a fire gap maybe, which makes our mooring much lighter.

P1030771smP1030772smOnce I headed off across the park to the Post Office Tilly was allowed shore leave and she headed straight for the trees not to be seen for hours. This place is amazing! One trip out I went that way. Came back for a drink, bath and to tell them all about it before going back out and going that way instead. So many trees! I really didn’t know which ones to climb.

IMAG3461smMy parcels had arrived and once I was back at Oleanna some secret wrapping took place, before some secret baking.

DSCF7114sm8 locks, 3.91 miles, 2 sets of waterproofs to stop the rain, 5 showers, 1 stowaway oriental lady, 1 rambling honeysuckle, 1 jaunty mooring, 1 sunny warm afternoon walk, 1 pair of padded waterproof trousers 2 warm, 2 parcels, 1 White House in Watford, 1 paddling lapping dog, 4 presents wrapped, 7283 trees, 1 secret cake baked, 1 deer.

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