Cassiobury Park to Black Jacks Lock, 85
As nice as this mooring is for both Tilly and us it was time to start moving again. Just as we were about to start rolling back the covers NB Augustus with Alan and Sue on board came past. They had to reset the lock which gave us enough time to catch up with them to descend together.
Our sharing was short lived as they only planned to cruise into the next pound after filling with water. We also needed water and planned on going further today so carried on down the next lock and under our first underground bridge alone.
This being our fourth trip into London the more eccentric boats are familiar to us. One was moored just above Common Moor Lock. The bath tub at the stern has more than just a mannequin in it now, the roof top paraphernalia seems to have changed a touch too.
A boat was following us with two chaps on board, I opened the second gate for them to join us. Just as we were about to wind the bottom gate paddles up the chap from their stern disappeared below. The other chap was a bit surprised that I wasn’t doing anything, until I pointed out that his mate had vanished below. I wasn’t going to wind a paddle with nobody at the helm. After he’d sorted the kettle he bobbed back up and the paddles were wound up.
Lot Mead Lock needed topping up and I took great care with the ground paddles. This is where I found out why you should never try to stop a windlass from spinning should you loose grip. Some of these paddles just want to go down and take quite a bit of effort to lower them steadily, this one had got the better of me and necessitated a cab ride for an xray on my forearm a few years ago. Luckily my radius had enough give in it to just flex with the impact and not break.
The chaps stopped for lunch and left us to carry on to Batchworth. Here the lock cottage, if it can be classed as one, is up for sale with planning permission for a large extension. Across the way on the River Chess new buildings are going up and if you are like us eager to see the model canal in action you have missed your chance. It has gone, replaced by an education building with kids eager to go on the boat through the lock.
We stopped and filled with water whilst a Continuous Cruiser told us about his range of miles on the Grand Union and he did his best to put us off going into London. Unless things have changed drastically over the last two years we know what we are heading into, we’re under no illusions about London. Anyhow this morning luck had been on our side and we’ve managed to get a mooring.
On next to Tescos. Yes we got lots of shopping the other day, but fresh perishables were needed. Also without the freezer at the moment we need to shop more often.
In the afternoon we decided to take our time a bit more, no rush to get into London now. We worked our way down the next few locks.
Passing the hanging monkey. Just how much longer can he cling on for? He’s been there for five years at least!
At Copper Mill Lock I had to close the bottom paddles properly, they’d been left up by a few inches, hard to spot at a quick glance. Then on past the rapids and found ourselves a spot just before Black Jacks Lock.
What at first look is an idyllic mooring, is one of the noisiest! Parakeets swooping and squawking, kids playing and screaming at each other, dogs barking and cyclists zooming past. We’d remembered the towpath as being wider here, but sadly it’s not, so the barbeque will have to wait for another night.
This evening we started to plan the next few months. We’ll be needing transit licenses, will a week be long enough on the Basingstoke? How long on the Wey? Where do we need to be for easy access to Chippy in three weeks time for my final panto model meeting? There’s lots of new water planned, places to see and explore.
I’ve just received a review for the pair of socks I sent off the other day.
“They say a picture can tell a thousand words but in this case no picture or words could say just how much it meant to me that Pip would take on my difficult request, to spend more time than money could buy, and on carefully crafting these very special socks for me. What a generous and beautiful woman you are Pip! And how I will cherish these darling socks you’ve made for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart 🙂 x” I think she is happy with them!
8 locks, 6.52 miles, 2 lock buddies, 1 handy tip, 1 more reason to go into London, 1 full water tank, 16 life jacketed kids, 1 Tesco mooring, 8 cool hooves, 1 monkey, 1 annoyingly busy towpath, 2 many squawking green birdies, bet they are all squawk and feather! 1 cardigan arm almost completed, 1 very happy customer.