Locking Partners. 8th September

Photos have been added to yesterdays post now that the internet is playing.

Vicarage Bridge to Froxfield Bottom Lock 70

Steamy

A beautiful steamy morning, as soon as I opened up the hatch the local ducks flocked over for the bread I was so obviously going to give them! Mick did have a slice of toast he was willing to feed these poor starving birds, so they were lucky.

Quick they’ve opened their hatch!

First boat past, THE Red boat as we were having breakfast. Strange we didn’t feel the urge to rush to join them at the first lock!

NB Sanity were just pulling off as we were about to start rolling back the covers, Mick said we’d be ten minutes behind them.

Beautiful morning

The sun had burnt away the steam and blue skies surrounded us, what a lovely morning to be cruising. The bottom gates on Brunsden Lock were just closing as we approached, we’d most probably not been seen. I hopped off and went to help, Charles and Karen would wait at the next lock for us.

First lock partners

Just as I was about to close the bottom gates behind Oleanna there was a boat approaching, so we waited, the crew were walking ahead. A hire boat with experienced crew who kindly offered to close up the lock and let us catch up.

NB Sanity was on the lock landing, the bottom gates were open, but nobody was to be seen. Charles and Karen had vanished! In fact they were above the lock trying to sort out a C&RT workboat that had come adrift blocking the canal. The front pin was still in but the stern was possibly hanging onto the end of the blue rope in the water. We know one boat had already been through this morning, had they just pushed past, had they reported it, or had they caused it?!

Oo, that’s going to be in the way

With a boat hook and mallet we managed to pull it back in, the spike was on the end of the rope and was well and truly bashed back into the ground. Charles reported it to C&RT, a van turned up as we were disappearing out of view.

Second Locking partner of the day

Another lock shared with NB Sanity and we both pulled in at Hungerford. A handy lowish hard edge was noted at the two day moorings, a possible good spot to do gunnels, the one day moorings opposite very over grown. We’d decided that as it was such a lovely day a barbecue was in order this evening, not a roast, so supplies were needed.

Hungerford

What a pretty place Hungerford is. I’ve been once twenty years ago to visit a company who imported fake plants. This was for the premiere production of House and Garden at the SJT. I seem to remember driving there and back in a day from Scarborough on my own in a hire car. No time to look around then.

Supplies were stowed and we were on our way again, leaving Charles and Karen behind. Up Hungerford lock, noting the hard low edge above the lock, another possible for gunnels. A swing bridge and then we were back out into the countryside. Hills and plenty of greenery made for a good view.

Hungerford Marsh Lock with swing bridge across the middle

Half a mile on was Hungerford Marsh Lock. Over the lock is a swing bridge, it’s high enough to get your boat in when coming uphill, but before starting to fill the lock it needs swinging out of the way. Once up and out the bridge was swung back into position and a paddle lifted to empty it. I could see a day boat following us in the distance, so left the lock how it should be, hoping they would follow suit.

Swung out of the way

Cobblers Lock, what a good name. Washing hung to dry on the fence outside the cottage which looks like it’s had a few problems staying vertical in the past.

Cobblers

Then on to Picketsfield Lock where there was a cruiser going up. The lady asked if she could share the next lock with us, trusting that we wouldn’t squash her new (to her) home. A hire boat came down telling tales of empty pounds nearer the summit yesterday, by the time we were ready to go up the lock we’d been joined by the hire boat again. It was the second time today that I told them another boat was waiting for us at the next lock.

Third and final locking partner of the day

Sure enough the lady was there hanging onto her cruiser and dog, Mick carefully slide Oleanna in next to her, we roped up and let the water in. The next pound though short was our chosen mooring for the day, there was enough space for us, phew! We pulled in and tucked up to a narrowboat leaving space should another boat arrive.

Freedom

This mooring meant I could get at the port side grab rail. A bubble of rust had appeared below the centre line cleat that needed dealing with before it encroached into the cabin side blue and a couple of other rusty spots have been pointed out to me by my good fellow. Scraper, sandpaper and Fertan at the ready  I worked my way along. Not three patches, but eight needed attention.

Stop it before it gets to the blue!

Loose paint was scraped away, each spot sanded back. Should I do the whole grabrail? Would I have enough paint? I doubted it. So I decided to mask off areas  around each spot, rub back the paint and then applied some Fertan. For now I’ll touch the spots up, some paint can be ordered to match what I was given at Finesse in February and then next spring I’ll repaint all the grab rails.

More rusty patches to sort

Several large spots of rust had also appeared on the stern deck, so these were prepared ready for Fertan after our barbecue. Mick had to pull himself away from the cricket to get the coals lit and when Tilly returned just as we were about to start cooking she was bundled inside, none of that staying out till midnight today!

TRAINS!

Our mooring was quiet, our neighbour had been off on his bike and returned as the bats started to swoop. Now when I say quiet I mean next to no footfall and between the GWR trains hurtling past only 80 foot away it was very peaceful. The Fertan was applied with the aid of a torch.

8 locks, 5.43 miles, 2 swing bridges, 3 lock partners, 1 chicken already out of date, 4 cobblets, 2 pork steaks, 4 veg kebabs, 0 internet, 0 phone, 4 hours shore leave, 1 curfew rigidly stuck to, 2 many patches of rust, 1 small urn retained by the Aussies.

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