Green Park to Sydney Wharf Bridge 188
Oleanna was rocking around a touch this morning due to loosened ropes, but the river looked like it had behaved itself overnight. A damp start to the morning, so we had tea in bed and hoped it would brighten up before we got to the locks. We didn’t want to be too early anyway hopping that we’d get some assistance from volunteers on our way up.
At 10:15 we pushed off and headed for the bottom of the flight. With walkie talkies in hand I walked up to the bottom lock. A breasted up pair were just about to enter the lock to come down, masses of crew.
It turned out to be the Bywater Hotel boat and butty, they were heading with their full compliment of guests to Bristol hoping to stop for the night on route. They may be lucky and time their arrival at Keynsham to grab the space on the pontoon that would be vacated by a hire boat today.
No need to radio to Mick there was plenty of time to signal to him what was happening. They were soon down and the lock was all ours and we’d timed it just right to have both volunteers lend us a hand. One chap stayed with us whilst the other walked up to Bath Deep Lock to open the gates and then head up to the next lock to let some water down so that we wouldn’t empty the pound in between.
A couple of bike riders came and asked lots of questions about how the locks worked etc. They then decided to follow us up to the Deep Lock.
The gates had been wound open enough for a narrowboat to enter, but no more. Each gate takes 120 turns to open it fully. I was grateful as I did the closing. From the instructions I’d been given the other day I knew using a rope wouldn’t be a good idea, but Mick had already passed the centre line round a riser. The Lockies joined us and explained how the lock would work, which I then conveyed to Mick via the radio. All well and good being told not to use a rope but then having a paddle lifted before you could get it back from the riser was a touch annoying. As Oleanna rose Mick flicked the rope upwards on the riser and then had to fight to get it loose at the top.
The effect of the paddles was as they had suggested. Using the paddle on the opposite side of the lock to your boat has the effect of holding it to the side, the water comes out from four points along the side of the chamber. Then as the level rises the stern starts to cross over, this is when the other paddle is lifted to compensate.
I was hoping to get some good photos but our friendly cyclists had come along to watch also, standing right in front of me! As nice as their cycle helmets were I’d rather have got a few photos of Oleanna.
The Lockies helped us up the rest of the flight. The off side paddle in the forth lock up however refused to shut. No matter what the Lockie did it wanted to stay up by a good foot. In the end we closed the gates and could see what the problem was. The rod that leads from the paddle gear to the actual paddle should run through a bracket which is fixed to the gate. This bracket is made up of two pieces shaped so that the rod passes in between them. The outer part of the bracket was lost and the rod had slipped behind the one still attached to the gate, here it was jamming.
Mick used a boat hook to nudge it over and it was free again, but still not in front of the bracket. It would work for us, but how long before it would jam again? The Lockie said he would pass it on to the local team. A quick stop off to dispose of rubbish in the next pound. It is so nice having a full compliment of recycling bins. Just a shame boaters still just leave bags for someone else to put in the right bin!
We’d chanced coming this far as we hoped there would be space for us before the next bridge. No spaces were immediately obvious, so we loitered on the lock landing hoping. Tilly peered out the windows willing someone to move! Right at the far end there was a space so we took it. The lure of the steps to the road meant Tilly was still locked inside, she stared some more.
Feline power eventually worked and the boat behind us moved off, we pulled back knowing that the trees alongside would be more appealing than the steps now. Freedom!!! At long last!!! Trees, smells, walls, friendly cover and ‘Thank you for coming home’ Dreamies again. All was right with the world. I even got a fresh pooh box too!
Time to dig out my scenic brushes. Check them over and see if I needed anything else before we left Bath. This meant lifting the rear steps off thier brackets to access the cupboard below the Alde boiler. The wine cellar hadn’t been restocked yesterday with this job in mind. Blimey there must have been a whole Tilly’s worth of fur down there along with three mice, 1 fish and a bedoingy ball (all cat toys).
The advantage of getting my brush bag out was being able to see the back of the boiler and check things over. Something was leaking a touch, water not gas, a damp patch around a hose going through a shelf. Mick was called in and he tightened things up hoping that this would do the job.
Steps back in position the cellar could be stocked with wine and cat food again. After hearing of two people falling from the back deck whilst their steps have been out this year it was nice to get them back in and safe. I made a list of things that would be handy to have when painting Panto and headed into town.
Parts of town were blocked off, a regency drama was being filmed. A chap sat at the front of a carriage looking at his mobile waiting for his queue to move, the horse patiently waiting too. Looking in from further round it looked like market stalls had been set up with a lot of fabric everywhere. It all looked a touch cheap to me, but maybe film cameras alter things, or maybe it’s just a cheap production.
I managed to time my shopping well, everything bought that I needed and the rather nice looking wool shop having closed before I got there.
6 locks, 2nd deepest, 1.23 miles, 2 volunteers, 1 river left, 1 clean pooh box, 1 clean pooh bucket, £1.53 card, 0 wool, 500 grams brown rice flour, 5 new brushes, 1 cheap compass, 1 film crew, 1 location lock down, 1 clean and tidy cellar, 1 happy cat.