Flying In. 24th July

Bishop Stortford to Sawbridgeworth Lock 5

We were up early again, a shopping list for provisions to get us back to London was made and Mick headed out after breakfast to Waitrose for a free newspaper. Rain had been forecast for today, Mick managed to avoid the worst of it, but still came back wet.

Says Snap to me

It’s been a few weeks since we have sat down and been a full part of the Geraghty zoom on a Saturday morning, so today we made sure we wouldn’t be moving. Todays topics, chicken pox, ankle biting sisters, it was lovely to see everyone again.

The winding hole that used to stretch to Sainsburys

Time to make our move, we pushed off backwards at around 11am, reversing to the winding hole and then pulled in at the services. With the water tank filling we emptied the yellow water tank, Tilly got a clean pooh box and we disposed of rubbish.

There was one other gap in the moorings this morning, NB Small World had pulled away, we’d be following them back down the locks. Back past all the warehousey apartments. I think one boat really could do with a new chimney before winter, at least his bathroom door was in place today! No gongoozlers to keep us company at the locks as we made our way out of Bishop Stortford.

Bridge 47 is exceptionally narrow, made from what should be called a ‘T’ beam, the top being a touch wider than the bottom.

Hold on tight!

Approaching Spellbrook Lock a Dad was paddle boarding with his son clinging on for dear life, we made sure we drifted past them the little lads knuckles already white!

A group were fishing from the lock landing, so we slowly came in, nowhere else to drop me off, they moved to let us pull up and chatted away. Someone has added cable ties to the pawls, quite a good solution to be able to lift them without getting very greasy fingers.

Flying in

Saturday is obviously a busy day at Stanstead Airport at the moment. Those heading back with Ryan Air from a week in the sun kept the sky full of planes coming in to land. Then once we were meandering our way towards Tednambury Lock they started to take off in our direction.

Weighted down

All the boats were still on the meadows. The one moored quite a long way out is tied to the bank but also has a couple of mud weights out to stop them moving too much.

Waiting at Tednambury Lock

At Tednambury Lock we caught up with NB Small World again, apparently the river had been quite busy this morning, most probably boats coming out from Hallingbury Marina close by. My friend Mike had been on a friends boat earlier in the year and sent me a photo of NB Dorcas pulled in on the lock landing above. Today I recreated the photo, except mine had grey skies not blue.

Mick pulled electric cables and weed off the prop as the lock filled and just managed to pull away off the landing before a wide beam arrived. However the prop soon got fouled again, our progress downstream slower than upstream, but we hoped there would be space for us above Sawbridgeworth Lock.

Thankfully there was plenty of room, a hand from a chap on the bank helped to pull Oleanna into the side as by now there was almost no steering due to weed on the prop, something to clear before we move onwards tomorrow.

Wonder how many litres of white paint that takes

A very late lunch whilst Tilly explored the area and some quinoa cooked for a salad later.

I headed out for a walk crossing the lock and walking down Mill Lane, aptly named as it starts on the lock island, the weir behind it used for power at what look to be couple of old mills. The buildings are now pristine white with white flowering hanging baskets, a stopped clock and a mechanism that must have powered machinery in one of the mills. Ransomes and Rapier were known for their railway and crane equipment, but in early days they made saw-milling machinery.

I walked past thatched cottages and through 1920’s estates many of the houses displaying sunbeams on their walls. At Sheering Mill bridge I thought I’d walk through the apartments to reach the Maltings, but big signs suggested I’d not be welcome and that I’d need a key fob to exit at the far end. So I turned round and walked along the river bank instead, I could look at the gated community from the other bank where NB Small World was nestled for the remainder of the day.

Nestled in amongst the nettles

I had a quick walk around the Maltings, numerous antique shops to look at tomorrow and what smelt like a very good Indian Take Away. I was tempted but we ate out yesterday and the quinoa would be cool enough to make into a salad back at the boat, it didn’t stop me looking at their menu though!

Glad of a clean window to look out of

Meanwhile in Scarborough and along the North Yorkshire Coast, Animated Objects Theatre Company are touring their ‘A Thousand Ships’ exhibition. This weekend they are in the Brunswick Centre in Scarborough, tables filled with the origami boats all made by people from the Yorkshire Coast. This is part of a much bigger project The Odyssey which is running over the next few years.

My design for ‘A Thousand Ships’

4 locks, 4.53 miles, 1 wind, 1st Saturday paper in a while, 1st full zoom for a while, 1 empty wee tank, 1 full water tank, 1 clean pooh box, 2 boaters staying dry, 25 planes, 1000 ships, 2 mills, 2 moustaches, 1 tall aerial, 1 maine coon, 1 Tilly stood down and brought inside, 1 fisty paws avoided.