A Call For Help. 3rd April

From where we were to Keadby Visitor Moorings

This was late afternoon!

Mick got into the bios of the lap top, set various things in motion which were going to take just about all day. We left it to do it’s thing. Thankfully Tilly seemed to be more her normal self and full rations were reinstated.


A Sunday morning cooked breakfast was enjoyed before we got going. Time to do the remaining swing bridges.

Sunnier day

Godnow Swing Bridge is interconnected with the railway level crossing, a little building sits between the canal and railway to house the level crossing keeper. There used to be a huge control panel to work the bridge, but this has now been replaced with one of the slim C&RT two button panels.

Once the key is turned the crossing keeper has to close the rail gates to road traffic before you can close the bridge to road traffic. The old manual barriers have been replaced with the drop down kind. A lot better than it used to be as it had it’s moments. We managed to hold one car up.

Power everywhere

Onwards gradually the sky being filled with more and more power generating. The gas power station and wind turbines making the most of the flat landscape.

Vazon Swing Bridge with the slider behind

Vazon Swing Bridge is the most simple to operate on the Stainforth and Keadby, turn the key, lift the latch and push. Once closed we then had a wait before we could proceed further.

Choo choo

We’d actually timed our arrival pretty well. A goods train coming over the Vazon Sliding Bridge in front of us almost immediately. Then the bridge keeper put the bridge into operation for us. Sirens, flashing lights go on for what feels like forever. Then the whole bridge starts to slide back diagonally across the cut to open our route. No dawdling to be done here, I’m sure there was a big gap between trains, otherwise we’d not have been allowed through, but you still feel the pressure and scoot through.

The Keadby Lockie was chatting to a chap on a cruiser when we pulled up, he was most probably called Mark. The flood in the morning would be at 7:10 and Kirsty would be on duty to pen us down. We would be joined by another boat later today who would be joining us for the trip, we could be Trent buddies.

The big crane boat waiting to head to Thorne on Monday

We filled with water and started to make ready for our tidal journey. The well deck was cleared and washed down, the chain bucket brought out from a locker. One end attached to the anchor the other to the T stud on the bow. Mick checked the weed hatch and gave the engine a check through too. Only Tilly’s escape pod to put together in the morning.

Tomorrow the plan had been to make use of the big Spring Tide and make it all the way to Cromwell Lock. A long day at the tiller. But looking at Windy the wind was set to get quite high in the early afternoon the further south we got. Maybe we’d split the journey at Torksey and continue on Tuesday. A phone call had been made to the Cromwell Lock Keeper to book us in for Tuesday, but asking if we made it there on Monday could we pen up then instead. This was fine so long as we arrived before 4pm. All sorted.

A shower full, quite miss the Christmas tree being in there

Then things changed, with just one phone call. Our friend David, whom we escaped Goole with last year has been having a hard time with his mental health. He’d reached out to us just before we moved back onto Oleanna and we’ve talked a couple of times since. He was in a really bad way, could we get to him today, he couldn’t be on his own anymore.

David was near Newark, the way we were heading, but 45 miles away. We certainly couldn’t get there by boat today and no trains were running. What to do? We talked and talked and in the end promised that we would fight against the wind tomorrow to get to Cromwell to be with him.

I then tried ringing an NHS Mental Health helpline, but without knowing who David’s doctor was this was hard. His phone would also soon have run out of battery with little chance of charging it up as his boat batteries were dead. The lady tried to help, suggesting getting him to A&E. I considered dialing 999 but that didn’t feel right. I conferred with Heather from NB Bleasdale who also knows of David’s situation, she also agreed that 999 was not the thing to do.

This has been written with David permission, he wants to try help raise awareness of his situation. For obvious reasons my blog posts may be a touch patchy for a little while.

0 locks, 2 swing bridges, 1 sliding bridge, 1 car held up, 0 trains held up, 5 hrs 35 mins, 1 shower full, 7am start, 1 call for help, 1 promise made that I hope we can keep.


2 thoughts on “A Call For Help. 3rd April

  1. joamungoanddog

    So sorry to hear that your friend is suffering right now. Really hope he can get the help he wants and needs .. you are good friends to have for sure.
    Best wishes to him

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