Friday, 9 June 2017

Feeling like a novice even after 27 years of boating!


On Wednesday it was a much drier day and we set off towards the Hatton Flight. Mick/Julia and John were going up the locks breasted up, and David and I were solo. 

Well, it is a very long time since I felt so incompetent in charge of the boat. I could not get the hang of the method John was teaching us for making sure Waka Huia stayed on the side of the lock I was entering and exiting from. It took several locks to get it right, and then we got to the lock where the volunteer lock keepers were and the wind came up and it all turned to custard and the method changed - AAARRRGGGHHH!!! It is ages since I have consistently banged into lock gates, but the wind, my stress levels and the gates all conspired and for at least 3 of the locks I hit the offside gate going in. That really p*sses me off as I hate the damage that gets done to rammed gates. And I hate it when I'm the one possibly inflicting it!

About 5 or 6 locks done and we meet the volockies before the main flight starts. I am still, at this point, using the rope around bollard trick to keep close to the side. That changed after this lock - in the main because I couldn't get close enough (ie hit the other gate) for David to take the rope off the roof below the lock. The method the volockies told David does work on the Hatton Flight - I wonder if it does so in other locks ... We shall see!

By the time we got to the top, things had settled down (ie my stress levels had reduced, I had started feeling competent again, and David stopped looking like a husband in hiding ...)
Looking back to Shrewley Tunnel - after the winding hole above the Hatton Flight is all new territory for us (D&M). This tunnel was the wettest I've been through in ages and most unusual in that it had limestone/calcium growths - like Waitomo Caves must have been centuries ago! If we come back in 10 years, I wouldn't be surprised to see stalactites hanging from the roof!

The wildflowers are lovely, and the irises on the side of the cut are beautiful.

For Rob - this is the hawthorn now the blossom has dropped.

The moorings at the top of the flight are dark and dismal and under trees, so we had decided to keep going to Rowington. Lovely sunny moorings and a trip to the Tom o' Woods pub. The consensus of the Poms present was that the drinks were too expensive, but it was my round, and I didn't mind. The chardonnay was pretty good and they had a zinfandel for David, so the NZ contingent was happy.
The drinks may have been expensive, but the insect life was free - Irene, what is it please? It looked to me like it was a Hurricanes supporter getting in early for the game against the Lions...

John is bleeding profusely from a self inflicted wound when he pulled off a quick, David is doing his Admiral Nelson impersonation with his new monocular.
Rowington is a lovely place but the motorway (M40) and the rail are too close - it was noisy all night - well, I assume all night, as I slept through most of it but whenever I woke the noise was ever present.

We left yesterday at sparrow’s f*rt to beat the rain which was scheduled to arrive at about 10am according to 2 weather apps – what did we ever do without apps on phones? I know, we listened to the forecast on the radio and we looked at the sky!

We are on the Stratford Canal now – if you were deaf or wearing noise cancelling headphones, it would be a totally lovely rural experience. However the first few miles and locks are marred by the rail and the M40 whining and/or roaring close by. 

However when I started typing this we were at Lock 29 and the noise had receded. We were approaching Lowsonford and the naval strategy meeting in one lock’s time to discuss the next steps.

David wanted to watch James Comey’s testimony yesterday arvo, so the most important aspects of the mooring spot were internet access and TV signal.

The rain arrived on schedule after we had decided we would carry on regardless. As David was the main one who had said that, I was merciless and would not pull over to wait it out until it stopped. After all, David was busy and active and stayed quite warm, I was the one standing still on the counter getting wetter and colder by the minute - and I had my Kathmandhu merino top on, plus a T-shirt, a camisole, and a fleecy, under my Kathmandhu rain jacket. But did I complain? Did I heck - every chance I got ... 

Nah, if I had done that, David would have insisted we stop, and I didn't want to warm up just to get cold again.

The rain cleared and, just in time, we moored up at Wootton Waven. I cooked for our election night party (see previous post), David watched James Comey's testimony - how come that idiot Trump now tweets he is totally vindicated? Where is his brain/sensibility/conscience/morality/intelligence/head? Oh, I forgot, I know the answer to all of those questions - they are all up his a*se ...

Anyway, forget him. Dinner (see previous post) was yummy. Mick, Julia and John were going to go to the Navigation Inn across the cut before dinner, but it was closed until 6pm, so our dinette became the bar. And it was BYO too - much cheaper!

Today we have made our way to Wilmcote - lovely sunny moorings, convenient for the village, a couple of pubs and the station.
  • Mick and Julia are leaving here earlier than sparrow's f*rt tomorrow (Big Neil would say it'll be the middle of the night) to get down to Stratford (17 locks away) and do laundry and check out the moorings, 
  • John's girlfriend is arriving tonight and they are going to Stratford tomorrow, 
  • our friend Dana arrives tomorrow by train and we will stay overnight and go to Stratford on Sunday - same 17 locks just a day later. Dana is young, so we need to put her to work, eh?

It's a fasting day for David and me today; 
  • it is now 6.10pm, 
  • dinner is ready and 
  • David is off chatting to Julia working out how calorific my muesli is - 
    • he has taken a helping of the muesli, the scales and his sense of self righteousness. 
I do wish he'd come back so we can eat the salad (all off the rooftop allotment) the crudites (cucumber, capsicum, carrot) and hummus. I am HUNGRY!!!

5 comments:

Lisa said...

Dear Marilyn,
I think you have done brilliantly with the boat in the Hatton Flight. You have faced it, found a problem and solved it.
We went down the Stratford too and my David says it all depends on the wind direction for noise, I have just read all this out loud for him while he toasts almonds for HIS muesli recipe! We didn't hear anything going down the canal, just me screaming silently as I drove for the first time properly on my own!!
I've never made bread but now tempted. Good luck with the pigeon box.....
Stratford was fabulous

Lisa

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Lisa, Your David is probably right re the wind, but the noise came from both sides - in Rowington and then as we started off down the Stratford. But by Lock 29 it was gone - yay!!
Boy, those bridge holes are narrow though! Approach at tickover please ...
The bread is easy - I'll send you a link for the ciabatta and the recipe of my own wholemeal bread. Both easy, both yummy.
Mxx

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hello Marylin, The bug is the larva stage of a Ladybird

http://www.ladybird-survey.org/downloads/ladybird_larvae.pdf

We have a tried and tested method of keeping the boat on the side without roping in a broad lock. Always open the ground paddle on the side of the lock the boat is up against. We then climb over the gate and half open the ground paddle on the otherside. Then we open the gate paddle on that side half way. Wait until the water level is over the sluice gate and wind it full up. Then we climb back over the gate to boat side again and open that gate paddle. It's a lot of toing and froing but most times it works a treat. Hope this helps. xxxx

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Crikey mate you are hard on yourself. Having steered NBV on the Hatton flight with Les and a v. lockie in September/October of 2015 without wind, it was fine; with the bleeding wind we've been having I wouldn't have chanced it. So I think you were brave to do it and thank goodness it is now done with.

I am looking forward to your posts on SUA. We went up the the Lapworth flight rather than down into Shakespeare's country, so I have that to anticipate some day in the future.

I see Irene gave you an identification of the Ladybug larvae. they lay their eggs underneath certain plant leaves and the larvae look nothing like their VW Bug looking bright red with black spotted parents!

Love and hugs to you both,

Jaq xxx

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Jaq, I have done the locks at least four times before. And this time was by far the least competently handled ...
I'm over it now though, but have marked my report card as 'Must improve'.
Mxx