Monday, July 21, 2014

Plan C day–then a lack of water stops play.

Monday 21st July

Plan A was to cast off after G had completed a telephone conference call scheduled for 09:30 (dratted work getting in the way of his day off).

Plan B was to cast off earlier, pass down through Town lock and moor in Victoria Park so that he could have his call and I could go shopping for necessities ; viz pies (from Griffins) and beer making supplies. I checked for Griffins opening hours last night only to find that they were not displayed, and I had a feint memory that they shut on Mondays. They do! Beer making supplies, at Wilko’s, all except the one thing G wanted.

So, plan C – find a good sale and buy some Xmas presents. That went well ;^)

Back to Jannock to find that the Plan A conference call had been postponed for 1 hour. and plan B was that G should be available at 10:30. He could not promise that as the locks come thick and fast out of Newbury and so both plans were dropped. The one delegate became stuck on a train that was not going anywhere and so he rang G and had a little conferette.

We loosed off and followed on behind yesterday’s sharers. Their plan A had been to loose off quickly and follow us down through Town lock hoping to catch us up and share again. They did not know about the Victoria park stop and so passed Jannock while G was on the phone.

So started a day of boating for me and cycling for G. All was well until Ham lock. G indicated that Jannock should enter on the left gate. I slowed down past the boats moored outside the marina, took the corner towards the lock to find myself being pushed broadside into the weir stream by a very strong current that was not visible on the surface. Still waters and all that. I failed to have enough momentum to overcome the sideways drag and ended up with the bows against the top gate and the stern well into the weir stream. Plan A has always been ‘never to try and enter a lock sideways’. Plan B was G on a rope but there was nowhere to go forward. The weir way backwards and turning impossible. Much jiggery pokery, the second top gate opened and plan C saw us safely in the lock. G had spotted that the safety ratchet on one of the top paddle mechanisms was broken so he phoned CaRT emergency number to report it. As Jannock left the lock and the weir stream joined the channel the amount of water passing through the weir was obvious.

At the next swing bridge there were a couple of fellas walking back to their vehicles and one had a CaRT lifejacket on. G decided to mention the Ham lock problem with the safety ratchet. He enquired whether either of them worked for CaRT. CaRT asked one of them, who’s that? G pointed out the logo on his lifejacket and said Canal and River Trust, you know CaRT. He finally admitted being employed by that organisation as an engineer and agreed to take a look at the Ham lock problem. All that money spent on rebranding etc. and obviously the employees do not know their own organisation as CaRT.

not enough water to continueWe eventually caught up with our ‘yesterday sharers’ at Monkey Marsh lock. Our original Plan A had been to travel to Aldermaston as that is where G had moved the car to but we decided that there were not enough hours left to get there and still make G’s blood donor appointment this evening. Plan B was then to stop at Thatcham instead and G would fetch the car back from Aldermaston. However the 14 day moorings below the lock at Thatcham were full with some of the same boats that had been there when we last passed on 7th June. Local intelligence was that we should get to Froud’s bridge marina above Aldermaston lock in less than 2.5 hours so we decided to press on reverting to Plan A again.

As I approached Brimpton lock, G radioed Getting the DiBlasi out through Jannock's front doorback that the lock was padlocked closed and the canal the other side of it was empty of water due to a weir collapse further downstream. CaRT were working on the problem but did not think the section would be re-opened until tomorrow. So we pegged in and joined the merry flotilla waiting above the lock for it to re-open. G used the Di Blasi to fetch the car from Aldermaston.

Brenda

Back to Newbury

Sunday 20th July

A busy but eventful day, but boy, was it hot. As we left the mooring at Froxfield a hand appeared from a porthole in Lee’s boat and he waved us off. He’ll be heading towards Bath during the school holidays. At least he’s still in education, and Pip the dog, which is more than can be said of Mr Gore after the cabinet re-shuffle.

There was a cruiser descending down through Oakhill down lock but they refused to share with us as they claimed they were too wide to do so, If they trusted us and removed the space hopper fenders then I’m sure they would fit. So we ploughed on slowly towards Hungerford with G. on the trusty who would even think to do this, or that it is acceptable.lock bike and me bringing Jannock behind. We were following another single boat but never managed to catch them up before they moored at Hungerford. Some-one has defaced this empty lock cottage, who would even think to do this, or that it is acceptable.

At Wire lock we met the horse drawn The horse takes up the slacktrip boat coming up so we held over and hovered on the offside so that we were not in their way, which would have been the case if we’d gone onto the lock landing. We had already met the other wide beam trip boat, full of Cubs or Scouts, coming up through Denford Mill lock earlier.

From there on all locks were shared with a sequence of partners all the way to Newbury. After Kintbury we decided to moor in the shade of an over hanging tree for an hour where we met an interesting passer by. He told us how a boater was recently arrested for Drunk-in-Charge  after causing damage to structures and other boats in the Kintbury area.

Graham closing the swingbridgeWe moored above Town lock in Newbury, under another shady tree. Two firsts : our first fly-past of the year, a bit late so we made it a good-un, the whole Red Arrows team, 10 plus 1. And then it was the first time this year that I have thought it would stay warm enough at night so we’ll need the double glazing removed and the windows opened.

Boaters Note – Newbury High Street now has a Morrison’s Lite that is open until 11pm every day. Don’t forget to visit Griffins, on the town bridge, for pies, ham, faggots and so forth. Recommended by us for years.

Brenda

Monday, July 14, 2014

July ‘oliday Day #8

Saturday 12th July

I was up and out on a car shuffle at 06:30. A weird sensation – riding a motorcycle through WARM mist/fog. Usually it’s cold. Best way to get through Devizes with no hassle is to do it before 07:15. Fetched the car from Sells Green and moved it to Crofton.

You know it’s time to get a new Nicholsons guide when they’ve re-numbered the bridges. A tad confusing. Lock 63 at bridge 63 turns out to be lock 63 at bridge 98 and there are no longer two bridge 102’s – and there is now a bridge 100.

Today was Scorchio Scorchio, first shady tree stoppage this year – just for resting. Sat and had lunch above the Wooton River locks and it was too hot to start off again. We finally dragged ourselves IMG_0485back into action as we IMG_0484spotted the wide beam boat, moored just down from us, were preparing to set off and didn’t fancy having to follow them down Crofton locks. We set off again at 3:30 and crossed the summit, including passing through Bruce tunnel, before descending the nine locks to moor before Bedwyn Church lock.

IMG_0482We then walked into the village and went to the Three Tuns for dinner, you can tell that there are not a lot of supermarkets along this part of the K&A. We enjoyed an excellent meal but at a slightly premium price, but I don’t mind paying a bit extra for good food that is over and above pub grub. They are enjoying the increase in trade as the Cross Keys is temporarily closed.

We were sad to see the decline of the ‘Stonemasons Museum’ as we walked through the village. The plot is currently up for sale, for the development of a ‘substantial’ dwelling (smaller units for village folk might be a more popular idea, if not such a money maker) Many of the old stone mason’s IMG_0490pieces now adorn the walls of the Post Office as that has moved into the building.

We had a damp walk back to Jannock due to lots of rain arriving whilst we were eating in the pub.

Graham

Sunday 13th July

A live-aboard couple we met in a lock told us that the moorings we were heading for in Hungerford were likely to be full as it was the Carnival there today. Apparently a lot of boats had decided to visit the town for the event. So, as so often on this trip, Plan B was actioned. We pulled in next to Lee and Pip instead. Lee was out for the weekend on his boat and so was mooring it up for the week. He and Pip have to return to Somerset to work the last week of term. He works in a unit for children excluded from mainstream school. Pip, a young Spaniel-Collie cross of sleek black tresses and much energy, works alongside him. Pip is loved by children and can help, calm and communicate with children who aren’t best pleased with adults. Truly a working dog. I wonder what Michael Gove would make of her?

We moored up ready to tidy, make secure and lunch and within 10 minutes the rain started. Luckily it had ceased when G. decided to go and fetch the car. You know it’s time to go home when  . . . . . . .

Brenda

Friday, July 11, 2014

July ‘oliday Day #7

Friday 11th July

We awoke to a lovely morning that developed into a super day such that we cruised until 7:30pm. The evening sun and Wiltshire countryside was lovely, but then tummies started rumbling so we pulled over at Honey Street.

IMG_0471First, and best, decision of the day as we ate the last of our Krispo-pops, was to hail a boat heading towards Caen Hill and ask if the fancied us pairing up with them for the locks. They did and so we performed a rapid un-peg and followed them towards Foxhangers. The Drakes on nb Silver Mist were excellent travelling companions, ourIMG_0475 thanks to them. For the most part we travelled as if breasted up which made life easier and our ascent faster. There were plenty of boats coming down the flight and so our passage wasn’t as fast as perhaps it could have been, but the main flight of 16 were done in 2 hours and 15 minutes. We took a total of 4 hours and 15 minutes to complete the whole flight. We suffered an enforced 15 minute wait at lock 28 whilst the VLKs brought a single boat down the last three locks above us that were set in their favour.

Regular readers should know that we went on a Bizarre walking tour of Bath on Tuesday evening. How bizarre then when a Canadian couple we met on that tour, and in the pub afterwards, turned up at lock 28 whilst we were waiting. As they were staying in B&B locally we had suggested that IMG_0473they take a look at Caen Hill but they was no time or date mentioned. We offered them a ride on Jannock and so they came aboard for a couple of locks before leaving to continue their journey to Stratford. Lovely people and lovely company, we hope that they enjoyed the ‘Jannock Experience’

Then the person who had suggested we try the Bath tour phoned out of the blue. How Bizarre! We got to Devizes and found the 72 hour moorings quite empty so we stopped for lunch and a rest. We then moved onto the Sani Station mooring and did a self pumpout and a water fill. If you decide to do a self pump-out at Devizes wharf use the round manhole cover beside the CaRT machine, it’s easier than using the elsan point.

We then cruised through the wonderful countrysideIMG_0477 to Honey Street. Nich’s guide says “ A traditional canalside village, complete with sawmills, incorporating some new developement and, arguably one of the most attractively landscaped and charming on the waterways”.  We’ll argue – it’s a pub and campsite, a huge modern sawmill, some pretty terraced cottages facing the canal and a derelict wharf that can’t even be seen from the canal. Moor in the quiet zone and visit the pub. It’s a Hendrix – New Age – Biba – Goth themed establishment that does food up until 8:30pm. They were serving Green beer, a gimmick we know, but it tasted OK.

IMG_0478A local chap of some 55 years got chatting to us and was telling us about the history of the pub, the wharf, the canal and he even suggested some walks. Shame we’ll be moving on tomorrow, but if any-one is interested Alton Barnes, Alton Prior and Woodborough Hill takes a couple of hours and has fab views, two lovely churches and a 2K year old Yew tree.

Brenda

Thursday, July 10, 2014

July ‘oliday Day #6

Thursday 10th July

Cor, wot a scorcher! Wall to wall sunshine and beautiful countryside basking in it all day. Although we met a lot of nice people today we had to IMG_0464declare it ‘Batty Boater Day’. We untied and set off towards Bradford lock just as the rush hour started. We met our first as we waited to join the mayhem at the lock.. Boats were going up in front of us and the world and his crew were bobbing about above waiting to come down. No. 1 gent was on his first ever boating trip, on a 70 footer with just very elderly parents as company. He was havingIMG_0465 to do everything himself, single handing in effect. He wasn’t finding it as easy as he was expecting. Mum said that they were going to do Caen Hill. I asked if they knew what they were in for. Oh yes! they’d seen a picture of it and it looked pretty. Of course it would be for Mum and Dad, but poor son was in for a hard time, especially if they didn’t have a large crew to share with. We suggested that it might be a flight too far but they were insistent that they wanted to see the countryside beyond Devizes. And then do it all again to get back I pointed out. Son asked how long it would take as he didn’t believe the 4 – 6 hours that he’d been told. I said that was likely and there was no rest between locks, no stopping for a cuppa, once you started the main flight. Mum said it would be fine as there were staff there to do the work for you. Not likely! At this point son was looking a bit dubious so I suggested that they go to the bottom of the flight and have a look, watch a couple of boats, before deciding whether or not to ascend. They have another week left of their holiday – shame if they can’t make it up. I asked if they had a ‘Plan B’ – if son got an injury or had his muscles seized up after doing Caen Hill. Blank looks all round.

We stopped at UKBoatyard at Hilperton and filled with diesel at 77p per litre (plus tax @60/40) as well as a new set of cabin batteries as we’ve been having fridge problem during the last few nights. Shortly after leaving there, a lot poorer, we pulled over under a shady tree and Graham swapped out the batteries.

IMG_0466Next in the numpty medals, Gold, was a bloke aboard a wide, sea going, cruiser. He could not share locks – too wide – and was single handed. He’d come in off of the Severn at Bristol and was heading for Caen Hill very slowly indeed – what is it about this location? He was not prepared to let anyone overtake him as he was already well behind his schedule due to having one engine go faulty on him. He had not taken advice and called into a marina to get this sorted – he just tied up to a bridge landing stage and caused agro for every-one else whilst he bled the diesel injector system. We pointed out that Graham was on a bike and could open the swing bridges for him but he was having none of that. G promised to back set the locks for him if he let us overtake as there was no way we could cope with following him. He was taking a good 5 – 7 minutes just to tie his boat to a lock landing. Eventually we reached a lock with a single narrowboat entering and so we passed him to share the lock with them – result!  We then ended up with new partners at every lock up the Seend flight except the last two. Frankly to me he was a danger to himself as he was having to climb up the lock ladders before spending ages fussing about the correct tethering of his cruiser before even thinking about what needed to be done with the gates and paddles. Graham used the bike between all of the locks and swingbridges on this section so that the delays were kept to a minimum once we had overtaken Captain Slow.

We stopped for the night at Sells Green where G. put the old batteries in the car and then we treated ourselves to a night out at the 3 Magpies In again. The rump steaks we had were the best we’ve had for a long time. The ice creams for dessert were yummy too.

Looking forward to Caen Hill tomorrow, lets hope we can find a good partner for the flight.

Brenda

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

July ‘oliday Day #5

Wednesday 9th July

Started the morning with yet another walk around Bath. Brenda had IMG_0444spotted that the Pump house was free admission during the Bizarre walk last night so wanted to have a gander inside. Turned out it is just a restaurant and so a quick glance through the door was all we got. She wanted to look around the Abbey as well but that was closed for a service. Finally we went to the indoor market hall but there was now’t of interest there either.

So, back to Jannock for a 10:30 start upIMG_0445 the remaining locks to the top of the flight. In Pulterney lock Brenda found a side fender floating about, obviously been ripped off of a boat, and fished it out with our boat hook. As we approached Sydney wharf bridge we spied an Anglo Welsh hire boat trying to turn out of the base there. The crew were novice and the staff member was having difficulty turning the boat towards Bradford-on-Avon due to the strong side wind. He moved back again and signalled us to pass by to I offered to take a bow rope and pull them round as we passed.

IMG_0449Having pulled them round we continued on to Sydney gardens where we moored up and went for an explore. As well as the gardens there is the Holbourne art museum there and a children's play park which is ideal if you have small people on board that need to let off some steam at the end of a days cruising.

Garden thoroughly explored, we set off again and soon reached Bathampton swing bridge where I opened the bridge for us and two other boats. After that I made lunch which we eat on the move as usual. After we had passed through Millbrook swing bridge we met the same Anglo Welsh boat at Dundas bridge, their skills had not improved much and so it was up to us to avoid them.

IMG_0458Dodgem corner was empty and no hassle what-so ever. About halfway between the two aqueducts I retrieved a wheeled hose pipe reel from the canal which will do us nicely for the garden at home. As we passed across Avoncliffe aqueduct Brenda spotted a sign for ‘Funnel Blower’ so we decided to pull over onto the 48hr moorings and go explore – result!

Turns out that Funnel IMG_0454Blower was nothing at all to do with glass products, it was a beer brewed by Box Steam Brewery and sold at the Cross Guns public house next to the IMG_0453aqueduct. We tried four of the six beers they had on tap before ending the session with an ice cream and continuing our journey towards Bradford-on-Avon. The decision on whether to stop there or continue on up through the lock was made by finding a convenient mooring spot alongside the Tithe barn and so we stopped for the night.

Graham

July ‘oliday Day #4

Tuesday 8th July

Last night Graham set a crayfish net. Catch of the day – one Roach, about 6 inches long, and as good a catch as the Soddit crew spend hours trying to achieve. one small signal Crayfish about 2-3 inches long. Not enough for a snack. The Roach was returned to the river and the Crayfish duly despatched as per the law.

He started this morning with a bit of electrical techery. It would appear that new cabin batteries are needed as they are not maintaining their charge overnight. He then donned his chefs hat and cooked breakfast.

Look - I found a poundOnly three Kingfishers today and all before lunch. As we were about to set off, nb On Reflection passed heading upstream so we shared all the river Avon locks with them. At Saltford lock their lady crew member was overjoyed at finding a pound coin lockside. She said she’s use it to buy us all ice creams, not much chance with just a single pound ;^(

As we approached Bath, after Weston lock, we were well ahead of our partners when we spotted a Sainsurys store by the old railway bridge near Kingsmead. We turned around sharpish and met them coming the other way under the bridge – that surprised them especially as they called out that they had saved us some cake because we had mentioned that we had run out. How kind, and how rude of us to refuse. We moored on the 24 hour moorings next to the big building site and I went shopping whilst G stayed on the boat. The supermarket is built alongside an old railway station and the original structure has been retained. Worth a look if you are into trains . . . . . or need cake.

sculptureThen onto the last three locks before ‘our’ Bath mooring. I dropped G off on the pontoon for the bottom lock where two boats were moored and not locking. He radioed back that two boats were descending through the lock. Chaos reigned as they wanted to get to the pontoon to pick up crew but I couldn’t get out of their way as they were where I needed to be. I asked what the crew of the two moored boats were up to. The narrowboat had lost a side door, ripped from it’s hinges by a mooring bollard when they came onto the pontoon. They were trying to find it using their magnet on a rope.

Having passed through bottom lock, there were two deeplockmore boats coming down through Deep lock so I moved Jannock into the layby just below the lock and waited. Once they were passed I then found it almost impossible to manoeuvre Jannock back out of the layby and in through the left hand gate that was open for me. The water ingress was very fierce so there was plenty of crashing about, despite our best efforts, during the ascent. It would seem that the only way to go smoothly up this flight is to make sure both ground paddles are opened the same amount at the same time.

Washhouse lock went well and we moored up near our spot from Sunday night. One of the chaps from the boat that had lost it’s side door passed by returning from a fruitless visit to Bath narrowboats in search of another magnet as they thought they had located the door but were unable to lift it with just one magnet. Jannock’s sea searcher, tried and tested, was lent out.

IMG_0440  Into Bath this evening IMG_0439for a comedy walking tour called Bizarre Bath. It starts at 8pm outside the Huntsman pub, almost opposite Pulteney bridge. It was a good laugh and the walking wasn’t arduous considering it took ninety minutes. It costs £8 (£5 concessions) and was worth every penny. We also visited the Salamander, a Bath Ales pub in John street, near Queens square. Worth a visit as it does food as well.

Brenda

Monday, July 07, 2014

July ‘oliday Day #3

Monday 7th July

We started the day in brilliant sunshine, which faded to rain as we cruised IMG_0400West, clearing as we returned towards Bath. We prepared to abandon our breakfast as another solo boat was coming down Bath locks and it would be good to share theIMG_0409 last three with them. Not only did they disappoint us by deciding to moor in the same pound that we were in but they added insult to injury by then cooking a full English breakfast whilst we returned to our now soggy cereals.

They had trouble pulling in and mooring so we suggested they use the centre rope which they had only used for overnight tying up, along with perfectly adequate bow and stern ropes, until now. They then decided that by using the centre rope they would be able to get their boat ‘in’ without it ending up sideways.

IMG_0397We finally set off solo and passed down through the last three locks and out onto the river. We turned right and went up to Pulteney weir for some photography . Mooring in the city centre is currently suspended and so there were no other boats for the tourists to photograph. We woz snapped and snapped again. We then turned around below the weir and set off downstream for a pleasant days cruising and bird watching. Swineford lock top gates leak so much that it is almost impossible for a single person to IMG_0423open a bottom gate when the lock is empty. Whilst waiting patiently for the levels to equal, I spotted a heron fishing whilst stood in the middle of the adjacent weir and then observed a wagtail snatch a dragonfly from mid flight. It then took it to the lock landing and demolished it, leaving only the wings as evidence. It was a novelty to scatter flocks of gulls from the water instead of ducks.

Best of all though was a jewel of Kingfishers. We saw five in total, two of whom were having a right barney over territory. We met up with and shared all of the locks down to Hanham with the same hirers we’d come across at Bradford-on-Avon on Saturday. They were continuing on through Hanham lock to go to Bristol but we’d decided to turn around and moor for the night on the pontoon  adjacent to the Sustrans cycleway near Swineford.

Today we discovered a twin for ‘St. Barbies’,IMG_0422 the pink corrugated iron church that is adjacent to the canal at Hassell Green on the T&M. This one is near Saltford lock on the Avon and is painted clotted cream yellow, it looks lived in.

IMG_0417At most locks, BW/CaRT have posted this notice about the temporary closure of the moorings at Pulteney. Does the second paragraph make sense to you? Especially as some of the locks are miles from the centre of Bath ;^)

Graham

Sunday, July 06, 2014

July ‘oliday Day #2

Sunday 6th July

Smell of the day – Wild garlic. As the sun warmed the wooded slopes the smell of wild garlic, just coming into flower, wafted along the canal.

IMG_0380Along the way were many sculptures to enjoy varying from a vertical hanging one made from parts of a bicycle to various wind/weather vanes.

A peaceful, warm and very slow morning until we got onto the Dundas aquaduct. We are re-branding it the Dodgems aquaduct. We were wondering what to do and where to go to avoid ramming someone. Our lock buddies from IMG_0374Caen Hill were trying to tie up on the right but had grounded on an underwater ledge, so they were unable to get out of the way. Two long hireboats were trying to turn in the entrance to the Somerset coal canal but found that each was in the others way. There were also boats two abreast at the waterpoint. We decided that the only thing to do was to cruise through, then at least we’d be out of everyone’s way even if displaying no manners.

As we approached Millbrook swingbridge, we were pleased to see an oncoming hireboat crew had got there first and had waved us through despite Graham arriving at the bridge, windlass in hand. They regretted their polite manners when two more hireboats arrived and started hooting and shouting rudely at them because they had started to close the bridge. I explained to them that the poor blokes boat was way ahead as he’d shown us a kindness but that didn’t matter, they were still aggrieved.

IMG_0384We approached Bath top lock and Jannock is now in new territory. We passed down the first three and then moored for the night on the temporary 48hour moorings between locks 3 and 4, looking forward to meeting up with my brother and his wife and sons this evening. A hireboat was about to moor up as we came out of the third lock but they changed their mind and decided to use the lock that was in their favour instead. Unfortunately they had waited a bit too long since the gates were closed and the windlass-less crew member who was sent to open the gate was unable to do so. When they realised this they then tried ramming the gates with the boat – vandals!  Much reversing out of the lockmouth and then crew with windlasses were deposited ashoreIMG_0387  to do it properly and safely instead.

After a needed cuppa, taken in the shade of a suitable tree, we walked into Bath and met up with family that we haven’t seen for ages. I didn’t say “haven’t you grown” to my nephews but they surely have. We got a IMG_0392guided tour of the main part of town, Ann telling us about how her father was brought up in a top floor flat above Pulterney Wier. They had to haul their coal up in buckets. He watched the river being bombed during WW2 from there. A lovely walk with plenty of insider info and then a tasty meal. All too soon it was time for them to go back to Ilchester, school and work tomorrow. Thanks for coming, it means a lot to me.

Brenda

July ‘oliday Day #1

Saturday 5th July

“It’s hard to be a goth when there are cute ducklings to be fed”

We were quickly aboard, unpacked, fed and loosed off and into Seend locks. We’d paired up with a livaboard doing a ‘move’ at the first   IMG_0346swingbridge, an arrangement that worked very well. She had the best behaved boat dog we’ve ever met. It didn’t like going through locks on the boat so went landside and just wandered along opposite her boat. After all seven locks had been passed through, some 3.5 miles later, the dog happily hopped back on board.

IMG_0352Near Semmington there was a canoe rally or event happening. As we approached, the safety boats got every one out of our way to let us pass.

We took a young lad down through one lock Semington top lock. He’d been walking along with mum and dad and was very interested in how the locks worked. Dad did his best to explain but we thought he ought to experience a lock passage from the water. He told Brenda that his Nanna and Grampy had been on the Panama canal and were currently going up the Amazon. Fred Olsen goes places that Jannock can’t.

Also at Semington top lock, the offside ground paddle was not functioning. The mechanism had become detached from the paddle. I relocated the two parts together and fitted a new bolt to make the paddle function properly again.

We passed down through the lock at Bradford-on-Avon and were lucky to find a mooring almost immediately below the lock, just past the Cafe. Beware of this lock if your boat is 60 foot long and going down. Your back deck will get washed. Brenda got so wet that she had a soggy bottom.

IMG_0358Supper and then a constitutional. Bradford-on-Avon must be explored. It’s a beautiful little town. Mooring below the lock is ideal as you can walk into town from the Tithe barn and Barton farm area. Or you can cut across the cricket pitch a little MillPlaquenearer the lock. Both cut a fair distance off of the road route. If your small crew members need to let off a little steam then there are fully equipped play areas next to the canal or at the Barton Farm park. Nice tea shop there too if you don’t want to walk into town. The pub near the lock, and beyond the cafe, sell humungous soft ice-creams at the bar.

Walking back to Jannock we happened across a party-boat crew doing their best to get matching party hernias. IMG_0366They were trying to break the top gate seal when the water level difference was approx 200mm because the lock was taking ages to fill. Not flippin likely. They told us the lock was broken and they were dropping and lifting the top paddles again and again to make them work properly. I went to the bottom gates and spotted that one of the gate paddles was still open – that would explain their problem.

Back to Jannock by 10pm but no Three coverage here to the blog post is a day late.

Graham

Monday, June 30, 2014

A very rare day on Jannock

Sunday 29th June

We were all lie-a-beds today, much creaking and groaning of muscle and bones, crew still broken, we declared that rarest of things for weekenders like us – a day on the boat not boating. After a breakfast of kippers, the un-grateful pIMG_0316ress-ganged deckhands made a break for IMG_0309 freedom. Matt and Alice have bought an inflatable  kayak and today was to be it’s maiden voyage. Their first launch and paddle. After all the effort required to inflate it I was surprised they had any energy left to move it. No sooner had we helped them board the beast than they disappeared over the horizon and were gone for ages.

Brenda

A wet start to Caen Hill

Saturday 28th June

Today we press ganged a crew to join us – Matt and Alice came along to assist (and do most of the hard work) down Caen Hill. It started raining as we arrived in the car at Horton bridge and so we got quite damp moving aboard Jannock.I can stand like this for ages At least she wasn’t aground this time, makes a change. After waiting to see if the rain would pass I eventually donned waterproofs and set us off towards Devizes.

We stopped at the wharf and filled with water and then moved across onto the 48 hour moorings for lunch. It was still raining when we bit the bullet and set off down the first six locks to the top of the flight where we found another boat moored at the top of the flight. I went and had a look but there was no-one on board so we filled the top lock and started to get Jannock in when a man in hi-viz waterproofs asked if they could share with us. Of course we said so he explained they were just finishing their lunch in the cafe so we waited in the open lock for them to return to their boat and join us.

Two boats in harmony By the time we finally set off it had stopped raining and the sun was out. Our two crews, six peeps in total, soon mashed into a smooth machine only being delayed by meeting other boats coming up the flight. By the fourth lock even the steerers were making a good job of transiting between the locks in perfect harmony. A swan family did it’s best  to upset every-one by trying to get squashed whilst sharing a lock but we’d been warned by the lockies not to let them transit down because of another family of some of the gates are leaking badly swans in a lower pound. A gongoozler family did it’s best at ‘stating the bleedin obvious’ and running a crisis control centre having no idea of what was possible in the world of boat floatery of swan scaring. Our partners pulled over for the night near the winding hole after lock 29 and we collected new partners.

We now shared with a hire crew and yet more rain for the last six locks of the day. Our efficiency was now compromised by their boat being almost too long for the locks and so the bottom gate could not be opened without pulling the boat across to get the bows out from the gate recess. Therefore Jannock had to leave first in order for them to complete this manoeuvre to get out of the lock. It had not been a problem for them going up so they were surprised to have to issue going down.

The Three Magpies We stopped for the night in the first available mooring after sells green bridge and went for an evening meal in the Three Magpies. It’s well worth a visit especially if you want to eat - that was the bribe to our lock crew. Try booking as they were very busy but managed to fit us in with a little bit of table jiggery-pokery. The boys really enjoyed their liver, bacon, faggots and black pudding with a wonderful gravy. After we had eaten, Brian and Jilly Rich, fellow Cutweb members, arrived and joined us for what was probably one drink too many. Then back to Jannock and all to bed. The crew reckoned that we’d broken them and we were all tired and full to bursting.

Graham