Julian’s boat Parglena is in the process of being sold and so needs to visit Uxbridge dry dock for a survey. Brenda and I volunteered to crew and so rose early and set off to Bourne End where we arrived just as Parglena had returned from turning round below Top Side lock. I mounted Jannock’s trusty lock wheeling bike and there I stayed for the next seven hours, all the way down to Batchworth. That’s 12 miles in the saddle and don’t I know it!
We moved along quite quickly until we were leaving Red Lion lock where a wide beam trip boat left their moorings below and pottered along slowly with Parglena breathing down it’s sternpost. I had cycled ahead to prepare Kings Langley lock where I found the lock full, gates open and another wide beam community boat with a panicking Captain. They had stopped the engine whilst filling the lock and now it would not start. As there was another boat waiting below to ascend I suggested they pull the their boat into the lock using the ropes whilst I had a look in the engine ole to try and find out why it would not start. I lifted the boards, checked all of the electrical connections around the starter motor and then tried the key and it burst into life. Having finally tried the key myself, I suspect that he hadn’t tried turning it past the pre-heat section as it had a very strong spring against the start position. Whilst the very grateful crew went down through the lock and the waiting boat ascended, Caro negotiated for Parglena to overtake the second widebeam now waiting on the lock landing. This left us following the first widebeam and so I ended up setting for them at Hunton bridge, Lady Capel’s and Cassiobury until they turned round below Cassio bridge lock to return North.
BW have done some work at Kings Langley lock and so I do not believe it is the slowest lock to fill on the G.U. any more. Iron bridge lock now comes close to taking that title.
Before the community boat winded, it was ascertained that the bow thruster was not working so the steerer wanted to use ropes to help the turn. I volunteered to take the centre rope around the bollard to assist with winding. Unfortunately, a combination of the rope being thin and slimy and an old BW concrete bollard meant that I ended up with bad rope burn on my right hand.
At Common moor lock, whilst we were descending, nb Earnest crewed by Neil’s son Peter and a friend arrived to ascend. Nice to see Earnest out and about as I’m sure Neil is still busy with Maurice A in Eire. Just above Batchworth lock I spotted the best ever use I have seen a fishing rod put to. Much better utilised to support fairy lights that catching fish.