Sunday 19th October
Past the middle of October and a super day. Mostly warm sun and cardigan temperatures, but we could have done without the winds that are supposed to be the lead in to a hurricane crossing the Atlantic. This made the steering quite difficult at times.
We shared most of the locks with nb Picot. Nice bloke, but a load of sh1t. Yes – literally, he’s a roving trader who’ll turn up and take away your toilet tank contents for a fee. We made very good progress, although he was a single hander he did his full share of lockside work leaving his boat alongside Jannock in locks and then shutting gates as we left. As Graham was using the lock wheeling bike we found it worked really well if both boats used the single gate.
A family watched us go up the first Seabrook lock and so we offered mum and kiddies a ride up the second. They were delighted and it seems to have sealed the deal – a canal holiday is being considered for next year. We later met the trip boat from Pitstone wharf at Marsworth locks, the passengers had disgorged and were doing a great impersonation of ants as Japanese tourists (Racism alert) over and around the lock. Quote of the day from a fresh faced teen: (Ageism alert) He’d had a good peer in through Jannock’s windows and announced loudly “oh those poor people – they haven’t got a television!” Just as well he couldn’t see inside Picot’s back cabin – sleeping bag and single gas burner camping stove. The houses are certainly coming on at Marsworth – as they seem to have metal extensions out over the canal I wonder whether they are balconies or roofs? This could mean the properties will come right up to the waters edge and so affect the mooring for the services there.
Monsieur Picot had a cup of tea and a piece of cake from us and then he went and joined the single boat in front when we caught them up on the Marsworth flight. Typical bloke (sexism alert ;^). Actually it made sense at the time – but it all went wrong, after he left us, for a couple of locks in the flight. The wind was quite fierce and gusty across the reservoirs. I tried my best to accommodate a couple of fishermen who were FISHING ON THE LOCK LANDING and Jannock got pushed into and awkward bankside corner. I did my best to get past the fishists but ended up clouting the lock entrance which made a couple of bystanders jump. As I entered the lock, having made my excuses, Graham asked me to hover by the bottom gate while he fetched out the sea searcher magnet from the engine bay. He’s managed to drop his windlass off of the balance beam and into the cut. The bystanders opinion of us was restored as he fished it out second cast.
The water levels in the reservoirs look very low, almost as low as during the water shortages in Spring 2013. We made it out of the flight by 5:30 and so tied up for the night just South of the water point and winding hole. Supper – last of the boating year – was a store-cupboard challenge Malaysian recipe mix – best before 2004. Yum! This challenge has now finished it’s second year and still the store cupboard has out of date stuff in it’s deepest recesses. Roll on 2015 ;^)