Saturday 1st April 2017
Berkhampstead to Bulbourne
We polished off the cerials left on-board over winter, a soggy breakfast, and were ready to leave at 9:45. The last boat to pass us was a widebeam that had left the top gates open at both Raven’s Lane and Rising Sun locks. Once through our first lock, we joined another single narrowboat waiting for the widebeam to clear Gas 2 lock so we shared with him all the way to Cowroast. The pound above Gas 1 was very low and the widebeam was struggling. I managed to cycle past them and have the next lock open and ready for them when they finally arrived. The steerer was complaining bitterly about the lack of water so I took great delight in pointing out to him that leaving top gates open causes problems like that. He was not impressed!
If you value your children do not put them in an inflatable canoe immediately outside a lock where two narrowboats are coming out, and you are occupying the lock landing area by the water point. Then when you are asked to move said child and canoe please don’t scowl and make a dramatic performance of dragging her 6 foot towards the water point – and then putting a second inflatable canoe where the first had been. Then as our boat starts leaving the lock and comes towards you, please don’t ask f it’s OK for us to wait while you get yourself sorted. And when told that the second boat in the lock will be stopping on the water point, don’t ask “what boat?” It’s the big heavy steel thing bearing down on your child that has no-where else to go. More scowling will not help – narrowboats are big and heavy compared with your little blow up canoes. They also have no brakes and oh, by the way, why aren’t your young children wearing life jackets? Are their lives not worth the price of one?
Once onto the tring summit it was lunch – with Shrimp Banana cake for Brenda’s birthday. Second day of 2017 cruise and we see a brazen kingfisher sat on a branch, bold as brass and didn’t even move. Why did I leave the camera at home! You bet he wouldn’t have hung around had I got it in my hand.
We cruised right up to the Wendover Arm junction looking for a Bulbourne mooring for the night. We know it’s been a short day but we’d got a table booked at the Grand Junction Arms. We turned and then cruised back to the next winding point where we turned again and reversed into a spare 65 foot gap on the piling. That’ll do, just a short walk to the pub. Matt, Alice and Felicity joined us for a celebratory dinner at the GJA and Felicity charmed everyone in the pub. I wish we could all go out to dinner in our jim-jams-a’ la’ Stella McCartney outfit. We had a lovely meal, the menu was varied and interesting, something for all tastes and well cooked.
Having said farewell to our guests, we retired to Jannock and watched the first three episodes of “The Flower of Gloucester”, nothing like a 1960’s kids TV series (and another birthday) to make you feel old.
Brenda & Graham