Monday, November 02, 2009

Learning in Stourbridge

This weekend I left Brenda at home and attended Phil Speight's boat painting course held in the bonded warehouse at Stourbridge. Over the course of two days, Phil took us through all of the steps needed to turn a bare sheet of steel into a decorated and signwritten boat panel whilst regailing us with numerous stories of historical interest and a couple of bad 'shaggy dog' style jokes. My interest in being there was to try and learn better ways of keeping Jannock's paintwork looking good whereas a lot of my fellow students were really into the idea of giving their boats complete DIY paint jobs. Phil is such a master craftsman that he made every stage look so easy - adding insult to injury by continually stressing that he had not done anything difficult yet. On Saturday evening, instead of driving back to Thame, I had booked a cut-price room in the local Travelodge and so I met up with Terry Streeter and we went for a curry preceded and followed by a few pint of Bathams bitter partaken at the Vine. On Sunday the course moved on to panel decoration and sign writing and Phil stopped trying to convince us it was easy. All in all a great weekend during which I have gathered lots of interesting tips to achieve my goal of preserving the paint finish on my boat. All I've got to do now is find time to practice it.


Back to Bourne End

Sunday 18th October

Having returned home on Saturday night, the weather forecast for Sunday was now good so we returned to Jannock first thing in the morning and completed the run back to Bourne End. It proved to be a journey slowed right down by locks set against us and fishermen. We started up the Marsworth flight and soon caught up the single boat ahead and so we shared the last two locks in the flight with them. They were stopping at Cowroast marina so we set off down the other side of the summit solo again. Cowroast lock had the bottom gates and both paddles all left open when I arrived and so I had to turn it as no-one was ascending. Dudswell top lock was in the same state and between the two locks was a broken down narrowboat. They asked for assistance with their gear selection and I asked them if they had been leaving all of the bottom paddles up. They firmly denied this but admitted to leaving the gates open as this was normal on the Grand Union. Obviously there must be a Gremlin following them and raising the paddles again after they had passed through the lock. They found the fault in their gear cable and fixed it but decided to remain tied up for lunch so we continued on solo. Brenda decided that the big fishing match that was going on along this stretch of the G.U. should be available as an advice notice through the BW stoppage notification system. At least we could then choose not to boat and then not have to suffer the miserable looks and muttering that accompanied our passing every rod. A Northbound boater told us about how they had an altercation with a fisherman who had positioned himself on Winkwell winding hole. This fisherman decided that the boat owner had no right to turn his boat during the match and it almost came to fisticuffs with the boater getting off and squaring up to him on the towpath. Some match pitches were adjacent to the public car park at Berkhamstead. As Brenda moved Jannock past one fisherman slid his rob back across the grass and gave a parked car a heavy clout with the end of his pole. He didn't even bother to look round so we wondered how many times he'd done that during the day. Brenda had to wait for a northbound boat to ascend topside lock where one bloke was fishing off of the lock landing so she slowed right down and waited with the engine out of gear in order to not ruin their swim. Was it appreciated? Not likely, she was moaned at for taking too long to pass his rod. We arrived back and tied up to our mooring before I got the Di Blasi out and fetched the car from Marsworth.