Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Nearly All Over

Wednesday Morning took our time and had a leisurely breakfast after walking the dogs. Dropped the top and reduced mooring ropes to just a centre line ready to move as soon as somebody came along to share locks with. Several cuppa’s later and past ten o’clock we decided to go it alone as no sign of life yet. Filled the lock which had part emptied overnight, and set off. Lock cycled and bottom gates open but no movement, we’re aground in the lock.
Karen opened a gate paddle which gave me enough water to scrape out of the lock so she could close the gates again.
Sod’s law just as Karen rejoined the boat a BW chap called across to tell us that there is another boat behind which will be here in 5 minutes. Shout back that we will wait for them at the next lock. Asked Karen to stand on the bow to keep a lookout. (Didn’t like to tell her she was also up there as movable ballast). Scraped and bumped along at little more than tickover to Gee’s Lock to wait for our partner. Through Gee’s without incident and the next pound does not seem so bad. Through Blue Bank Lock letting our partner go first as they draw less than us. Odd scrape here and there but not too bad until we reach bridge 103 Soar Valley way. Well stuck, started giving some revs and swinging the stern without much result, then started rocking her side to side. Slowly but surely we start to make progress and we are off. Ten yards later we are stuck again under the bridge, this time we have to take more care owing to all the shopping trolleys. Again the rocking works, wriggling along the bottom and we are off again. As we emerge from the bridge – you guessed it – though this time we are off quite quickly because we’re getting the hang of this slithering lark. Just as we free ourselves for the last time Philip from BW calls to ask if we are OK, apparently our partners are getting worried their schedule may slip as Phil won’t let them lock down without us. Happily I’m able to give Phil an ETA of 5 minutes or so. Do boaters have schedules - we work in days or weeks. Through Kings lock and back into deep water – the last three locks up and down have been quite an education for us.
Easy going from now on. Started having to work the engine harder after Aylestone Lock and suspected something was round the prop. This could be fun the weed hatch has not been opened since the problems before we took delivery. Stopped after the next lock and the weed hatch came out with no problem at all to find my suspicions were correct.
Bits of fertiliser bag, wire and knicker elastic all wrapped round the prop. Managed to cut the wire without dropping the cutters and it was soon cleared off.
Another first, weed hatch used in anger. Never owned a boat with a weed hatch before. It also gave me a chance to give the prop the once over after our excursion but could find no visible damage. The rest is history as they say – made it all the way though Leicester to where we stopped on the first night to give the dogs a good run. We were absolutely shattered, no need for rocking that night. 
Thursday back to Pillings in the rain. All being well we will be out again next week for a few days but I think we will go north this time.
Ahhhhhhh this boating lark is sooooo relaxing!.

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