Monday, 17 February 2014

First Even Smaller Trip Out For The Year - Sickle

Retrospective post for Fri 7th February
(Boat Sickle - posted by Alan)

Tied up, and ready for lunch.
Not a lot to say really, other than that we needed to go and check "Sickle" out, and pump from her the large volumes of water that were inevitable after what I believe has been the wettest recorded January.

Unlike "Chalice" the previous week, "Sickle" usually just starts on the button, with almost no turning over required before she fires up - just as well, because she only has one old battery, so there would be nothing in reserve if she didn't start very quickly.

It was an unusually pleasant day, based on recent weather patterns, so Cath, David, Odin and I set off for a nearby pub for lunch.

On the way back with Odin as look out.
No issues to report, if we overlook the small matter of "somebody" managing to let the range chimney roll into the cut once removed after we got back.  It isn't magnetic, apparently - had we known that at the outset, it would have greatly speeded up efforts to rerieve it!

Miles: 3.0, Locks: 0

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

First Small Trip Out For The Year - Chalice

Retrospective post for Sat 1st and Sun 2nd February

(Boat Chalice- posted by Alan)

Canada Geese
I'm afraid that the blog rather suffered towards the latter part of 2013, and remains incomplete for final trips made.  This is an attempt to start doing a bit better in 2014.

The whole Marsworth reservoir group is full to capacity for once.
In past years it would have been quite unusual for us not to make out first trip out until February, but things have conspired against us recently.  The appallingly bad weather, (the wettest recorded January in the South East?), has obviously had an impact, but so have a host of other things, starting the sudden death of Cath's father Jim late last year, but also incorporating people driving into our car, and, at home, leaks through a new and expensive roof, leaks from our domestic hot water tank, necessitating expensive replacement, as well as a number of dentistry disasters, (also very expensive!).

Odin performs enthusiastically to the command "Touch!"
Still, by the first day of February we decided we had had enough of not boating, and we really did need to go and light a fire in Chalice to air her out, as well as proving the engine would still start, and put some charge into the batteries.

Fortunately the recent storms seem to have done nothing bad - the cover over the front deck was in tact, there was even still a cap on the chimney, and none of the fallen trees had managed to hit us.  The engine was a bit reluctant to start, and ran a bit rough for a minute or two, but fortunately quickly settled down.

Marsworth top lock
We had no particular plan, beyond spending a night on board, and thought we might moor up beside Marsworth reservoirs for the night.  However, after a short while a somewhat windy day turned into an extremely windy day, that would have made any lock work unpleasnt, so, finding vacant moorings below the lock flight, we decided to stop there.

Cath, Odin and I enjoyed a pleasant evening in the Anglers Retreat, although it has to be said that their choice for vegetarians is now very poor.  It is unusual for Cath to leave much of a meal, but she disliked their vegetarian curry enough that she did just that.  This is a great shame, because the White Lion in Marsworth is now long term closed, with little prospect of reopening, and the Red Lion is also a disaster area for vegetarian food, (although like the Anglers still fine as a drinking pub).  We have gone from a situation where we had a choice of meals in three pubs at a location close to our mooring, where now effectively we have none.  I think we will be eating on board for future trips, so that is further custom they have lost.

Odin watches from a favourite spot on the boat.
Initially the next day our plan was just to go up a few locks to find a pound wide enough to turn the boat easily, but after a late start, the day seemed pleasant enough that we decided to go right up to Bulbourne, (only to come sraight back down again!).  In practice the day also started to break somewhat, and although never as windy as the day before, was quite hard work by the time we got back to our mooring.  We moor on "end on" pontoons, and our neighbour has recently had his boat stretched longer than is actually permitted for the moorings, so we now have very limited space to manoeuvre in.  With the wind as strong as it was, I expected problems trying to reverse back onto the pontoons, but in practice it wasn't that hard.

So, our boating start to 2014, and the first year in which Cath, like me, is in retirement,  A slow start, but we plan to do lots more!

Round trip to Bulbourne via Marsworth Locks
Miles: 5.4, Locks: 18
Total Miles: 5.4, Locks: 1