Tuesday, 23 May 2017

I wasn't even there!

(Now with Flamingo only - posted by Alan)
Retrospective post for Tuesday 23rd May

Backwards down the lock, unpowered.
For the moment I will not concentrate on the problems with "Sickle's"gearbox, other than to say we decided that we were definitely in a position where we could not carry on with the boat, and would have to continue on just with Flamingo.

A deal was struck to put "Sickle" on a mooring in a local marina, so the first boat movements of the day were rather unusual ones.  Firstly we took "Sickle" backwards through the last lock we had worked the boats through together, then, not wishing to risk use of the gearbox, we turned her around then used the long shafts from both boats to poll it back down to the marina entrance, and on to the allocated mooring.

Sickles long flat deck makes it an easy boat to pole.
Although I am writing the belated blog entry, I was not involved in the main boating activity of  the day.  I had an important Doctor's appointment in Berkhamsted, to be followed by an evening out in London with former work colleagues.  So I had worked out how to get to Berkhamsted by a combination of buses and trains, and then on to London by train.  I would return by train to wherever was close to where Cath and David had managed to move "Flamingo" to in my absence.

It's very rare that we move boats, and I'm not part of it.
In practice I was exceedingly lucky that a well known local boater spotted me at the bus stop, and guessed I was trying to get back to Berkhamsted.  The bus and train for that part got replaced by a comfortable ride in a BMW, leaving me with lots of time to kill before my Doctors appointment.  From then my day ran to plan, leaving me only needing to phone to find what station I needed to come back to, once I was finished with friends in London.  The answer was Apsley - Cath and David had done well.

This looks to me like Hunton Bridge locks.
I say they had done well, because although Cath has regularly steered "Flamingo" she had not ever actually taken it through locks.  That may sound surprising, but much of our locking has been with both boats, and invariably I take "Flamingo" and Cath takes "Sickle".  So for the first time she had to quickly learn the tricks to stopping nearly 72 feet of heavy boat in locks that are only a few feet longer.  She must have done well, because the record shows that despite a late start, they had done a dozen of them.  Equally all the gate and paddle work had been down to David, who had clearly supported Cath superbly as she got to grips with "Flamingo" in the steady run of broad uphill Grand Union locks.  Unsurprisingly, by the time I got to the boat, they had treated themselves to take away pizzas.  Everybody was bushed, but at least we had managed to achieve all we wanted, once it was obvious "Sickle" had to be temporarily abandoned.

The rather unattractive new development at Nash Mills
Cassiobridge to Apsley
Miles: 6.1, Locks: 12
Total Trip Miles: 139.4, Locks: 85

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