Saturday 1 June 2013

Cowroast (below lock) to Bridge 148

Cowroast (below lock) to Old Fishery Lane Bridge 148: 5 miles, 16 locks, 1 swing bridge (stopped the traffic!)
To date : 344 miles, 204 locks

We've let the fire go out... that's it for the season.  Last fire 31 May.

We were expecting visitors today so got up at a decent hour to have a tidy up.  There was washing strewn all over the boat.  It's not so easy to get dry when the weather is rainy.  Plus, it wasn't all that cold so we hadn't had the heating on.   The central heating certainly helps get everything dry.  We love the finrad type radiators.

Our friend Lynne from Ormskirk had driven down to Hemel Hempstead the night before with her friend Marie.  The took a cab to the marina at Cowroast and walked down the towpath to find us.  They've been to visit us a couple of times but we've not taken the boat out with them before.  Last time was while Mick was in Australia and the three of us had a lovely day out to a National Trust property.  Mick hasn't seen Lynne since just before Christmas!

The plan for the day was boating practice so the girls would have the confidence to take the boat for a long weekend some time.  We'll take the opportunity to hire a car and visit Scotland or perhaps a flight to France. They arrived about 10am by which time we'd done all our chores.  We decided we'd take out the piece of mattress that extends the bed so it would be easier for us all to walk around for the day.

Off we went with plenty of locks ahead for Lynne and Marie to practice on.  The day was mostly sunny and I even got a bit of sunburn. There was a Waitrose supermarket right near the canal at Berkhamstead so we stopped in for groceries and lunch to eat sitting on the bow of the boat.

We filled the water tank at the water point soon after, and during that process I looked back and noticed a boat was adrift across the canal.  When we'd completed our task we backed up to the boat to try and get it back to the canalside.  The ropes were in poor shape and likely the reason for the boat coming adrift.  The centre rope wasn't long enough to reach the bank from where the boat was.  We reversed against it until it eventually veered back to the edge of the canal. A couple of fellows moored behind came down to tie it up. 

Not only did Lynne and Marie get some steering and locking practice but I had some stress free practice at steering into a lock with a shiny boat already in there.  Three times in a row without touching the sides!  Amazing how much easier it is with Mick busy showing Marie how to work the locks.  It seems I finally have a grip on handling the boat entirely on my own.  Mooring up was a breeze.  At last!

Mick went into battle with his first swing bridge.  It was right beside a busy beer garden with plenty of gongoozlers watching on.  He's not the best at reading instructions but Lynne was right behind him so she came to the rescue.

It was after 6pm by the time we reached the edges of Hemel Hempsted and the moorings at first didn't look too appealing.  I walked on a bit with our two way radio and found a lovely stretch of canal with boats moored up near the railway station.  It turned out to be the perfect location.  Lynne and Marie had been staying at a hotel just next to that spot and could easily walk back.  First stop was The Fishery Inn for dinner.  It had a very nice atmosphere and we enjoyed our meal. 

All in all, a great day out.  We were all happily tired after so many locks.

Lots of photos :
1. nb Winton's Folly passing by. Not a good photo but Diane (Carol's sister) looks so happy! 
2. And again 
3. Cowroast Lock 
4. Our mooring below the lock (can just make out our pram cover) 
5. Finished jigsaw 
6. Marie and Mick 
7. Mick watching Lynne work at the lock 
8. Almost a river running beside this lock 
9. This little fellow was telling Mick all about the lock 
10. Nice canalside pub 
11. Learning about filling the water tank 
12. Boat adrift 
13.- 17. Lock practice 
18. - 19. Lovely riverside properties visible from the canal



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