Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Leaving the Wey.

A nice and early start this morning and as the sun was beaming down on us I was glad.  I should mention here that David had been up ages and had cycled off to Staines for some reason.  I got to see it later.
Below is David bring WaL out of the lock that I shall for evermore call "Rat Lock".  

Its an odd set up here in that you should deposit your crew here on the grass (In the photo below) they then scoot across the road, prep  the lock then come back across the road and signal to you that all is well.  Then you are onto the canal, the river comes out from under these arches.
All frightfully calm today.

In the first lock of the day Shepperton Lock I think I chatted to this nice lady owner of this beautiful boat.  It was built on Hayling Island (That is on the south coast) in the 1930's and they have fully restored it.  I wish I had a better photo but in the lock I was hanging onto a rope trying to prevent WaL getting too close to her.  She is pulled out of the water each winter and the couple have recently brought another vintage boat that took part in the Dunkirk rescue, currently the new one is just a hull!!!! 

Opal of Sunbury leaving the lock.
Another one passing but this one not in such a gleaming condition.

A mum out paddling with three small well kitted out children enjoying the sunshine.

Three men in a boat.

I promise not to say another word about UGLY UGLY living spaces after this but Jeeze!!!

Love these vintage cruisers.

The journey continued without incident, except for mild me getting narked with one lockie, he lent leaning with one arm of his control panel AFTER the gates had closed waiting for me to throw my front rope over the bollard.  It was high up and I could hardly see it...  finally he walked down and took it from me and placed it over.  Now is it me? or as we were the only boat in the lock, wouldn't it be prudent just to walk alongside and take ropes?  

I thanked him profusely without a HINT of sarcasm in my voice.
The very next lock had a) A side filling chamber and b) a volunteer lock keeper.  I had managed to get my rope over the bollard in this time, but she fully raised the paddles a mound of white water rose up and hit the boat, my rope ran out in my hands even though I had thick leather gloves on, as she walked past I yelled out that she had opened them much to fast and I couldn't hole the boat, by now WaL was about two metres from the edge and very close to a small cruiser along side us, she replied that this was a side filling lock and you should wrap the ropes around twice, 
"Well that's a bit bloody late now isn't it?  Does this look safe to you?  I really was furious Reader.

"Well I am a volunteer and if you don't like it you can do it yourself next time"  
I didn't yell I bloody well will you idiot.  But as we past by leaving I did say that her being a volunteer had nothing to do with the price of fish and she shouldn't have put the paddles fully up.  
I then said that the narrowboat following us (That she had shut the gates on saying she couldn't wait for them!!)
that it was their FIRST EVER DAY, they certainly won't know about side filling locks to which she replied that "They will have to tell the lock keeper then"   
"But they won't know to tell the lock keeper ITS THEIR FIRST DAY"
 I was speechless and fuming, ask David, he said I took ages to calm down.

Later (I am not sure of the names of the locks but I will find out)  we came to the next side filling lock.  The keeper told us on entering, told me to double wind the ropes around the bollard and finally let the water in very slowly and in three stages.
Funny that!

Sun had gone in so I was cold as I get pretty quickly.  We looked to moor up in Runnymede.  In the town section there was space even if two narrowboats were breasted up, they were about 25' from the beginning of the moorings.  Now I realise that another boat had probably left but if they are going to stay another night why don't they move along to the beginning and allow others to get in?  Not at all annoying.

There was a lot of spaces out of the built up area and out into the open.  We spied on the map that the road which is busy here has a wee section where it is further from the riverbank, so we decided to gingerly put the nose into a space with a concrete wall to see if it was shallow, it was a bit but only a bit plus with the big fat blue dangles we brought earlier in the year on the Trent we thought it ok.  £8 a night I think it said.  I made hot tea and got my book out, there may have been a small nap involved I can't be sure, but there was a voice calling and David went to the back to pay, he had the correct money ready but the man had not stayed the fifteen seconds required and had walked off.  
A free night ensued.

We walked to the Runnymede Memorial for Commonwealth Servicemen who were lost serving and have no known grave. 
All their names are listed within, its VERY moving.   

But to get there we had to walk through a field with this alongside a track between two sections of the field.  I was a bit twitchy...

I have not zoomed in, he WAS this close.

Mothers with calves, you NEVER want to get between them.

Yep more of them right this side too....

David told me to stop drawing attention to myself and upsetting the bull and run.  He is so sympathetic at times...

Sun streaming through the ancient natural forest, all romantic like.

Getting closer.

It closes in 25 mins so no loitering or we'd get locked in.

Up a bit.

That's WaL way down there.

West London laid out and WaL at the very bottom.

Windsor Castle in the evening sunshine.  Pretty impressive huh?

Largely because I had reservations about crossing that field again, we went back a different way.  We had wanted to view the Magna Carta Memorial and Kennedy's Memorial, but there weren't any signs, so we walked back in a circular route looking at rich folk's houses and how much I didn't like them, I can play this game for ages.
Finally we came upon what we wanted.

This acre of land was given to the American people to commemorate President Kennedy after his assassination in 1963, the board talked about steps up, stones meaning something to do with Bunyan's Pilgrims Progress, but I wasn't really buying that.  Not my thing.

Lastly we found this.  The American Bar Society and paid for this and they come back to pay tribute to the founding principles of the Jury System and stuff.
Back the short hop to the boat to discover that the water levels had dropped and WaL was on a big tilt.  I was convinced I wouldn't be able to get her off in the morning and David as the only driver has to be in charge of the engine side of things at all times, no way was I going to start playing heaving now, it was getting on for 8 o'clock.

Supper was sausages, sweet potato wedges and salad, food of the gods.

We slept with three pillows each.

Send to Weybridge.

We left Send after picking another whole pot full of blackberries, David had brought more bramleys "Just in case".
I wonder if people are too posh to pick free food these days in this area anyway, plenty of people past us and said hello but none said Oh look there's loads I will go get a dish too.

David had cycled to the Basingstoke canal, he did a section near Woking of about eight miles.  For us I am not sure it is the most ideal canal being so overgrown with trees, he called it just a green tunnel, but some folks may think this is heaven.

We left Send about midday and headed towards Weybridge. 

A nice river mooring on our own a metre from hard surface.

First lock of the day.

I did laugh inwardly at this lock, out of shot were two boats ahead of us.  Reader what you may not know about the River Wey is that, is that you are invited, nay instructed!  to leave the gates open when departing the locks.  

Now I know there are people on forums and other social networking sites who have a lot to say about gates being left open, others who take the view that in the days of working boats the lock gates were always left open after use and lets do it now sort of argument.  I have to declare that I have really enjoyed leaving gates open for a change.  It does not vex me either when you get to a lock and it needs both gates closing and filling.  So when we got to this lock following these two boats, one boat had four crew members and the other had about six, so on the lock landing were about eight or seven people waiting to re-board their boats, but not one person offered to help me close the gates even though the drivers took ages to get out and get onto the lock landing with much faffing and revving going on.
Much smirking on my part.

Back out onto these most pleasant moorings on the NT meadows here.  The section here is all river and you could feel the flow it a bit more.  

David did a great job of getting around the corners, well until the last one, here the rivers flows off to the left towards an unseen weir, I heard the utterance "Oh bugger!".....

then saw us going sideways off the intended path, quick recovery after a bit of that afore mentioned revving and blustering.

View back of the meadows

That nice Abbey again, Newark.

I thought the river looked higher than on our trip down but the path wasn't covered or anything.

So above is that water point I was telling you about a few days ago.  These are the lock gates on the right, on the left you have the long term mooring and the rickety wooden fence to moor against.  The tap?  There it is, on the right with a white top on it.  Totally daft position, which is why we filled in the lock, wish they had of asked me first.

A fine historical date for my new Reader in NZ, Kay that's you.

Another blue sky photo of this iconic mill.  There really haven't been a lot of blue skies about this summer.  The water below the lock was very very well behaved in this direction.

I don't often see herons actually in the water, if I had of been a wee bit quicker you would have seen him floating on the top too.

Moored up here.  The lock keeper had previously said that this is a really busy road, however we didn't find it so and to get an open mooring you have had to have moored up five miles or so before.

Supper was cod with a thick coating of peas, mint and 
  and french beans with more blackberry and apple & cream.

Monday, 31 August 2015

The Long Goodbye

The time had come for us to leave Guildford.  Lesley and Joe are staying put to meet up again with Sue and Vic on No Problem who had previously arrived and then departed to return grandchildren to their rightful owners further up the Wey and then were to return to Guildford.   But we had to make tracks, we have to return home to look after the farm for three weeks whilst David's brother is away.  There is a shortage of boatyards on the Thames who can cater for long narrowboats, but David has found one further up but he wants to enjoy the Thames a bit and not belt up sort of thing.

Reversing away from our friends with whom we have spent the past four months with

Early morning tea was provided.

He turned in the same place as George had on SR but fluffed it a bit.

Rubbish on the front all ready for the nearby bin.

Leaving the splendid Guildford.

We stopped at Dapdune Wharf to service the boat (We had been flushing the loo with river water to preserve stocks remarkably clean it was too, I fished out the leaves before flushing).  Here at a wee museum run by the National Trust is a preserved Wey Barge that was built in the early 1930's.  Visitors are able to go on the barge but the place hadn't opened yet.  Next time.
Fond farewells and big hugs for bestest chums Lesley and Joe who left us here to fall in the loving arms of B&Q without a backward glance at us two weeping.  

So this is that troublesome bridge just north of Guildford

 Coming into Guildford we recked at a rough guess that we had eight inches breathing space, not this time after masses more rain...

Make your own guess here but it wasn't a lot.

The trip down had taken us 5.5 hours from the pretty meadows, today with only little me doing the locks instead of Lesley, Amanda and me, we were much quicker.  Nearly every lock had had to be emptied on the trip down but I think all the locks were in our favour on the way back plus the river going a bit faster and not being so shallow in places all helped.

This row of blue barrels are to protect this boat from being walloped by boats coming out of this lock and believe me he needed them when we came through, not that WaL hit him but it is a sharp turn for long boats.  I hope he pays little for this mooring.

This part of the Wey is more open and pleasant

It was sunny earlier but not now.

Hardly any boats about, but here comes one.

So sorry not to have spent longer with you both, next time eh?

A few sharp bends here at Sutton Bridge, a weir on the right, a blind bend.

An old roller post here to help the old barges around the corner.

I wouldn't really want to meet a wide beam here...

David said the rain was due at midday, as we turned to wave No Problem past we caught sight of threatening clouds sneaking up on us, I pointed at a gap and suggested mooring there might be an idea, he quibbled, I felt a drop of rain and we moored in a hurry to have the heavens open at 12:04pm.  There we stayed snugged up reading for the afternoon at Send, in a nice open spot well before the pub  and the noisy road.

Supper was chicken with chilli, ginger and lime.