Saturday, 14 June 2014

Two old ladies and a Bakewell.

So here we are again Reader, arriving back at Wal at about lunch time from home.  It was very hot but the boat was nice and cool somehow.  First job was to lug the four bags from the car park over the river to the south to the boat, in the sun.  Done that, then a quick bit of unpacking by me, then Darling got out his bike, got on it, cycled back to the car, bike in car then away away to hide the car.  This left me nicely free to go shopping in this nice big John Lewis Home Store here almost at the end of the mooring here.  
I brought a surprise present for the “Boat Sharers”, Reader do you remember me telling you that our good friends The Lewis’s are convinced that they are Boat sharers?  Well Amanda is arriving tonight for two days to lendahand to get us off the lower section of the K&A.  Mr Lewis had voiced disquiet at the hardness of the spare bed, so I brought a mattress topper to help ease the situation.
So having paid for that and put it back on the boat I played Supermarket Sweep at a vast Sainsbury’s here in Newbury, so vast I have to say it was off putting, but I managed somehow.  David was quicker than me arriving back from out of town he came on wheels and put most of the heavies into the cycle bag.   So to unload the linen, sort the fridge, well somewhat.  David gets aerated with my fridge organisation, well my basic method is lets just get the stuff in shall we?  No he likes meats, salad, olives wine and cheese all in separate shelves…..
So without arguments, jobs done, the boat was really dusty so off he went with a bucket and cloth,  wiping.
We were expecting Amanda to arrive at 7:15pm, at 6:04pm she text to say she will be with us at 6:15pm, so I put on my shoes and went galloping off to the station to meet her.  
We did a “Jack’n’Jill” with her bag and walked back to the boat,  Collected David and walked off upstream to above the lock to where NB Waterlily was moored.  
Waterlily at the front.

Ancient building on the waterside in Newbury

Wonderful to see these Cubs on rafts having lots of fun.

We had been invited to supper onboard with Neil & Pauline and we were going to travel the last two or so days with them.  
Supper was rather lovely, Pauline had cooked and joint of ham, spicy chicken drumsticks, pasta salad, with tomato salad followed by my absolute favourite Bakewell Tart Whoopeeee.  If you do see them around just ask Pauline for a slice of Bakewell Tart, she makes a fantastic one.

The next morning at the crack of 8:30am we were up and ready, Waterlily came skidding around the bends from the lock and were alongside us suddenly.  They really needed water but as you may remember Reader, water points on this canal are an endangered species.  They hadn’t washed in a month…..  There is a water tap at the Newbury Marina, free to those having services but £4 for anyone else!!!!!  Neil passed on that.
The day warmed up pretty quickly, we even filled water bottles to keep us going. 
 We were whizzing through locks and swing bridges.  Pauline is indefatigable.  But it works so very nicely with three crew, we leap-frogged each others boats,  taking it in turns to prepare locks and then the other closing the doors whilst the first boat then goes ahead to prepare the next swing bridge of which there are plenty here.

Pauline laughs all day.

Evidence of water consumption and lovely meadows.

Someone was telling rude jokes.

Neil doing his Pixie imitation. 

All new Pretties in bloom

Very shiny slippery bricks with no grip at all to push against on super heavy gates.

Aldermaston was a bit of a hoot, we were looking for water for Waterlily,  (They would surely need an shower tonight after this heat), so the water here is on  a tiny arm, from a sharp left hand turn.  Lunch of sorts was had here.  Mostly it was a big cool drink as the temperature was climbing.  Neil was enjoying a big fat Magnum but us three were all on a Skinny Day as part of the 5:2 we follow.  We had a glass of water!

So the next thing to negotiate was the road bridge here.  Its electric so not too many problems except for the traffic queues, these built up VERY quickly being a Friday afternoon with all these people wanting to get home early.  Angry faces from White Van Men both sides, but our captains hurried through as smoothly as they could…. Look there Pauline here come another boat says I.. Now maybe you know Reader but this Lift Bridge is on an A road and its busy, it also has a timer so that it cannot be raised again after it has been lowered within a ten minute window, presumably to allow the traffic to keep moving.   Now this oncoming boat was dawdling, I waved at it to hurry it along but it carried on dawdling, Oh just shut it Pauline says I, No let them through says Amanda.  We jointly decided in the end to let them through but Amanda yelled at them to hurry up as all the traffic is waiting
“Oh we’re coming as quickly as we can….” says this daft woman in a flower pot sunhat, Amanda regretted waiting for them.…  
I sneaked the photos of the waiting cars (They must have been fuming) Then the second it was shut Pauline and I grabbed the key to the machine and scarpered without looking back.

So here is Aldermaston lift bridge, vans and lorries zipping through constantly, except for now.

Put it down says I, no let them through....

Cars queueing out of sight around the corner.....

Two swing bridge later, as we passed by, two old ladies called out “How many does your boat sleep?”
“Two” says I,
“Four” calls Amanda
“Ah good, we will have one like that one”  Pauline who was operating the swing bridge then quickly explained to these two old dears, who must have been in their mid seventies,  that no they couldn’t hire our boat out as it was privately owned.  They were picking up a hire boat the next day!!!
Honestly Reader I have been very very concerned about these two old ladies ever since as the locks on that section.   above and below the Hire Centre were crazy difficult to do….
Who comes to rescue people such as these, because I am convinced unless they have a small crew of rugby players on their boat, that they will need rescuing.

At a place called Woolhampton, there is a lock, on a bend with a swing bridge around the corner out of sight. You have to come out, TURN the bloody boat to avoid a crazily moored boat covered in big tyres which must get clonked daily, you are in the flow of the river here so easy to mistime your TURN and hit the bridge, then what do you find....?  Yes a privately owned boat moored on the lock and bridge landing ruining your manoeuvring space....
I ask a group of four people on their own chairs in the pub garden with a somewhat exasperating tone as us girls were running back and forward doing the swing bridge and trying to signal to the two captains who were totally unsighted... "Is this boat yours....? 
"well its in the way here"
"Its alright" he grunted
Now Pauline is a quiet little thing, jolly and laughing BUT she let rip at this idiot, telling him in no uncertain terms that it was a lock mooring and he deserved to get his boat clonked!!!  I almost applauded her, his three crew did look sheepish.

These two marvellous gentlemen closed the two lock gates for us so we could run and get these photos.
Woolhampton lock exit, river flowing in, bloody boat moored on landing and swing bridge on the right, almost.

River pushes you onto this hazard.

Here comes Wal running the gauntlet. ( See the cyclists  helping?)

Going sideways but misses tyre boat.

Bridge closing again

Lovely roses

Pauline and Neil the relief after Woolhampton showing.

We moored finally in the middle of god knows where, surrounded by dragonflies and damselflies.
At one place we hopped on Waterlily leaving David alone.

Skinny Supper was Thai chicken curry and to follow,  mixed berries and yoghurt topping.

A very late finish for us, 8.5 hrs on the go, 13 hard locks and 10 miles.

1 comment:

  1. My sincere apologies Lisa but, every time I read "WaL" in your lovely posts the word "WALL-E" (the little cartoon robot) springs to mind. :-)