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.


  1. We had the opposite with the volunteer lockies on the Trent at the weekend. They were filling the locks up painfully slowly. Mind you, this still didn't stop one narrowboat crew getting it hopelessly wrong in Hazelford Lock. Despite the lockie only slightly raising the paddles, they kept letting go of the bowline and the boat kept swinging across the lock. Took nearly an hour to get through the lock by which time the rest of the boat owners were getting quite irate as the lock was busy and there were queues waiting to lock up and down.

  2. Dear Naughty-Cal,
    That sound a total pain to have to be delayed an hour at a lock.
    Last year we followed a cruiser with a quite elderly couple into a lock and the lock keeper came to explain that he would be doing this lock VERY slowly, due to the age of the couple and that by helping them in this fashion it keeps them boating for longer which I thought lovely.
    If that couple had been in our position with this lock keeper I think they would have been in real difficulties.
    There has to be a happy sensible medium full of common sense and prudence to my mind.

    My other moan is that at most locks we have been though on the Thames so far there have been two lock keepers, they have been on the same side of the lock as each other, therefore when a boat goes to the other side and they can't reach the bollards, there is no one to help and take a rope. Most have stood gawping instead of helping a jiffy.
    That should be in staff training me thinks.