Thursday 24 April 2014

Undressed again!

       So it had appeared to have rained all night, certainly most of it.  The Lewis’s had said about the hard work the locks were when all of a sudden there was a boat passing us and heading to the next lock just there.  Go for it I said to him, nip along the tow path and ask if we can join them while I quickly dress (Why am I always undressed?) 
      The other boat did notice us eventually setting off but as the lock was already empty it didn’t take them long to exit it, a young crew member had walked back to leave open the paddles as instructed, I thanked him and indicated that we would love to catch them up for the next lock….. no such luck, we didn’t see them again.  Such a pity as not many idiots out on the river sections after heavy rain.

No sides
Like it says, Turf only
Amanda on the gates

The lock in question is a Turf Lock, one of only two remaining and has no sides so to speak, it has to be kept empty after use.   Pictures by kind permission of David Lewis, this is actually the first of the two Turf Locks as my phone was on charge.

Full, then it must be left empty

Onwards past weirs and sluices with hefty currents taking you by surprise.   The lock gates are all heavy, do-able but heavy and hardly seem to move, then for no apparent reason at one lock,  as you want to leave and close the gates the bloody things drift open again….. Not at all annoying.

Sluices wanging him around
Good recovery
This lock had overspilled all around
This is where I changed into my wellies

River entry right at a lock
Eventually and not a minute to soon we did arrive in Newbury, there was a space on Armco and we jumped on it, scratched our chins, looked again at the distance between us and the two moored breasted boats on the other side, ummmm, David left me holding the baby and walked around the corner to see what was better.  On his return an easy decision to make. We stayed put. 
Victoria Park they call it, yes its a park, it has ducks, swans and pigeons and their respective “Calling Cards” but worst of all, the A339 THUNDERS two inches away overhead.  Whatever could be nicer? Plus no water tap and no rubbish point.  

We biked back to Tesco’s as we hadn’t had time to do a supermarket sweep at home on the weekend to to endless partying and socialising.  We loaded up so much me with the rucksack and him with the bike basket and carrier bags suspended, we had to wheel the bikes to reduce the risk of a casualty into the canal.

All this on a skinny day too!  

Supper was cod fillets served in a tomato and veg sauce with rice and french beans grown locally in Peru.

To the car saga, what I forgot to mention before was the other thing along with the flat tyres was the handbrake.  It had been attended to by David Lewis, but not tested sufficiently to my liking, i.e. on hills.  This is because he lives in Norfolk, now I live on the Downs.  Foolishly on our return from Thrupp the first night I parked it on our driveway. A steeply sloping driveway. Next day I wanted to pop out, whacked it into reverse (Except it was first gear, they are confusingly close) and almost demolished the garage.  David heard my SCREAMS from inside with the doors shut and ran out, I was shaking like a jelly! David stood behind the car to check the reversing lights were on, “Yes I think so” was his answer….  Later I picked up my daughter from work on the side of the steepest hill in town and showed her the handbrake in action, she just burst into laughter.  Upshot was I had to be whizzy on the clutch, it smelt just a little of burning.  

(I am sure its all fine now David).

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