Wednesday, 19 November 2014

What a welcome back to the ditches!

An early start this morning 7:45 reversing out of our mooring at Brentford

...  passing The Riverside Hospital for cosmetic surgery

... to use the services in the basin just above the gauging lock.

Not long after leaving the basin we lost all power on Still Rockin’ and George makes his first visit down the weed hatch

... meanwhile the boat swung across the canal; it’s a good job we didn’t see another boat moving all day!

This was the mess we were greeted with in Hanbury bottom lock, the gates are open and George is trying to flush the rubbish out by letting water down, not that it worked well but he managed to get in by not using power as he passed through the rubbish

This was beyond the top gates so I got the boat pole and moved some of the heavier stuff away from the gate on this side so that I could open it

... when Still Rockin’ rose in the lock George used the pole to remove these obstacles from the other gate!

... and there was more rubbish on the bend above the lock by the weir.

I walked on and set the next lock and when the gates were open I went back to see where George was - he was here stuck fast in the silt that has come down the river Brent. It’s now 11am

... just where it says ‘You are Here!’

This is the River Brent, it looks so benign it’s difficult to believe that all the problems we’d had so far this morning all came from here!

We did eventually get free (after calling CRT 3 times and the operator not being able to find anyone to speak to us!) by reversing out of the gloop and taking a wider passage past the obstruction!

Once past the confluence with the river all was well although it was now 10 past 1 as we reached Asylum Lock. The notice board explains that the barge in the picture was breaking the national strike in May 1926 by taking coconut oil to a nearby margarine factory and is being operated by the Royal Navy and protected by special constables. (click to enlarge the picture to read more)
 This is the same scene today.

The next few locks went smoothly apart from rubbish on the propeller and George decided that once we got to the top lock he would go down the weed hatch again
... an this was the haul - electric cable, zips, plastic banding and lots of carrier bags!

Whilst George was sorting this out I had some help from a very nice gentleman; he was a retired archeologist and is currently a translator.  He had just finished translating for an Ethiopian at the nearby Medical Centre and came to talk to me and help me with the gates, I hope he reads this, it was so good to meet him and I wish him well in the future.

No more locks so we took the opportunity at 2:30 to eat our lunch and have a very welcome cuppa while we cruised on to eventually moor at Bulls Bridge.


Sue said...

Oh that was an awful trip. I would think the build up of silt might be due to the fact that the Police had that section of the canal closed for such a long time while they investigated the murder of Alice Gross.

I like the pic of "Where we are now".. At the top it says "Short cut".. You didn't happen to take that route did you!

Carol said...

You could well be right Sue! Well done for noticing the notice - when I took the picture I thought ‘I wish!’ but the Brent in unnavigable!

Les Biggs said...

Hello Carol
About 5 years ago I got stuck on that very spot. A boat with me who was still in the lock had to tow me off. On reaching Brentford we were told it is a regular thing with the muck coming down the Brent and they did clear it now and again.
Les (also still rockin but very slowly)

Carol said...

Hi Les, good to hear from you! I spoke to a local whilst we were stuck and he said that area was dredged earlier in the year sometime in August he thought which would have made it clear when we travelled down to the Thames. Hoping to see you both in the not too distant future as we wend our way northwards. Keep rocking’ xx