Thursday, 26 February 2015

A bit of excitement, amusement and bliss!

The 30-odd miles an hour gales on Monday took its toll on Still Rockin’ when early in the evening the bow crashed into the opposite side of the canal!  George started the engine and I went to the front to drag the mooring line and pins from the water and disentangle them.  Thank goodness for a bow-thruster but were were amazed and also grateful that it was capable of pushing us, against the high wind, back to the towpath where I quickly got off with rope and pins whilst George came with the lump hammer.  I tried to hold the boat in to the side as George tried to hammer the pins back in; the ground here is either very soft mud or concrete just a few inches down so it’s not a quick job.  Meanwhile I’m slipping and sliding on said mud to the edge of the towpath panicking that I’ll end up wet! Behind me was a way-marker for the trails around the reservoirs and I managed to scramble up the incline and tie the rope around it to hold Still Rockin’ until George was happy that the crossed mooring pins would hold.  Then it was a get ready, go, to untie the rope and thread it through the pins back to the cleat and safely secured. I can tell you we didn’t sleep particularly well that night listening to the ropes creaking and hoping that there wouldn’t be a repeat of that bit of excitement!
I was amused watching the antics of this boat and crew trying (eventually successfully) to get round the corner in the continuing gale force winds on Tuesday here at Marsworth, grounding out on the corner, reversing and grounding again.  They eventually realised that they needed to reverse much further and then take the corner wide, wide, wide and hey presto!

We’ve enjoyed our stay by the reservoirs but it’s now time to move on, the winds have died and the forecast is dry so we upped sticks and descended Marsworth Lock 39.
 The White Lion - planning permission was agreed in 2013 for the a change of use from public house to two residential dwellings but so far nothing seems to be happening.

We disturb a heron trying to catch his breakfast as we cruise past spaces on the visitor moorings below the lock
 … on our way to the sanitary station

The development on the junction of the Grand Union Canal and Aylesbury Canal is ongoing
… and is supposed to be ready for occupation in Spring this year - not long now then!
 The heavy traffic going to and from the building site is taking its toll on the road over the bridge

 New boaters services too.  It looks like four separate rooms - elsan, pump-out, rubbish and ??, I’m assuming that the water tap will stay in the same place as it is now.
Still Rockin’ is 62.5’ long and tied to the last mooring ring by the water tap ...
… and this photo shows that if these houses were finished we would be moored across the bedroom windows (upside-down houses) of two of them, and if another boat came to moor behind, the privacy of all four residences would be compromised.  We spoke to a couple of workmen who informed us that there was no indication on the plans of any sort of barrier between these homes and the towpath. Apart from privacy issues I’m sure there’ll issues from residents with the malodours from the sanitary station facilities when the wind is in the ‘wrong’ direction. Les has a more detailed account of this development on nb Valerie’s blog.

We continue on in the oh so warm sunshine (no coats needed today) to Marworth’s two bottom locks

… where as I exit the bottom lock I disturb another heron which takes off and lands just behind George as he closes the bottom gates, walks past him and takes his luck with an empty lock!
Half twelve sees us moored up a short distance from the lock
… in glorious isolation
… well, nearly!

Chairs out on the back deck, feet up, we sit and have lunch in the lovely warm sunshine; the temperature on Still Rockin’s roof is 18.3 degrees c …. absolute BLISS!
Click on any of the photos to enlarge.

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