Thursday, 30 April 2015

There and back again and then a funny thing happened!

Since my last post on Sunday, we’ve cruised up the Grand Union to Winkwell (Bourne End) for a couple of days then winded and returned to Hemel Hempstead to take advantage of mooring on the ‘opposite side’ for George to wash and polish that side of Still Rockin’.  We’ve also been down the canal just as far as Sainsburys at Apsley to use the facilities there, catch up on laundry, return up the lock and fill the water tank once more and return to Hemel  for George’s second dental appointment.

Moored opposite the services were ...
C&RT tug Snowdrop with a funnel??

… and this dutch barge, it looks far to big to have come through Boxmore lock bridge!

George’s dental treatment went okay, the dentist has removed the post from the broken crown and drained the infection from the gum and he came home with a lovely smile albeit from a small denture which he determined is not forever.  He’s decided he will have a tooth implanted into the gum and that will need a few more appointments over the next few weeks.  He’s also got a project on the go and wants to be near to B&Q for a few days, but more of that later.
We were surprised to hear the thump-thump of an old engine passing us this morning at 7:30 and delighted to see motor boat Kangaroo towing butty Australia on their way to London and the Little Venice Cavalcade taking place this weekend.

And the funny thing that happened?   During the night I woke up when I heard something; lying awake but not with my eyes open I realised that the porthole bung at the end of the bed had fallen out and lay there trying to figure out which side of the boat was on the towpath but not too bothered as it was still not yet light.  Unbeknown to me it had also woken George who was a bit quicker than me to realise that that was the towpath side and got up quickly to replace it!  Could have been embarrassing an hour or so later!

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Friday, 24 April 2015

Moving on

 Well, we’ve certainly seen some lovely weather this past week or so; the picture above was at 6am a few days ago at the start of another sunny day.

To accommodate my physio appointments over the next 6 weeks and George’s dental treatment (however long that may take), all in Hemel Hempstead, we’ve written to C&RT to advise them that we wish to be in Hemel on the appointment days but to move from Hemel on the ‘other’ days which would mean that we’d not overstay in any one place but would cruise within a limited distance to enable us to return to Hemel as necessary.  We’ve not heard anything back from them yet, but hope that they will look favourably on our plans.
And so this morning we moved on … the first lock of the day at The Fisheries pub
 … where I noticed for the first time the unusually shaped side pond
 Just a couple of miles and three locks later we’re hoping to get a mooring beyond the swing-bridge at Winkwell

 Mission accomplished!
(although we did move a tiny plastic cruiser a couple of feet to get in)
It’s always good to meet blog readers and whilst sitting with a cuppa on the deck once moored up Alastair came along the towpath.  He lives in Hemel and often walks along the canals and recognised the boat, he was invited aboard for a cuppa and we had an interesting conversation including politics and the coming election and how the canalsides have changed over the years.  It was lovely to meet you today Alastair.

We’re off to the pub later for a meal and tomorrow we move on once again.  Our next appointment is for George on Wednesday.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

We have reached our destination

 Leaving North Grove Lock yesterday morning, the first lock of the day and there’s another boat on our tail!  It’s a tad chilly this morning but the sun looks promising.
 At Nash Mills Lock we’re on someone else’s tail as I wait for the lock to be set

Mum and her chicks … there’s always one that dilly-dallies!
 We’re following on the tail of Jules Fuels boats, that’s Richard on the lock beam and Jules waiting on Towcester.
The sun is now high and rather warm and we’ve shed our coats for the first time!
View from the deck for the next few days at Hemel Hempstead.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Photos with a difference

Whilst I walked up to the first lock with our helpers yesterday morning, George brought Still Rockin’ through the very low pound we’d been moored in.  
He’d been scraping the bottom most of the way through!  Diane had mentioned that the water had dropped considerably and that nb Ferndale was now sitting on a ledge!

I apologise in advance for the photos below, I’d somehow changed the setting on my camera, I’ve tried to rectify some of the loss of colour but not very successfully!

We said our goodbyes to Ray and Diane and wish them a good road as they make their way onto the Thames.

Our view at our mooring last night above Hunton Locks

Sunday, 19 April 2015

A rendezvous

 We left our mooring at Rickmansworth yesterday morning

… and passed what looks like an old working boat but not one on the historic narrowboat register (Caldy reg 53638)

 … and this assorted group of moorings, one with a car on the stern and a motorbike on the bow
 … and another curious group alongside a narrowboat was a lovely wooden boat and tug Storm very low in the water

Spring is definitely here now - sunshine, ducks, daffodils and blossom!
…a nesting swan
 … and a nesting Canada Goose - camouflaged in the undergrowth
… and the rendezvous? 
Diane and Ray (nb Ferndale) came aboard for the Grand Tour when we arrived at Cassiobury and more importantly, a laughter filled evening swapping stories, hopes and plans.
The perfect end to a day’s cruising!

Home again and a change of plan

We returned to Still Rockin’ on Tuesday afternoon and our original plan was to turn left as we left the marina and head down towards the Thames for our summer cruising but our plans have had to change!  
You may remember that my finger had been in a splint (plumping cushions should have a health warning!) and I’d seen an A&E consultant and attended a fracture clinic before we went to Scotland to visit family. During our stay I received a telephone call to make an appointment to see an Occupational Therapist who specialises in hand problems, the appointment was for the Wednesday and  a second on Thursday.  We decided to hang on to the hire car and our marina mooring at Harefield for a couple more days to enable me to get to Hemel Hempstead Hospital more easily.  After the second session (which was very painful, but actually got my finger bending again) 4 further appointments have been made taking me through April and May and a hopefully final consultant appointment early in June.  Another set back has been that George has lost a crown from a front tooth so dental appointments have also been made in Hemel.
Leaving our mooring on Friday midday at Harefield, turning right instead of left to return to the  Hemel Hempstead area.

I find Black Jack’s Mill intriguing and wish I knew a bit more about its history.

Who thought of that at Hillingdon Marine!

Business as usual for some on the Grand Union

Coppermill Lock is always a difficult one whether you’re entering or leaving.  The force of water coming from the left in these pictures above is used for white water canoe slaloms and when it’s windy too anything can happen.  Thinking that it would make life easier I got off the boat on the other side of the bridge to open the lock and George was going to ‘hover’ until the gates were open. I rang him when the lock was ready to tell him to put his foot on the gas and he replied “I’m stuck!’ The wind had blown him onto the opposite bank and Still Rockin' was on a ledge somewhere along her length, it took a good 10 minutes to get off before crabbing his way across the flow!
Primroses on the bank
Nothing much has changed since our last couple of journeys this way this year; the monkey is still hanging about

… the hippo is still wallowing but hey, an elephant has been added to the mix too!

We called it a day and put in the pins just above Stokers Lock.  It’s good to be on the move again even though it’s not in the direction we intended.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Time out with the Kelpies!

Saturday in Largs on the west coast of Scotland dawned cold, wet and windy.  We’re off to see the Kelpies on the Forth and Clyde Canal at Falkirk.
Snow on the hills as we approach Falkirk
Our first glimpse of the beasts through the car window, through the rain from the M8. The sat-nav told us that we’d reached our destination on the right, the only problem was that there was no exit here!
Goerge and I with grand-daughters Louise, Joanne and Alice

Inside a Kelpie
We didn’t stay long it was so, so cold!

We also stopped to have another look at the Falkirk wheel
… but the sky loomed dark so we picked up a ‘to-go’ coffee and legged it back to the car!

Crossing lock 16 on the way back to the motorway - plenty of water here.

Sunday evening and the jet-setters return.  The two younger girls went with George to collect them from Glasgow airport; Louise a student nurse has been working a shift in the local care home and is rushing up the drive to welcome them home.
Yesterday morning (Tuesday) we say cheerio to the three lovelies and we head south back to Still Rockin’.  We’ll miss them!