Friday, 29 January 2016

A beautiful day for a walk

That was yesterday; -3 when we got up, +6 just a couple of hours later and measuring a balmy 12 when we set out.

Contractors are renewing the wooden barriers along the water front opposite our mooring and a good job they’re making of it too.
 Troy Cut, there is a path on the left but too muddy to explore at the moment.
 Lots of these birds around here, I think they’re Little Terns.
Molly trots on ahead and look what’s on the bridge parapet
 … he/she’s a beauty!
 Unusual weir here and lots of tumbling water too
 … with Pynesfield Lake beyond which is part of the Colne Valley Regional Park and consists of over 60 lakes.
Couldn’t resist putting these photos on the blog; he certainly is a beautiful swan.
 Taking a peep over the hedge into the land surrounding
 … which is for sale at a cool £2,450,000!
 We continued our walk over Black Jack’s Bridge and up the hill
 … from where you can see for miles and miles even past the motorway
Our circular walk is nearly finished when we see this information plaque giving details of a walk which includes the few miles we’ve just done.  As an added bonus we discover that a bus runs from here every 20-minutes to Uxbridge which may come in very handy for collecting our post.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Oh what fun at Springwell!

A promising day yesterday morning just after 7:30.  A bit later than planned but that extra half-hour of continued sleep was very welcome.  A good day to be cruising.
I’m lock wheeling again today and really enjoying the exercise although here I’m sitting on a handy towpath bench above Stockers Lock with the sun on my face waiting for Still Rockin’ to appear after cruising past a long, long line of moored boats. 

The lock gates were already open (either because the previous boater had left them that way or they had drifted open under their own volition) and the bottom gates here are very leaky!  While George was closing the gates he noticed that the water below had overflowed onto the towpath. This lock is due to close for maintenance between 26th February and 8th March. 
Springwell Lock was such fun!  
The towpath past the moored boats was sodden by the overflowing canal and I arrived to see the water pouring over the top gates. Consequently I couldn’t budge the balance beam one inch to open the gate so I walked to the other side of the lock and saw that the water was also pouring over the bottom gates too.  I tried the opposite gate but  that wouldn’t move either.  I rang George to ask him to pull over above the lock as I needed him to help with the gates, he told me that the water in the pound between Stockers and Springwell locks was very low
 … and this was the reason why!
We pulled over to the water point after dropping down Copper Mill Lock in sight of the Coy Carp pub. Another building has appeared on the off-side as well as a huge wall and I wondered how long it would take for a boat to be moored there.  Whilst the water tank filled we spent a very pleasant 45-minutes sitting on the back deck with a cuppa; the temperature on the roof was 18 degrees and there was 16 amps going into the batteries from the solar panels.  George was well chuffed!  The wind started to build up as we waited there and we were glad that we’d not got much further to go as our plan was to moor a couple of hundred yards past the pub.
But before that we have the rapids to contend with coming from the left before the bridge so I stayed in the bow (pointy end) to take some pictures as George gunned the revs to prevent us from crashing into the other side of the canal or indeed the bridge!
Phew, done it …  back onto calm waters!
The view from the bow this morning as the winds from America start to hit Britain. The wind is currently blowing directly at the bow so Still Rockin’ is moving gently between the mooring ropes and not banging into the canalside every few minutes.

We hope that all our boating friends further north stay safe, warm and dry during these storms.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Soapy ice on the towpath

Molly “follows the sun - turn up your speaker!

She’s always trying to find a patch of sunlight to sit in and when it’s too high she will sit and look longingly at it and then try to find a way to make it shine on her.  Yesterday this was easy!

Canal banks are set at different heights and here at Rickmansworth visitor moorings the bank is low and when we use the shower the water shoots with some force across the towpath.  We hadn’t realised this on the first morning we were moored here until later when we saw the sudsy water frozen on the path.  I hope we didn’t shower any pedestrians!

To prevent this happening again George has rigged up a barrier on the metal piling using a large plastic lid which we can remove and take away with us should the need to use it occur again.
You can see that the shower water has scoured the towpath and run into a puddle which has frozen making the towpath hazardous. Molly is looking less than impressed though!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016


The maximum temperature yesterday rose to a very chilly 4-degrees and the sun was blinding as we walked into Rickmansworth, our first visit to the town.  It was so cold we only visited the couple of shops that we needed to before returning to our mooring.
There were lights on at the Church of St Mary the Virgin so we popped inside … it was lovely and warm in there but we only stayed long enough to take a few pictures with my phone.

A beautiful church obviously well used.  I especially liked the High Alter with its vibrant windows above, the vaulted wooden ceiling and the 14 stations of the cross around the walls.  We will return another day to have a good look around.
This morning is another chilly one, just minus 8-degrees and the canal is frozen. According to the weather forecast we can expect another very cold night tonight with temperatures of a similar value as this morning and then on Friday it will be wet but warmer so we’re staying put for now.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Minus 9 degrees!

Yesterday dawned a bit warmer and the snow had gone as we readied Still Rockin’ to move on
… the slight wind that was blowing had an icy feel so Molly tucks herself well down in her blankets
This is at Lot Mead Lock and shows the air holes by the gate paddles; I’ve seen them often but these are in beautifully sculptured ‘basins’ and I wondered if they (the basins) were done naturally by standing water in days gone by … anyone got any other ideas?
A very long stretch of moorings on both sides of the Grand Union Canal after Lot Mead Lock.  The ones on the left as we came down are designated ‘Residential' and the ones on the right where this sign is are ‘Long Term Moorings - Permits Required”.  I don’t think that this sign, and the one at the other end of these moorings, is official as they had no C&RT logo etc., on them.  This caused me to wonder once again about the difference in Long Term, Permanent and Residential as it applies to mooring on the canals.  As I understand it to have a designated ‘Residential’ mooring you have a post-code and are liable to pay council tax and you don’t have to move/cruise your boat/home; so what about the other two mooring opportunities?  Do they have to move every so often and if so how often and is that movement enforced?
We arrived at our destination at lunch time and afterwards I did I gigantic, enormous shop at Tesco’s.  We were fortunate to be able to slip into an exact Still Rockin’ sized mooring opposite and planned to move off in the morning.
 A stunning sunset taken at 16:45 last evening (by George)
 And this morning - nearly minus 9 and we’ve decided to stay here until it warms up a bit!