Saturday, 23 May 2015

Back to Base.

(Thursday 21st May - Boat Sickle - posted by Alan)

Slapton lock.
We awoke still some three feet from the bank, and fairly obviously on the bottom.  The unusual shape of "Sickle's" hull often means that where we are not able to get to the bank when we moor up, it slowly works away the silt on the bottom, and you awake to find slack lines, and less of a jump to get ashore.  This was certainly not the case at Ivinghoe - the bottom seemed remarkably solid, and quite a bit of the bottom of "Sickle" seemed to be wedged on it.

 Our friends don't chose to travel as far in a day as we often do, so we agreed that as they needed to stop in Leighton Buzzard we would work with them until there, but then carry on alone.

"Sickle" leads "Fiddlers Green" away from Grove Church lock.
Cath had already started walking Odin to the next lock, when it became apparent that "Sickle" really was well "stuck to the bottom" - if I could move it at all, and get one end any further from the bank, the result was just that the other end came closer.  We were on a pivot mid way along the boat, and neither poling nor engine power initially got us off.  Fortunately Steve was able to give us a pull with his boat, and initially I seemed to float free, many more feet from the bank.  However having separated the two boats, as soon as I moved forward, I grounded again, so we had to repeat the whole process a second time.

Waiting for Grove lock to fill
After that we made steady progress towards Leighton, but, as before, most locks were not in out favour, and had to be filled before we could enter them.

At Grove lock we said our farewells to out travelling companions, and set off ahead.  It is unusual for us not to make a shopping stop at Leighton, where there is a remarkably convenient store, but today we had no need.  As we passed Wyvern Shipping, (boats 4 abreast today!), there were clearly new hirers taking over, but none, it seemed yet set off - always a bonus!

Steve and I - probably about 10 yeras since we last met!
At Stoke Hammond "Three Locks" the local IWA branch were doing a "we work you through the locks" event.  I knew the thorny question of a "man with a bucket" would eventually arise, but I am very unhappy with much of what senior people in the IWA do, even if it has many good ordinary members. Far easiest would have been to throw in a few quid, but given some of the things said by their representatives in print, and at recent meetings, I really don't want to be funding them at all.
The anticipated "man with a bucket" didn't actually approach until they had insisted on working the locks, so there feels to be pressure to donate, (or at least that is how we see it).  However, although I engaged him politely throughout, the collector  initially seemed dumbstruck when I told him why there would be no fiver from me. So I talked to him further, and he asked my "what in particular don't you like?". I was then able to tell him in some detail. It would be nice if he fed this up his organisation - though I rather doubt he will.

Descending "Three Locks"
No doubt some will see me as a cheapskate, but I have strong principals about how all boaters should be treated, and I do believe that the IWA currently unfairly writes of many people who have boats. So after reflecting on it, I'm still comfortable I didn't cave in to pressure, and just pay up.

After that an easy passage saw us back to our home mooring, although the amount of clearing, cleaning and car loading we found it necessary to do still surprised us.  If we are going to keep switching boats, we really do need to start to get more organised about moving stuff between each of them, or between either and home!

Overall though, a very enjoyable trip to and from "Ricky" and also a very enjoyable festival itself.  It had been a difficult decision whether we just went and enjoyed some boating, or try and progress work on "Flamingo".  I'm rather glad we decided to "play" rather than to work!

Ivinghoe to Fenny Stratford
Miles: 13.2, Locks: 12
Total Miles: 73.2, Locks: 122

1 comment:

  1. I would take the view that that sort of behaviour is almost demanding money with menaces or at the very least obstructing your lawful passage. What for instance would have been the situation if the lock crew had caused you and yours any 'harm' by there actions. Al a bit like the teams of 'chuggers' that block town centres. You were very brave although I don't necessarily agree with some of your views re. fellow boaters. I can receive you emails but you cannot receive mine. I look forward to seeing you all soon.


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