Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Rickmansworth Bound

(Boat Sickle - posted by Alan)

Dilemma, dilemma!  Decisions, decisions!

Stoke Hammond
We now realise we have a gargantuan task to turn "Flamingo" into the boat we would love her to be, and progress is depressingly slow so far.  In all honesty so far it has been very much about assessing what we have, and trying to find short term tasks that move us forward, but which will not get thrown away when e do start to attempt to do far more major things.

So when Cath and I manage to grab a few consecutive days, and actually produce some positive results, clearly we would dearly like to keep up the momentum, and do more of the same.

Leighton Lock
But, of course we still own another very serviceable boat that has lain somewhat neglected on its moorings whilst we have acquired "Flamingo" and prepared "Chalice" for sale, and even managed to get her sold.

My skirmishes with multiple hospitals have not helped, and it seems that we are constantly torn between progressing with the "new" boat, or actually going out and doing the fun things we love.

We missed the Rickmansworth Festival last year, (and several other events as well), because then it was Odin who was having his own "hospital moment".  So we very much wanted to do it this year, but it would stop us progressing "Flamingo".  Curiously the idea of a week or so of boating has won over from cleaning engine room bilges, repairing fractured oil pipes, or trying to stop a central heating system from emptying out its water on a regular basis.

Sharing Grove Lock
So today had us heading for "Sickle", hoping the engine would start, and that we had not "borrowed" so much from it to use on "Flamingo" that we would be struggling!  We shouldn't have worried about the Lister of course - that always starts, and we eventually seemed to have enough "stuff" to survive.

However we didn't want to make life too easy for ourselves, so Cath had also promised we would manage to get near Ivinghoe, where she does Morris on a Tuesday evening!  We left Sickle's mooring late enough to make this a bit of a challenge(!)

Ivinghoe Top Lock
It was a gorgeous day for boating, and initially we were storming through  Then we encountered a Wyvern Shipping hire boat, and started sharing locks with them, but at each lock they got into extreme difficulties trying to leave it, to the extent that we were so far down the canal each time that when we turned a bend, our last view of them was still diagonally across the last lock mouth.  Eventually at Slapton they were nowhere to be seen, so we carried on through - they arrived just about as we left.

Normally the journey up through what boatmen used to call "the Fields" at Ivinghoe seem very sedate, with lots of hold ups.  Today, however, we got lucky, with many of the locks not only empty, but with bottom gates open so we could motor right in.  If I'm honest, only this luck got us to where we wanted to be in time, but in the end we did easily.

Seabrooke Top Lock - Last of the day.
The down side of the day only came as we moored up - there seemed to be considerably more oil under the engine than I might have expected.  "Sickle's" engine has never been oil tight, and some leakage goes with the territory, but this looked rather worse - perhaps Ricky wasn't going to happen after all?  But this was firmly "to investigate tomorrow".

Not just Cath and I, but also Odin, were all collected by car, (thanks Peter!), and taken to Cath's Morris session - I'm becoming a bit of a Morris "camp follower" these days, it seems!  The pub in Ivinghoe is dog friendly, so a much appreciated drink was enjoyed to round off the day.

Oh - did I mention it was my birthday?  No?  Well it was, and very good to be boating again!  I had an excellent birthday!

Fenny Stratford to Cooks Wharf
Miles: 15.0, Locks: 15
Total Miles: 15.0, Locks: 15


  1. Do you find yourselves wondering why you gave up Chalice?
    Happy Birthday for yesterday, it was a lovely day to be out boating.
    Kath (nb Herbie)

  2. No better way to celebrate a birthday than enjoying an overdue cruise - though I guess you could have done without the oily present.

    Best wishes


  3. It is kind of hard to explain to anybody who hasn't fully got the old boat bug why......

    1) You might choose to sell a moderately well soirted and well equipped easy to handle "leisure" boat, and replace it with a lumbering great near 80 yera old hulk needing a virtual refit.

    or even

    2) Why you might choose to squash 2 of ytou and a dog into an 8 foot cabin with few facilities instead of spreading youselves through 30 or 40 feet of well appointed cabin.

    Unfortunately we have "the bug" big style, so whilst we are sorry to see "Chalice" pass to a new owner, we were ready to do something a bit more "off the wall".

    As we have tried boating through pouring rain today (Thursday) I did start to doubt our sanity, but only briefly. Now warm in our back cabin, competing with the dog for 2 square foot of floor space, I'm at peace with this life.

  4. That is really nice. And I envy you. If I were just a few years younger I imagine I would do the same. :-)
    Kath (nb Herbie)


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