Tuesday, 17 May 2016

First day of organised "appointments"

(Boat Flamingo - posted by Alan)

The immaculate FMC Josher "Holland" owned by a friend.
So one consequence of yesterday's long day it seems is that I have become somewhat sun-burnt.  I must admit I never gave the possibility a second thought, but clearly I was outside a very long while, and although it was not an exceptionally hot day, much of it was indeed sunny. We live and (don't always!) learn, it seems

Sharing with "Hyperion" in Dudswell bottom lock.
When we first bought our first boat "Chalice" some 11 years ago it was always based in the area we are now boating through, so most trips inevitably involved the stretch of canal either North or South of Tring summit.  However as our home moorings have progressively moved to the North we now only boat the waterway close to our home town only occasionally.  In fact our last trip over Tring summit was a full year ago, when we were taking "Sickle" to last year's Rickmansworth festival.  Incidentally, currently repeating that trip would be a challenge, because although myself, Cath and Odin the dog could just about fit into "Sickle's" back cabin, the arrival of our second dog Max is probably a step too far, and we have not yet worked out a way the four of us might share that small space.  We have far more space in "Flamingo's" very large conversion of a full working boat hold.

"Bushes" lock, Northchurch
So today we found ourselves in the slightly odd situation that on Saturday it took us just about an hour to drive from our home in Bekhamsted to where"Flamingo" is moored in Northamptonshire, but that we have spent about the equivalent of three full cruising days to get back there!

A few unexpected things happened with the engine across Tring summit, but these seemed to largely resolve themselves before we reached the first downhill lock at Cow Roast - just as well because such work that the engine may eventually require is far beyond my basic mechanical abilities.

Top "Gas" lock, Berkhamsted
At Cow Roast Phil on the fuel boat "Hyperion" who we passed facing in the opposite direction advised us he was about to turn and head South again, so we waited for him to join us in the lock before continuing. Phil only had one further boat he knew he needed to top up with diesel on his return through Berkhamsted, so it was no bother to wait while he did that, (surprisingly quickly in fact), and we then worked down into the centre of Berkhamsted with him.  Unlike yesterday's struggle though pounds North of Tring summit that were heavily depleted of water, today all but one of the pounds were fully up South of the summit, (the exception bring the one from "Bushes" lock to top "Gas" lock - which often seems low.

Bottom "Gas" lock, Berkhamsted
At Berkhamsted we stopped for the first of several appointments over this trip - I was able to quickly walk to my doctor's surgery, where a nurse removed the stitches from the operation on my left shoulder two weeks earlier.  Because it was keyhole surgery there were only three very small incisions , each fastened by a single suture.  The  nurse advised all had healed well.  We also had an interesting chat because her son is looking to buy a boat to live on in the area - I was able to give her some information on how much more difficult that is becoming for some people, and suggested he needs to do some serious research before committing to the lifestyle!

On our own again - Broadwater lock, Berkhamsted
Cath then did a supermarket shop, whilst we negotiated with home about how son David would join us on board - it needed the collaboration of son Michael to drive him down with masses of stuff, as, like Cath he would be performing that evening with New Moon Morris at the Rising Sun pub.  We decided Cath and I must move the boat down a couple of locks more for access to the pub, and David would be delivered to us there.

Our overnight mooring.
Maybe Cath will add something about their dance session, but to explain a little in the world of Morris dancing it is often the case that if one "side" is dancing at a venue, they invite along one or more other sides.  In this case "Wicket Brood" from St Albans invited "New Moon" from Ivinghoe.  The same had happened last year, but Cath had been unable to attend that time.  Today our journey had been carefully planned to make it possible - the second arranged "appointment" of this trip.  I even got brave and joined in some parts on melodeon, but frankly I was pretty naff!  Stage fright, I guess - I had played the tunes reasonably well at a rehearsal little over a week earlier, but my brain and fingers had other ideas tonight!

This video has appeared which gives a good, if brief, impression of the festivities at the Rising Sun

Bulbourne Junction to Berkhamsted
Miles: 6.2, Locks:8
Total Trip Miles: 51.7, Locks: 40

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