Saturday, 12 September 2009

live from Slough Canal Festival

It's Saturday afternoon, I've wandered around everything there is to be seen and now I'm back on my boat just enjoying being on the water. There's a few boats here - I'm moored next to Herbie (Neil & Kath even saved me a space, for last night, although they weren't really expecting me until this morning), and the Batchworth trip boat are down here offering trips to the winding hole and back for a pound a go (although a trip to the Slough basin is £4).

This is my first time here, and it's nice enough, a village fete really. BW came down to cut the weeds along the edge, and have been cutting the weed from the bottom of the canal too - but none of it was cleared, so progress was even slower than was to be expected - around six weed hatch clearances in the mile from the moorings to hear, and another four this morning when I turned the boat around first thing. Hopefully it'll be a little clearer on the way back tomorrow, but it certainly isn't a great advert for BW.

I'd got back to Iver yesterday afternoon, after a lovely few days with some unexpected but very welcome company from Kings Langley back to Uxbridge. I always try not to name & shame (despite passing the working boat who tore past me and nearly had me in whilst retying the rubbish barge at Bulls Bridge on the way home from Little Venice), which makes it diffiult to relate the otherwise humourous tale of a boat who's name suggests a bit fo a devil-may-care nature, and yet they had planned each day of their cruise by spreadsheet. We should also report that the pub adjacent to Widewater Lock is possibly the worst canalside pub ever, so don't aim for it as an overnight stop (although the moorings weren't bad). Good weather always helps, and of course it was my first time heading south on the lower Grand Union - I've been up twice, but both times come back down the Oxford & then Thames.

Just opposite Uxbridge Boat Centre a voice called out to ask if I wanted any logs - they were cutting down a couple of small trees in a garden, so I'm the proud owner of a pile of cut wood on the front of the boat, freshly cut from a live tree, so it could be quite a while until they're worth burning. They look good, mind.

Again, pictures to follow when I manage to connect memory card & laptop...

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Lock Gates

A contentious issue, I may as well post something about 'keeping it simple' on 12v electrics on the CWF...

I wherever possible, close lock gates behind me when leaving a lock, obviously unless a boat is ready to come in to the lock. Old working boats didn't, and the trip boat I shared a few locks with today didn't either, and many other boaters these days don't.

I must admit, largely being single handed, being able to go straight in to a lock, or indeed leave one without closing the gate behind me, would save the time & hassle of moving the boat, tying up again and going to open/close the gate. Obviously if they've been left open in the wrong direction, they have to be closed, but the lock needs to be 'turned around' anyway? I guess with leaky gates as common as they are it's best to close both, but as the trip boat guys said, in that case the lock ends up half full, set for neither end.

It's a question of convention & respect, which is which I try to do the right thing. But I'm also happy to apply a bit of logic to the situation. Either way, we probably end up doing about the same amount of work?

Monday, 7 September 2009

Copper Mill Lock

Boat Safety stuff finally sorted; all, impressively all things not down to me, and others shoud have been failed five years ago, like the exhaust not being lagged, and the dip in the diesel filler line. The latter needed a new thread filler and angled hose tail to sort; not cheap, but needs must. Frustratingly the gas failed due to the regulator fitted last year; I could be cynical about ways & means here, but I suspect such connivance may be beyond the organisation concerned. ;-)

I've still got a week off work, so I get to head away for a few days. I've brought the laptop but no card reader, so no pictures for the the time being. It's lovely & great, but I'm still reminded the fundamental truths of when sharing a lock a single hander still does most of the work, slowing down when passing moored boats is a thing of the past, and the moored boat a little bit down from me is STILL running his engine. At least the the latter case it must be more annoying for them than it is for me...