Thursday, 25 October 2018

Is it really time to go home?

Monday October 22nd; into the marina

No oversleeping this morning!  On the move at 9 sharp, Dave brought Chuffed round Hanbury Junction to join the Droitwich Junction canal where I was ready to prepare the locks.

2 round the junction

It was far too early to expect volunteers to be around of course.  This shot of the ground paddle in operation at the top lock shows why it’s important to take care at locks.

3 fierce ground paddle

The Hanbury locks have side ponds, used to save water.  Whether you are filling or emptying a lock, you should always use the side paddles to either take water from the side pond if you are filling the lock, or to top it up if you are emptying the lock, before closing the side paddles and switching to the lock paddles as normal.  Either the last boat down last night didn’t do this, or the side pond leaks.

4 empty side pond

But it soon looked like this, all ready for the next boat.

5 full side pond

The fence alongside the top lock has been adorned with jolly CRT bunting and a suitably decorated car tyre.  Am I being a touch cynical in hoping it’s all well secured?

6 crt tyre

The bottom gates on these locks don’t like staying open, so props have been supplied to stop them closing on your boat as it goes through.

7 gate prop

It was another glorious morning, and it seemed a shame to be putting Chuffed to bed for the winter.  But even if we’d changed our minds and decided to go round the Droitwich ring again, we couldn’t have done it - the staircase lock is closed from today for cill repairs.  A walking group kindly made sure we were aware that it was closed off this morning, but we had a stoppage notice a while ago, which is why we went round the ring the way we did.  But it was tempting to turn round and go back up the locks …..

8 dog pram

The gentleman on the towpath is a regular along here.  His little dog is unwell and has little energy, but still loves her walkies, even though she doesn’t do much actual walking.  She sits in her dog buggy, alert and paying attention.  We wonder if she will still be here in the spring.

We were tied up by 10 and getting on with cleaning.  Sadly there wasn’t enough time to walk down to the staircase lock to have a look.  It was straight up on the roof for me, to sweep off the accumulated leaves and twigs from the cruise, followed by Dave with a bucket and brush to clean off the sticky spots and bird poo.  Between us we emptied the kitchen cupboards, cleaned the stove and set the fire, did the engine checks and all the other bits and pieces and removed the batteries from the fire and carbon monoxide alarms.  The CO alarm reaches its expiry date soon so a new one will be obtained for next season.

A neighbour was having his engine serviced by an independent mechanic who does a lot of work in the marina.  Dave asked him to look at our engine before we went – there is a vibration he is concerned about.  One of the engine mountings is failing, so Dave has booked him to do the replacement next month.

So we left an hour later than we had planned, as the air became chilly in the late afternoon. We haven’t fully winterised yet, the water tank still having water in it, so Dave will come up again when Gordon has been to do the engine mountings to finish off.

½ mile, 3 locks

Trip stats;

20 miles, 7¼ furlongs and 33 locks on the Droitwich Junction, Droitwich Barge and Worcester & Birmingham canals, and the river Severn.

10 miles, 4½ furlongs of narrow canals; 21 narrow locks.

5 miles, 7½ furlongs of broad canals; 11 broad locks.

4 miles, 3¼ furlongs of large rivers; 1 large lock.

3 swing bridges to open, and 4 tunnels to go through (Dunhampstead, A449, Impney Way and M5 Motorway Tunnels).