Saturday 28th June
I’m getting really behind with this blog. It’s Thursday 3rd July in real time – I am put to shame by those who blog the day things actually happen! The generally good weather has a lot to do with it I think.
Anyway, after our rather disturbed night we still managed to be up and away before 9, as we were going down to Ware to meet my old school friend Pat and her husband Tony at 11. We do wish we had been at the visitor moorings (below) last night! This should have been a picture of where we were actually moored, but my camera is misbehaving and we’d gone round the bend by the time Dave took this on his camera.
and Meg was very patient as we waited by the reeds. Looking a bit bored I think.
We stopped at Ware above the bridge where Pat and Tony arrived in bright sunshine. After a coffee we had a lovely cruise down to Stanstead Abbotts. These gazebos, as they are known, are a feature of Ware – you feel they should really be boathouses.
We went down Hardmead lock in sunshine – luckily Pat and Tony had been on canal holidays before so weren't at all fazed by locks. Just as well, as the gates are pretty heavy.
Such a shame the rain started by the time we got to Stanstead lock! A car was waiting to cross the swing bridge and the crew was so slick in closing it the car was over and gone before Dave could pick up his camera! Well done Tony.
We got an excellent mooring under the trees at the bridge in Stanstead Abbotts. It was raining quite hard, and we had hoped to go to the Jolly Fisherman which is close by, but it was packed out so we walked up the High Street. We passed the first pub which had become a Thai restaurant, and on to the next which was attached to an Italian restaurant. Excellent beer from the pub part and a good lunch in the restaurant part too. And entertainment from wedding guests to a nearby venue teetering past in their high heels avoiding the puddles and trying to keep their hair-dos and hats dry!
After lunch we waved goodbye to Pat and Tony who caught the train back to Ware to collect their car. It was great to see you both again after all this time!
We carried on down to Feilde’s lock where we topped up the water tank, and continued to Dobb’s Weir lock. We had hoped to go on further in spite of the rain, but there were two day boats faffing about above the lock. Someone from a moored boat said they had been there for 20 minutes already, because ‘the bottom gates wouldn’t close’ and apparently they had emptied and refilled the lock a couple of times to try and fix it. I wandered down to see what the problem was – the bottom gates were certainly leaking quite badly, but also the paddles weren’t quite closed. Many of the Lee locks have this chunky kind of catch on the paddle gear – it’s about 2 inches square in section - and when the paddle is down, the catch sits just over the top of the upright bit (sorry can’t remember the proper names). They had unfortunately carefully located them in the top notch, leaving the paddle just open enough to prevent the lock filling. So a problem easily solved.
As it was now almost 5 we decided to stay where we were, so after a dog walk in the rain we settled down for an evening in. Just a bit of bread and cheese after our excellent lunch!
7 miles 5 locks.