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The name describes my demeanour and voice! I love narrowboating and that is why this blog is mainly about the boat and our interaction with it. I have been keeping a log for Sonflower ever since we bought her and moved onto her as our main residence. Some incidents in our boating life have been hilarious, some scary and some down right dangerous. I cannot tell what will come in the future but you can now share them! The crew are an 'ordinary' couple. The Best Mate and I.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Marsworth to Rickmansworth

We rose early on Wednesday and got started as soon as the greaser was done and the bilge was pumped out. We passed our previous day's locking partner, nb Jess after two locks and settled into a routine.

Going up in Lock 37
Between locks, Marsworth flight
We ascended the main flight with a little assistance from the lock keeper who passed us after the first lock and told us the remainder would be set for us. We got to the summit at 9.15, just as the CRT volunteers were coming on shift. They did close the last gate for us after we left!

They told us a boat was being craned out at the yard as if that was exciting. We told them to give assistance to nb Jess as the crew were not well.

We navigated the Tring cutting and noticed a pair of kingfishers. One of them sitting on a branch in full view as we passed him or her. The other buzzed past the boat in a characteristic blue flash and disappeared into a tree. Their nest hole was easily seen and recognisable. It was quite a treat and the subject of conversation for a long time with a lady on Cowroast lock later in the day.

sunshine Spring cruising

The visitor mooring at Tring looked in a really sorry state. It would be difficult to get alongside to moor there at all because the bank edge is in such bad condition.

Across the lock, why not
We arrived at Cowroast Marina and entered to use the pump out facility. DIY, £15 cash only excluding blue (not provided since BWML took over). With fresh tank and no list the entry and exit maneuvering was worth it even if we did nearly hit Eric and Sally on the way out as they passed the marina entrance.  Our progress was soon halted at the lock where the paddles were chained shut because CRT were working on the next lock down. Sally and Eric were across the gates.

"No problem", we thought but soon heard that the stoppage would be until 6pm the following day (Thursday). To achieve our plan we still had at least 30 hours cruising to do by Friday evening!  I moored on the waterpoint above the lock. "Tut tut" I here you say! A first for me!

If you have time to lean you have time to clean
We settled  down to wash and clean the boat and decided to get food at the nearby Cowroast Inn. However their kitchen is not open on Monday to Wednesday! So we took a bus into Berkhamstead and dined at Porters. Very nice too. Two steaks and a bottle of house red was just what we needed.                 4 miles, 6½ furlongs and 8 locks  (4hr)

The next morning, Thursday,  we continued to fix and clean giving the brass a first clean of the year. We went into town again for lunch. Again at Porters. You can't have too much of a good thing. The hand raised steak, guiness and mushroom pie was delicious and I had another lemon creme brulee!

We returned to the boat from Berkhamstead after a nice lunch in Porters and a visit to the amazing WAH DIY shop. This is two floors of floor to ceiling shelving with just about everything you need. And if you haven't found it they will tell you "upstairs, centre aisle about a yard from the end, on the second shelf up" (that's for 0 gauge wire wool: the 00, 000 and 0000 gauge are below and the 1, 2 etc gauge are above!). It was about 2pm and there was a boat in the lock!

We quickly made ready and were there to take our place as the second pair of boats to descend. No-one was coming up though which as disappointing. And so it was all the way into Berkhamstead and beyond. We had great partners. Nb Pavo (of Idle Women fame when it was Kit's butty; GUCC No 327.) She now is a motty boat with a restored Lister JP2 and blows smoke rings at will.  Their crew stopped for provisions at Waitrose so nb Aloysious took their place. Their locking partner was delayed by the loss of spectacles into the cut. They were retrieved by paddling and feeling with bare feet!
paddling for specs 'tween boat and bank

So a very successful afternoon making past Winkwell Skew Railway Bridge just after sunset.          5 miles, 5½ furlongs and 15 locks

We rose early on Friday and found it was raining. We thought we would try to get to Uxbridge or at least to a convenient place to get the bus to retrieve our car. We needed to be back in Banbury for Saturday morning. Light rain turned into torrential rain and then we had a short sunny period before more rain set in. We were soaked and soon our waterproofs were letting in water at the seams. With only a short stop for breakfast in Common Moor Lock we worked on, finally succumbing to the weather after Batchworth Lock. We moored on the visitor moorings here, changed our clothes and left them dripping on newspaper in front of the fire to dry and walked to Rickmansworth Station to catch the Green Line bus back to Uxbridge. The day was completed with fish and chips in the comfort of our little flat!

                                                 10 miles, 6¼ furlongs and 21 locks  (9.1/2 hours)

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