Down to Whiltons (Again)

Left Friday afternoon for a two-day trip to Whiltons.  Our stern gland is still playing up, so Whiltons said they will have a look and repair it at cost price.  Trouble is the boat needs to come out of the water, which means we can’t be on it while they fix it.  So we are off down to Kent for an overnight stop. Or for however long it will take to fix it.

So as I said we left Friday afternoon and moored up for the night on the Oxford about an hour away from Braunston.  I’d been to the hairdressers in the morning and she had told me there was a festival on, on Saturday at Braunston.  At the Admiral Nelson pub which is right in the middle of the locks.  We were expecting it to be busy.  And it actually wasn’t too bad.  We were joined at the locks early on Saturday morning, by two couples in a hire boat, who were hoping to moor up close to the festival which they managed to do.  We carried on after the locks and went through the tunnel.  We have a super dooper new tunnel light on the front which makes it much easier now for Martyn to see going through.  Maggie still didn’t like it but she was a bit calmer as we weren’t hitting the walls so much.  We moored up just after the tunnel in the cutting.  It was sunny when we moored up but an hour later, the heavens opened.  I don’t think I have seen so much rain in such a short space of time.  It was literally bouncing off the water of the canal in great big drops.  I took some pictures but I am having trouble downloading them onto the computer.  The card reader is playing up I think.

Sunday morning dawned bright and beautiful and we eventually set off for the next seven locks down to Whilton marina.  We were joined by another hire narrow boat with some lovely people on it.  Most of them were young lads and I found out they came from Canvey Island which is close to where I used to live in Leigh on Sea.  They were extremely helpful and each lock was easy to do.  When we got to the first lock, there were boats already in it going the same way as us.  I went down through the tunnel under the road to the other side (of the road not the canal) to see if any boats were coming up.  There weren’t so when the two boats left the lock we shut the gates and started filling the lock again so our boats could go in.  The lock was just under half full when this woman appeared and started emptying the lock saying we should have waited for them and not shut the gates.  It was fine with me, it saves water after all but I was a bit peed off that she assumed it was her lock when she had not been in sight when I had looked.  She said she had been surprised when they had reached the lock that the gates were shut as she had seen the two boats that had left.  I don’t know how she expected anyone to be able to see round a corner but she definitely wasn’t there when I had looked.  Anyway, her partner appeared with his boat and came into the lock.  She shut the gate, which she struggled with because it’s a really heavy one.  I had gone back to our boat but was walking back when she was trying to close it.  One of the lads from the hire boat went to open the paddle and she shouted out for him to do it slowly but he didn’t and the chap on the boat really shouted at the lad, telling him to leave it alone! There was an elder person with the lads and he went and shouted at the bloke on the boat, there was a bit of argy bargy.  The woman said to me he had got the hump because no one helped her shut the gate.  Well perhaps she should have asked.  People aren’t mind readers.  The blokes from the hire boat walked away and I helped her do the lock gates.  It was all a bit of a palaver but we eventually got moving again and all was well.

It was quite enjoyable going through the locks with the hire boat.  The lads were helpful and a couple of times it meant I could go to the next lock and set it before they got there.

Eventually we reached Whiltons and moored up outside.  They know we are here and are booked in for tomorrow morning.  Really hoping this will be the last time we have to come here.

These two photos are the only ones the card reader let me download.  They were taken on Friday evening as I was preparing the dogs dinners.  I had the swan hatch open and this parent swan and four cygnets appeared.  The parent swan was almost trying to get in through the hatch so I threw some dog kibble out which they all gobbled up quickly.





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