Wednesday, 24 September 2014

A Day of Mellow Fruitfulness.

How dare it rain!  Woke up to the sound of rain hammering on the cratch, peeked out and confirmed it.  Now this was forecast, so not so much of a surprise and they said it would be over by mid morning. So no rush to depart.  We had a wash load to do  So once showered, it was on with the engine, engage the travel power  and washer on.

Having no access to the power grid, all generation is in "Boat". Now we have a normal washer/dryer which runs off 240v. This we obtain via a large alternator on the engine and via an inverter to give us pure sine wave power which the washer likes!  An hour or so later, job done.  Just the drying now. We could use the machine, but this demands constant power and with the prospect of locks ahead, producing consistent power was not on.  Plan B was to engage the system we have whereby the engine can be used to heat the radiators whilst underway.  This is done by passing the cooling water from the engine circuit, through a heat exchanger which passes excess heat into the radiators.  So washing on radiators, get moving and after a few hours, dry shreddies!

By mid morning, the clouds had cleared and we had blue sky, mostly.  But the wind remained a little raw all day.  We were soon approaching the first lock of the day, Radford bottom lock.

These are wide locks and will accommodate two narrowboats, but we were alone.  So we entered using only one gate, then used the paddle on the same side as the boat to fill the lock.  This forces water against the opposite side of the lock chamber to the boat, then back against the side of the boat, holding it against the side.  Once up, out using one gate.  Pretty painless ascent for me as the boat sticks to the side of the lock.  A tad harder for Ali, as these are big gates and the paddles require many a turn to raise them.

After three locks, we arrived at the services.  Some years ago we stopped here and the Elsan disposal point was the most disgusting we had ever come across. The small hut is now gone, replaced by an AL Fresco facility. Clean and odour less, so much improved.  Whilst filling with water, Ali collected a bowl of blackberry's. The briers had climbed into the hedge and fronds of ripe berry's hung above us. At subsequent locks Ali collected Damsons, then Apples from the hedgerow, so a bake seems on the cards.

There was little in the way of boat movement, but most of the locks were in our favour, so on approach it was open the bottom gate, enter, close up then fill.  We had a system which worked well on all bar one lock.  Here a chap was moored above a lock that was in his favour.  As Ali approached the lock, he ran and opened the gate, then went back to untie his boat. Eventually he moved into the lock and Ali helped him work it. As the bottom gate was opened, Ali assumed he was single handed and told him to get on his boat.  At this point his missus appeared!  Takes all sorts I suppose....

By mid afternoon we had reached Long Itchington and called it a day mooring below the bottom lock of the Stockton flight.  Chilled out for the rest of the day.

Miles 5
Locks 10


  1. Found another use for your Muggi I see!

  2. Yep. It does come in handy. Saw them for sale in Bottom lock chandlers in Braunston today, at a really good price.


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