Tuesday, 12 July 2011

We didn't mean to go to Thatcham

Monday dawned incredibly fair so we set off early.   Blue sky, no wind and a lovely stretch of the canal...what more could one ask for.  We both did a bit of walking with Barney (Geoff still suffering from Man Flu!)
The boat moored in front of us before we departed had two very tall aerials...hope he had a good picture.   We had had a very acceptable picture with our ting £9.99 job.
Just a bit further up was moored this diddly little boat.  He was moored very securely with a bow line, a stern line and a mid line and also a fore and aft spring line........
Our second lock of the day was Garston Lock which according to our guide book is the sole remaining turf sided chamber.   I am glad there are not many of these as they are not friendly locks.
This walkway is the only access to the boat from the shore once you are in the lock.
One of the many pill boxes along this canal.
Apparently the military identified the K&A as a Blue Defence Line in the second World War hence the large number of Pill Boxes along the route....
Sulhamstead Lock has curved sides and that in itself is not a problem however there are some nasty protuberances which need watching
By now it was becoming decidedly hot, so when Geoff spied a possible mooring place just before Tyle Mill Lock he suggested we stop. I was not initially over enthusiastic as there were cows around but complied with his request to try and get Petroc alongside.  I managed to get the bows in but not the stern.......no problem......well not until Tuesday anyway.
As we came in to moor we say Rock & Roll again....we have been bunny hopping with them for a few days but never moored in the same place........we had done so now but only briefly as they were shortly moving on.
We met no other boats going our way so had to do all the locks alone.  So far Geoff is being quite good at opening the paddles very slowly but but going up a double lock with only one boat in is a pain.

We had discussed briefly have a reasonably early start on Tuesday, but Geoff came with my cup of tea at 0610am, fully dressed and a big grin on his face (Man Flu receding!) and said he thought we could move over to the water point and then get ourselves fully up!!
So once again I did as I was bidden....so obedient I am....but Geoff had his come uppance.... 
As we were untying he stepped off the bows to untie us and stepped on the piece of grass I had warned him to beware off.........it gave way under him and both the turf and he sank very slowly into the canal.  Luckily it was difficult for him to climb out as it was very shallow.  Unfortunately I was so busy laughing I forgot to take a picture........Geoff now says he has a bruise on his bottom from where he hit the bank........
The day had dawned not so bright as Monday but at least I started the day with a good laugh....
We not only watered etc but gave Petroc a wash and brush up as she was looking a little grubby.
Eventually departed for real about 9am.
The second lock today was Towney Lock, still no other boats.  Even without the paddles open there is a large amount of water coming in.so despite Geoff being careful it was not possible to keep Petroc alongside
See the flow of water and the tiny amount the paddle is open.
Paddle fully open now, but even when the other paddle was opened it didn't really help.
At Padworth lock we met another boat going our way, hurrah.  They were a young couple on a short hire and their company was very acceptable through the next few locks and swing bridges.  We were both planning to stop in Woolhampton and we were both disappointed!!!   The moorings were full, although a boat offered us a place alongside we are not very keen on that with Barney.  We did try to get in right at the end of the moorings but went firmly aground.........so onward we went...eventually.......
So we have ended up in Thatcham, much further than intended and we stopped too late for Geoff to have his customary siesta.  I walked up to the nearby Co-op but by now they had run out of Daily Telegraphs, so no crossword for 2 days in a row.....
There is mooring for about 5 boats here below Monkey Marsh Lock and you would think we were right out in the country.  However Thatcham Station is just behind us through the trees and we can hear the platform announcements.
7.32miles, 8 locks, 5hrs 47 min

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