Monday, 21 September 2015

Eastward Ho!

Mon 21 Sept Welded

My good school friend Sam Howard has welded the two halves of Annie's tiller together this morning, so we are ready to return and fit both tiller and gear change cable, once our home jobs are done.

Sun 20 Sept Homewards in a fashion!

This morning saw John removing the broken gear change cable, then using the lump hammer to free off the tiller stump, so we can take the two parts of the tiller home to be welded together. Eventually, he won! Leaving Annie moored, rudderless, we lugged the trolley with bags to the local train station at Kintbury. Sunday trains meant we travelled east to Reading, west to Westbury, then north to Trowbridge to collect our car and a new gear change cable from the excellent people at The Boatyard, next to Hilperton Marina. GWR staff were good! We tried M4, A34 and A43, M1 to Leicester and home by 2100. A long day.

Sat 19 Sept Great Bedwyn to Dreweat's Lock, Kintbury (14 locks, 10 miles)

John dressed for the cool, autumnal morning, but soon changed into shorts. He missed a great photo as steam engine Tangmere chuffed through Little Bedwyn, past lock and boat. The sun soon beat down on us as we completed the ten locks down to Hungerford, enjoying the beautiful hot, summery weather.
Little Bedwyn lock and station just AFTER the steam engine Tangmere passed through (sob!). You may see the smoke still hanging in the air .....

Liana at work

A rare sight these days, a derelict lock house.

Annie at Hungerford Marsh Lock, a beautiful setting. We had to leave the swing bridge (over the lock) open, as the two of us couldn't close it again.
Stopping at Hungerford, we chatted to a busy boater blacking the hull side of Dover, from the TV series. He had needed to adapt her over the 18 months since he bought her. After shopping at Tescos, followed by coffee watching the joyous newly weds outside the registry office in the sun, we carried on through  four more locks, through lovely scenery before and after Kintbury, where we met horse and horseboat at the lock, as the weather was so good.
Liana admiring the new blacking on NB Dover, now owned by a liveaboard couple

A scorching day, just right for blacking the side of the hull above the waterline, at Hungerford

Annie and Dover moored at Hungerford
Just as we were considering mooring, our idyll was shattered! Entering Dreweat's Lock, John found himself reversing out again! The gear change cable had snapped, so when he set forward gear and revved, we just carried on backwards. Cutting the engine, John could just watch helplessly as Annie drifted back and hit a tree, breaking her tiller, which snapped like a twig as 20 tons of boat stopped from 2 mph :/ That decided our mooring! We moved her back, just beyond the lock landing, using the last bollard and mooring pins to secure her in the gathering dusk.

Fri 18 Sept Pewsey to Great Bedwyn  (14 locks, 8 miles)

What a great weekend! Another idyllic day beckoned us eastwards to Wootton Rivers. This time we managed to get through Brinslade Lock without getting a rope jammed! We sang/bellowed our way through Bruce Tunnel, then went slowly down the Crofton locks in the hot sunshine, stopping for a late lunch by the pumping station. Taking advantage of the gorgeous weather, we carried on to Great Bedwyn, where we found a rareish proper mooring, with pilings and mooring rings, and fed the swans and ducks.
Bruce Tunnel

Tablet at east end of Bruce Tunnel

Annie at Crofton Pumping Station

The rope we picked up on the propeller

Rooftop gardening

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