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Hospitalisation! and Rickmansworth Festival

We had all arrived at Rickmansworth in dribs and drabs last week and taken our allocated positions for the show.
Myself and Richard took a walk to Tesco, to receive a text message from the Cheese Boat's Michael ~ 'need you at our boat now!'   We thought perhaps it was just pre-festival hi jinks, but as we were finished shopping, we began walking back to the canal.
Unfortunately, as I arrived at the Cheeses, Michael announced that Geraldine (recovering, or so we thought from a recent illness) had collapsed on the floor and he had managed to get her back onto the bed.   Consequently, he had called an ambulance.  


An hour and a half later, the ambulance arrived, followed by the Hazardous Area Response Team to remove Geraldine safely from the tight confines of the narrowboat.  
Her severe dehydration following her illness had caused the collapse and she spent the next 4 days in Watford Hospital.  

Saturday was hindered by annoying showers, some heavy, but Sunday was much better bringing vast amounts of people to the canal and aquadrome.

The winner of  the Best Dressed Working Boat was Hyades (fuel boat owners Mary and Phil). 
 (This was a prize I painted for the event)

Tug of War ~ always a crowd puller with Adrian and Chris as compares doing a great job keeping us entertained!

 Geraldine is now back on board her boat but very weak and wobbly still.  They will be following on later after a couple of days r and r, with the help of Jim (nb Islonian) and my husband, when they will cycle! back the 10 miles to help them up the 19 locks!!

And that was another Ricky done and dusted! Thanks to everyone involved in it's organisation, we enjoyed it very much!  Onto the next for next weekend...

Join us if you can!!

Croxley to Rickmansworth (1.5 miles, 3 locks)

Before leaving Croxley Thursday morning for Rickmansworth, Richard had offered to help fuel boat owners Phil and Mary to put their new elum onto their butty boat Hyades.

Meanwhile, I walked the dogs and took some footage

Slowly lowering it into the quite deep edge

Offering it up, but an obstruction in the top mounting hole on the boat, prevented the pin sitting down enough.  So, after some prodding and poking, she was offered up again

And yes, the elum snugly fits in it's correct position!  A good job done!

We joined Mary and Phil in their favourite cafe in Croxley for breakfast and then set off for Rickmansworth

Only  3 locks to get there but oh did it pee it down!
At the first lock, we were joined by a boater who promptly asked 'I hope to god you're only going to Ricky!' followed by 'because I don't want to get stuck behind you!' 
After I had explained that his comments were very insulting and actually we were probably a more efficient team getting 2 boats through the lock than him with his one, as we do  a lot of locks, he apologised saying he was only trying to make conversation!  How rude though, some people have no manners and need to slow down on the canal!

Handbowl commission

Dipper/feed scoop commission to match

and cabin stool commission.  All finished and delivered just in time for the festival!

So all we need to ask for now is more settled weather to bring the crowds out to see us, the rest of the floating traders and historic boats here on the canal in Rickmansworth.  Join us if you can, there is lots to see and do centred in the aquadrome next door....

Berkhamsted to Croxley (12 miles 27 locks)

A great rest was had by all in Berhamsted, including our friends on previously broken down narrowboat Islonian, who managed admirably to catch us and the Cheese Boat up.

Cygnets doing well with very protective parents, seeing the ducks and geese off when thhey got too close! 

Setting off around 8am on Sunday morning, we drifted across to the water point before dropping down the first lock of the day

Lots of interesting features along this stretch of canal

Totem pole imported from Canada by the owner of a timber yard, which stood on the site before redevelopment

The day passed well in glorious sunshine, getting several locks under our belts and 'back setting' the locks for those behind us

Until we hit the swingbridge at Winkwell.  Apparently, it plays up on occasion and most weeks during last summer.  This day it  decided to play up on me!  A key is put in the machine and pressing 'Open' lowers the barriers and opens the gate.  I had released the pressure after the first barrier came down as nothing seemed to be happening, put it back on and the second barrier came down, then nothing......... 
20 minutes on the 'emergency' telephone number for CRT (it was Sunday, so the normal number was unmanned and the road traffic was getting busier!) we got through to CRT.  Not good enough for an emergency contact number at all!

2 hours later (CRT came out and flicked the reboot switch) and a small backlog of understanding boaters behind us, we got moving again and were soon approaching Hemel Hempstead.

Nash Mills locks where an old paper mill stood on the site of the new posh flats

Coming out of Kings Langley lock, Richard just had enough room to get around the trip boat before it pulled forward into the open gates

Last night's mooring opposite the new flats where the Ovaltine works used to stand

A much wetter start than we had had for a long time.  We left Islonian and the Cheeses after 2 locks, as they wanted to moor before Hunton Bridge and have the day off, after the previous day's  marathon!

So we cracked on alone, enjoying the beautiful Cassiobury Park before stopping again to top up the water tank.  The washer has been on whilst we travel in an effort to get everything done up to date!  But low, what have we here, a boat moored and locked up on the waterpoint.... a boating faux pas showing a complete disrespect for fellow boaters and the basics of canal boating

So what does Richard do, well of course, we need water, so we get water....meanwhile a very embarrassed pair of ladies came back to our stony silence alongside the boats, to report that they had had to move their car and do some shopping, but they did need water..... so  they start to get the hose out as we finished.  Come on girls, play the game, the rest of us do and it makes the world a better place...

Croxley Green is our mooring for a couple of nights, delivering a commission and catching up with friends who moor there

Journey to Rickmansworth remaining ~ 11/2 miles, 3 locks!

Tring Summit to Berkhamsted (5 miles & 7 locks)

After the quietest night's sleep I think we have had for a while, we left Tring Summit (Bulbourne) a little before the Cheese Boat, yesterday morning.

We had all decided that we would have a shortish day and get to Berkhamsted, give the old muscles a rest!

Very dark along the summit before the openness of Cowroast further along and our first lock of the day.

Special thanks to Jan off the Art Boat for meeting us unexpectedly at the lock and helping us down a couple before collecting her boat in the next pound and linking up with the Cheeses.
The pounds are very low at the moment, making navigating them very slow and risk of grounding common!  

We are now moored in Berkhamsted (opening to trade when it stops raining!) and will stay now until Sunday morning to continue our journey to Rickmansworth.....

Journey to Rickmansworth remaining ~  13 miles and 30 locks!

Linslade to Tring Summit (10 miles & 18 locks!)

Another early start today, saw us leaving Leighton Lock, aiming to get through Church Lock a few miles along before CRT close the lock for repairs for 2 days.

A chilly morning, so we lit the fire in the butty..... oh boy that was a mistake!

Coming into Grove Lock

The pub at Grove Lock looking beautiful as ever!
Because the Cheese Boat were on their own behind us, I planned to 'back set' the locks Richard and I passed  through, by dropping the water and open the gates for them.  
This involved  a lot of unexpected exercise as I ran from Grove Lock to Church Lock after backsetting. Then I ran almost back to Grove Lock to see if the Cheeses were ok, but it was unnecessary when I saw the bow of the Cheese Boat coming around the bend.  When I then ran back to Church Lock, Richard had my bike assembled ready for the next few locks ahead!  That had to be easier!

I think this was Slapton Lock, could be wrong

52 miles back to Braunston....

Me operating the swingbridge at Pitstone Wharf.  I cycled back to help the Cheeses up through the last of Seabrook Locks and then through the swingbridge also.  Operation involves just pushing the bridge around to be level with the canal edge.

We met Kate and Heather on historic narrowboat Tench.  This is their story  Idle Women Journey ~ 75th Anniversary

Me cycling to the next lock

Approaching Marsworth Junction as the sun gets really intense!

Michael on the Cheese boat coming into the second lock of 7 on Marsworth flight

Richard brings our pair into the lock further on up the flight.
Unexpectedly, the butty got caught on the gate in the top lock and it took just over half an hour to wiggle her off the gate and detach her from the motor boat.  We have reported the metal bracket on the gate to CRT as apparently it happens when boat come into the lock together.  There is a lovely scratch along the bow of the butty now .....
Shortly after leaving the top lock, we and the Cheeses moored up on Tring summit and breathed a sigh of relief.  The sun, volume of locks and exercise, we had all had, was not what we were used to and we knew we would have to do it all over again tomorrow....

Journey remaining to Rickmansworth  ~ 18 miles and 38 locks!

Stoke Bruerne to Linslade 24 miles and 6 locks

 Leaving Stoke Bruerne around 6pm on Sunday evening, we had planned to meet up with Richard of Jule's Fuels, farther down the flight of 7 locks to have a lesson in 'gate lining'.
This is the technique of looping a rope to the gate handrails, from the mast on the boats (we used the butty mast, to which the luby line is attached).  When the lock is empty, the boats reverse pulling the gates open.  It works very well and should save a lot of legwork for us.  It can only be used when going downhill as the gates open inwards.  It was really great learning a new skill and many thanks to Richard for his patient tuition!

We moored that night at the bottom of the flight for an early start in the morning, intending on getting through Milton Keynes.  In the picture, Richard attaches the cross straps to the post and hook of the motor, whilst I walk the dogs.

A very cold morning, but the canal was peaceful and calm, but then it always is at this time in the morning!

We soon arrived at the pretty village of Cosgrove.  When we reached the shallow lock, I had another play at 'gate lining', just to see if I could remember ... and it worked!

A full 'visitor  mooring' along the towpath on the left of the picture, but not really anyone around yet.  

Wolverton flats and the footpath leading to the shops

The lovely 160 metre long train mural ~ an awesome sight and a creative genius of Bill Billings, painted by him and members of the community in 1986.

Passing though Milton Keynes, we encountered the Exbury Boat.... Daily Mail link

and a sunken widebeam

and of course the humble heron.   
Further along, an oncoming boater insisted that he could fit in a bridge hole with the butty, at an angle so as he hit me and I explained to him, that I had no engine and needed him to give me room.  He never apologised, but then we are getting used to rudeness on the canal, where people think that to ignore other boaters' pleasantries, not slow down past moored boats and generally be a law unto themselves is the way to be on the canal.  It doesn't work like that, and manners don't cost a penny...

Eventually after much monotony (on Richard's part, as I had lots of things to do on the butty), we arrived at Fenny Stratford, stopping briefly for some sustenance..

Last night's  mooring before Stoke  Hammond lock.  Later we were joined by Jan  off the The Art Boat, single handed and also on her way down to Rickmansworth.  We all spent a pleasant evening enjoying the meal which Richard had prepared as usual to feed the 5 thousand!

This morning, we set off after Jan, deliberately daudling, so our good friends off the The Cheese Boat could catch us up.  They had paired up with Flavours Afloat, who had suffered electrical problems and had had to get a new alternator.... apparently they are on the move now, and all is well!

Working up Leighton Lock earlier today.  The Cheese Boat have joined us and we have all done a bit of shopping and got our breath back before the onslaught ahead.....

Journey to Rickmansworth remaining ~ 29 miles and 55 locks!