A bit all over the place is my blogging at the moment but here goes an update……
Yesterday 4th October we dropped a car off at Aston Marina and drove to Great Haywood Marina to pay for another four nights we’d used and head off for a rendezvous with a dry dock on Thursday morning.
Due to needing to be local (home) in case we are needed for parenting/Grand parenting we are home for a night then I’m back on board to take Percy for its appointment with the dry dock.
We had been watching the ever changing weather forecast and true to form by the time we’d paid, shopped and oiled the donk it started to rain…. But I was committed so we slipped the ropes and headed north for an overnight in the country.
On approach to Hoo Mill lock there was a boat seemingly moored on the landing with a full lock ( water firing through the bottom gates high up) and no one about. As they heard the engine they appeared with cups of tea/coffee and the fella walked up and started emptying the lock. As the gates opened his crew stood on the rear waiting for the fella to come back and take the boat in. All the while we were hovering as they had moored on the first bollards.
I moored up and went to see what was happening and a boat coming the other way was locking him up. Only when the boat came up did she see three crew inside watching her work in the rain ! It was a hire boat and only just picked up but there seems to be only one person on board wanting to get involved (skipper the boat)
Skip to Weston lock and this time they were in the lock as we passed a boat moored at the end of the Armco ( not on the lock moorings). We moored up and I went to see the score and again only one crew on the boat but a fella working the lock who I assumed was their crew. As they left they said thanks and I said hop on I’ll close the gates…. He said no I’m not with them. I said is your boat on its way and he said no he was on the boat moored below ( not on the lock landing) and was going to fetch his boat now ! So I signalled to Rachel to hold as she was untying to come in….. he then said it’s ok we are not in a hurry so I then signalled to Rachel to come in…. Another boat came to the lock landing again passing his boat… I presume there was a conversation as no one came up to help us lock up but we were glad to see the back of the lock !
We had planned a overnight stop around Burston and just as we were pulling in a flock of geese flew over and BOOM someone the other side of the hedge led off a massive shotgun blast and took one of the geese straight out of the air…. The flock circled round and again boom, this time one shot took three geese out of the air, god knows what size shotgun he was using but it was sooo loud and obviously very powerful. We thanked him for the scare ( no response) then headed further down the canal away from the murdering of geese !
This morning (5th) after a night of heavy rain we set to to get into Aston Marina. 18-20 mph winds blowing straight down the Marina took us sideways as we tried to turn onto a berth we could not easily identify. We ended up pinned to the pontoons sideways and Rachel had to walk the gunnels dodge the goose poo on the pontoon to hold a bow rope while I slowly edged Percy into A25.
Another boat tried to reverse on and failed so had to pirouette to get his nose into the wind and held there for 5 minutes unto a lull in the wind then did get on in reverse. I’ll be going out backwards single handing tomorrow…. The wind is due to settle a bit so I may be holding waiting for that same lull. I know why I don't like marinas …. Had the same at Mercia a few years ago…. They are so unprotected from winds that make them a skating ring for boats
The pontoons here are much narrower than Great Haywood and in poor condition. Covered in goose poo as well. The bigger issue for anyone moored here is the amount of diesel in the water…. it’ll be dissolving the blacking of the boats for sure !
Its hammering down so we waited to do the car shuffle and empty the cassette….. back tomorrow for the trip up three locks to overnight outside the dry dock. The adventure ( part 2 ) has begun.
Leia was straight in front of the stove that kept us toasty warm on a windy rainy night