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The Odyssey 2019: Day 1

Posted by indigodream on 30 May, 2019

Heyford Fields Marina to Yelvertoft Bridge 20
24th May 2019

Today was the first day of our 2019 odyssey, about time we did some boating!

Reversing out of the marina

Today was a day that I got to boat by myself!!! We have a tough target to start with – get to Boston before the 15th June. How is that tough, it is only a trip of 175 miles, 2¼ furlongs and 81 locks? But of course there is the small matter of needing to work full time, a wedding to attend next weekend and then a worry that there could be delays in going over the Leicester summit due to some boat show. I could have a day off on Friday giving me the opportunity to get a head start, though sadly Sue had to work.

I had come up the night before, slipping into the marina a minute before the gates were due to be locked; rather good timing as my gate keys were on the boat so that Graham and Jill could use them. That’s Graham and Jill, ex. of nb Matilda Rose, crewo of Tjalk Francoise, who had borrowed ID for a few weeks while Graham convalesced from a knee operation. The boat was in great order, with no sign that it had been populated by a CAT.

dodgy fuse

The following morning I had a series of chores, most important of which was to work out why the bilge pump did not work. No loose wires, fuse looked intact, what could be wrong? Chasing round with a multimeter I found that the so called intact fuse had actually oxidised ends and was not allowing any electrons to pass. I could have cleaned it with sand paper but seemed better to raid the bank balance and pay 25p for a new shiny fuse.

The trip to Buckby was wonderful, proper stress busting, forget all your cares and enjoy boating. As I approached Buckby a boat with a CREW pulled out behind me, my luck could be in. Turned out to be a hire boat from Braunston manned by a very pleasant crew and steered by a CRT Employee who does not do much work-related boating but steered really well. His crew were hard working and kept saying that they would do all the work so that I could stay on the boat; but for the first few locks I got into a nice rhythm, go in first, hop off with a centre rope etc whilst they drove in behind me. At the third lock we caught up with a boat which had been part of a pair but was now going up single. Never worked out what happened to the other boat, were they abducted by aliens, was that shallow bit them? Anyway they looked short of crew so I said to my great locking companions “you go on, you will go mad following if, I, as a single hander team up with a slow boat short on crew”. So the next bit of Buckby I did by myself, it was great, I just enjoyed it, this was a great day to go boating.

Leaving my locking companions at the top of Buckby,

Two locks down from the top I saw people waving at me, it was my previous locking companions who had stopped for “lunch”. I said I would go and set the next lock and they said they would join me. In the end I locked them through that lock, they locked me through the top lock, then sadly they turned left towards Braunston and I went on by myself to Watford. Sue has often mused what makes a good locking companion, not sure, but they were great.

Now that was strange, there had been horror stories of queues at Watford because of the Crick Boat Show, so imagine my surprise at turning up to find no queue, yes, zero boats in front of me and 2 volunteer lockies who basically made me feel very awkward, even embarrassed, as they did all the work and locked me up really quickly.

Bottom of Watford

Crick was jammed with boats, brested up boats for miles in fact. It was great to see and chat to familiar faces, e.g. Adrian from nb Briar Rose and the famous Halfie. Ah but that last bit was painful, Jan was cooking, it smelt wonderful and Halfie was offering BEER. However I could not brest up to them as it was still possible that Sue would be coming up that evening with the dogs and, to be honest, I was hitting the wall, really flagging, which seemed wrong – after all I had had a GREAT day. I tried mooring up after the next bridge (think nice food smells and BEER) but after spending an absolute age going aground, get stuck etc I gave up and continued to Yelvertoft. I saw bollards and a free space, wonderful? Alas no it was a water point. Finally found a mooring, moored up neatly and went inside for a wee and at that point I discovered why I was hitting the wall, I was dehydrated. Cure is easy, drink copious volumes of ale so that started the search for copious ale. Pub, nope, the pub was too far away for me to walk. Boat stocks: Jill and Graham had been great boat sitters and faithfully obeyed Sue’s command to drink the boat alcohol before it went out of date. – tough but someone had to do it. A comprehensive search found cans of fruity cider and two bottles of Corona. Dehydration averted, just!

 

Photoblog:

 

Stress busting on the GU

Vaguely disturbing?

Gorgeous

Love Staircase gates

 

4 Responses to “The Odyssey 2019: Day 1”

  1. Mark Anderson said

    Hope all goes well 

  2. vallypee said

    Oh Sue, I wish I could have joined you. I’d so love to do that…it sounds just wonderful!

  3. Well, we are crossing the Wash on the weekend of 14th/15th June – we have crew spaces if you’d like to go to sea in a narrowboat…

  4. Alexgreyauthor is me, Sue – I have two blogs now but WordPress will only allow me to be Sue OR Alex but not both, unless I completely sign out of one blog!

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