Thursday, 3 March 2011

First a fiasco and then onto the Grand Union.

Seyella and Rock n Roll are currently travelling together.  We use different wi-fi for connection to the internet (Geoff uses 3 and I use T-Mobile), Geoff can usually get a decent signal but sometimes (feels more like 'often' just lately though) I don't!  So I'm on a 'catch-up' with my postings ... and to help me I'll refer you to Seyella's postings as we have taken pretty much the same photo's along the way (hope you don't mind Geoff!)

 Seyella was first off the block again this morning - can't wait to get away from all that mud!
 On into Warwickshire ...
 Mags steers through the first drawbridge (no 26) ...
 ... with Geoff doing lift duty!
We cruised on down the first 4 locks of the Lapworth Flight and moored for the night.
 Tuesday 1st March George and I walked down to see what was ahead of me today.  This picture shows the winter maintenance to the walls on lock 15. 
I also wanted to see how the dredgers were getting on; the caution notice before the bridge stated that a maximum of 30 minutes wait might be necessary to enable the operatives to move the plant to enable safe passage.  I could see that there wasn't room for me to bring RnR through the gap between the hopper and the bank as it was also on a bend - and we all know that narrowboats don't bend!
 We walked on to lock 16 with it's pretty bridge ...
to find some interesting information ...
 ... this is the 'cotton reel' on the bridge ....
 ... and the bridge gap to allow the tow-rope to slide through.
It was about 10:45 when we were ready to pull the pins; George went ahead to let the dredgers know that we were on our way.
 I came under the bridge and could see that the hopper had hardly moved at all - I handed the tiller over to George as I wanted pictures of this fiasco.
 We were very soon stuck on the bank and the operative then started to move the hopper over
 after a while we were able to pass - just! Looking at the hull later I saw that we'd lost quite a large patch of paintwork!
 Then we came to the tug and another hopper - it was plain to see (to me anyway) that again there was no way we could pass - I heard the BW/contractor guys say to each-other that there was plenty of room and I told them that maybe on top of the water there was, but a few inches under it was silted and we were already stuck - again!
... so he tried to pull the hopper over to no avail, it wouldn't budge!
 Then the 'bosses' appeared ...
 ... to see what the ...
... commotion was - just stood there and watched.
 In the end he decided to reverse the tug and hopper and off he went straight down the middle and stopped just short of the lock - about 30 feet away.  George got off and opened the lock gates and I edged past him, but only just. His wash as he moved forward again took my water and I was on the bank again!
Oh Joy! Boy was I angry!!!
 Safely inside the lock and evidence of more winter maintenance to the cill - they've use that yellow expanding foam to fill the gap between the gate and the new cill!
 What's that - boats coming the other way? Life is full of surprises!
 water gushing under the cill of this lock
 The waterfall overflows look very photogenic but can play havoc when exiting a lock as they can prevent (or make difficult) getting into the correct position for the next lock along.
 Seyella arriving at Kingswood Junction
 RnR already taking on water - and lots of water around too.
 We've now turned onto the Grand Union heading north - interesting wooden carvings at the picnic area ...
... and a lovely old farmhouse.
We eventually moor up - after a very tiring, cold day - by bridge 70 and the Heron's Nest public house.  We shall stay here for a few days.  Geoff and Mags are off north for a few days and we shall take care of Seyella until they return.

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