Monday, 31 August 2015

'Hop-a-Long'; 'Outside Loo' and a 'Walk in Crockery Cupboard'!

Saturday 29th August 2015
Hanwell bottom lock to 'Three Bridges', bridge 205
.75 miles, 6 locks

Today did not go quite as planned.  When we got up Monty was really limping.  We could see some evidence of blood on his paw, so a trip to the vet was the first thing on the itinerary.  Mr Google provided the name of a nearby vet and yes, they could see him as they had an open clinic from 10:00 to 11:00.  They provided the number of a taxi company who take dogs.  They, however, were busy and not available for an hour, but they gave us another number.  No problem we were told - the taxi will be at the nearby pub at 09:45 to take us and the dog to the vet.  They were on time, but the driver took one look at us and said he did not take dogs!  He phoned base and then drove off.  Another one arrived that would take Monty as well as us, so we got there eventually.

The verdict - he has split a toe nail.  So antibiotics for 5 days and anti inflammatory for 7 days.  A phone call to the taxi company followed - yes they would be there in 15-20 minutes. There was a cafĂ© next door, so we were happy to sit in the sun and wait.  The taxi was on time, but refused to unlock the doors when he saw Monty.  He phoned base and did grudgingly let us in as we had a tarpaulin to cover the seat (we do try to 'be prepared').  All very annoying, especially as I specifically mentioned the dog both times. Still we got there and back and most importantly managed to see a vet.

As a result of our delayed start today was to be a very short cruising day - just up 6 of the 8 locks at Hanwell and someone was smiling down on us as a boat came out of the bottom lock as we approached and even better waiting at the lock were two VLKs.  A welcome sight - they did 3 of the 6 locks whilst Sue and I did the other 3, so definitely our lucky day.

Monty, on light duties, was confined to the back deck, much to his disgust.  He had to be content with shouting instructions from there!

When we came this way 5 days ago (yes just 5 days - it seems a lot longer, but then we have packed a lot into those 5 days!) it was very wet, so things were missed - this was one - a horse ramp.  Occasionally horses were accidentally pulled into the canal from the towpath and these ramps allowed them to clamber out.

Another was this pretty lock cottage.  The weed, unfortunately, is as bad as ever.

We stopped just past this Three Bridges sign

A trip down the weed hatch produced this lovely haul (we cleared it up and deposited in a proper rubbish container).

Monty was definitely feeling sorry for himself and was in need of tlc and cuddles.

Sunday 30th August 2015
Three Bridges to Cowley Peachey Junction
5.75 miles, 2 locks

Outside Loo!
Just the two locks today and both at the beginning of our trip.  No VLKs today, but we had done well yesterday and you cannot be lucky two days running.  You do have to fight your way through locks and bolts and the top lock.  These are kept locked when there are no VLKs around due to vandals.

After we left the locks this widebeam pulled out ahead of us.  We caught them up when they were stuck across the cut.  We never did find out whether they were trying to wind (turn round) or had taken the wrong turning as this did look a bit like a junction.  They did finally manage to extricate themselves and continued on to Bulls Bridge Junction where there is a very large Tesco store.

There was one space by the store - would we fit?  Not quite.  Thankfully the people on this little boat were still around and gave us a lot of help by moving back sufficiently for Cleddau to get in, so we could breast up along side her.

The widebeam had moored on the other side of the canal - is that really a toilet on the back deck?

The last time we saw this boat was outside Sainsburys in Kensal Green on the 4 hour mooring.  It was there for at least 24 hours!  I wonder how many multiples of 24 hours (the limit here) will they stay for?

We had been motoring for about 45 minutes since Chris had last cleared the weed hatch, but things were sluggish, so down he went again and this was today's haul.

The widebeam went off down the Paddington Arm and our way ahead was clear.  Just straight motoring with nothing of interest noted.  We moored for the night at Cowley Peachey where there is a very large Tesco store that is not mentioned in our book.  Had we known we would not have stopped at Bulls Bridge.  You live and learn, but it was, at least, another day when we did not get wet - the rain started once we were moored.

Monday 31st August - SUMMER Bank Holiday
Cowley Peachey to Springwell Lock
7.5 miles, 6 locks

Walk in Crockery Cupboard

It was one of those days again today.

but Sue is still smiling!
 Last August Bank Holiday was even worse - we 'holed up' in Fradley Junction for the day.

Our first lock was Cowley and lo and behold two VLKs - they said we could all stay on board whilst they did the work for us - it was much appreciated.  They were the only ones we met all day, but every little helps as they say.

Just before Uxbridge lock we called in at Denham Marina for diesel at 59p a litre.  My apologies if this upsets Irene and Ian from FreeSpirit who paid 77p  a bit further up the cut.  It is easy to access, the man was very friendly, the water free and with excellent pressure.  They do prefer not to take rubbish, but there are plenty of other places for that.

At Uxbridge lock I came across a lady on this contraption - a two wheeled board - a sort of Segway but without the handle.  They seem to sell for around £230.  She had three dogs with her - this one one, a smaller one and a much larger one which had a muzzle on.  Monty is still on light duties, so was on his lead.  I don't think she was in control of the dogs or her machine.  Thankfully the muzzled dog did not do anything untoward - it was the smallest one who kicked off.   She does have leads in her hands, but how would she manage to control them whilst on the board?  I have a wonderful vision in my minds eye of the three dogs towing her along at full speed!! She should have read the paper this morning that advocates 25 minutes brisk walking a day to extend your life by up to 7 years!

What a performance at Denham Deep Lock where there was no access to the lock landing due to moored boats.  Sue and I had to fight our way through low hanging sloes to scramble up the slope on the off side to get to the lock.

At 11 foot 6 inches deep it is certainly well named.

Whilst waiting outside Black Jack's lock I noticed the crocodile across the cut - eyeing up his next meal maybe.  The question has to be asked - why the chain - to stop him escaping or to stop other people stealing him.  Sadly I am sure it is the latter.

This is Black Jack Mill which is for sale.  It does not look that much from outside (although I would love to have had time to have a better look), but as it is for sale through Sothebys International I had to go and find the details - have a look HERE if only to see the aerial shot.  It really is quite something and on the market for a cool £2,450,000.  The games room can hold 120, there are 9 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, a Grade II listed fishing lodge, an all weather tennis court and an outside gardeners' WC.  The dining room has a walk in crockery cupboard!!  Now I have heard of walk in wardrobes, but never a walk in crockery cupboard!!

There is open plan living, but this is going just a tad too far for me!  I would feel that I would have to have everything tidy and spick and span all the time.

And finally two boats to conjure with - I am sure neither ever move and, not surprisingly, neither has a licence!

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