Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Ships that pass in the night and the Long Wait

31st July 2015
Runnymede to Weybridge
7.75 miles, 4 locks

This was a day of locks, houseboats and a deal of chaos.

The nearer we get to London the prettier the locks become.  The landscaping/planting is still being done in conjunction with the same garden centre.Bell Weir lock has some rather interesting murals to do with the Magna Carta

Things were a little tight in Chertsey Lock, but we all made it safely.

We stopped outside Chertsey lock for water - we were all busy when we were aware of a lot of shouting.  The next next lot of boats coming through were emerging when the one at the front decided to slow to a stop, to turn down towards the weir to go on to the other side of the water point.  What they had not thought about was all the boats behind them.  The shouts were coming from this boat 'We can't stop - we have not brakes'.  'Reverse' the boat in front told them.  'We have no reverse' came the reply!!  Not only did they not appear to have any means of control, they also had two very small children on board.  I think we were glad to see them go ahead of us!

Shepperton is exceptionally well kept - it won the 'best kept lock' in 2001 and 2012.  What happened after that you might ask - they stopped the competition.

You can even stop and buy a cream tea!

The Magna Carta was going down before us - it all looks really sumptuous, but you need a few pennies to take a trip on her - £3250pp for 6 days_from May-2nd Oct!  It does include all your food and drink!

As we passed Staines the Cleddau crew spotted this fuel barge - we pulled over and filled up.  It was £1.50  a litre in Henley!

Then came our first 'ship passing' - fellow bloggers George and Carol on Still Rockin.  A lot of frantic waving went on!  We hope to meet up later in the trip.  Having just caught up with their blog it looks as though they moored in the same place as we did at Runnymede and got help mooring from the same man as we did.  (He comes from nb Tuppence).

This was the first houseboat we spotted - a real project that we think will be fantastic when it is done.  The wood work has been done very well.

This looks as though it could be quite palatial inside

And what is this made from - it looks like a large sewage type pipe?
We made it to Weybridge - there was one mooring when we arrived but there were two fishermen in situ.  We moved in very slowly explaining we just had to stop and it was a marked mooring. There was a bit of mumbling to start with, but it all ended up very amicably.  Our patience waiting for them to pack up was rewarded with an agreement that they were only planning on staying for another 10 minutes or so anyway and thanks from them for our consideration.  We breasted up, but were lucky that the boat ahead moved off, so Cleddau could move up.

The downside of the mooring - duck donations!  Chris' first job involved a scrubbing brush, river water and his shoes!

The upside - the view - we were right opposite the entrance to the River Wey (red arrow) - we had been warned by Sue from nb Retirement No Problem that the sign was obscured by trees, so we knew what we were looking for.

The end of the day we were rewarded with a good view of the blue moon - the next one is not due until 31 January 2018.

1st August 2015
Weybridge to Newark Lock
6.25 miles 6 locks

And so it was onto the eighth waterway of our trip - the River Wey.  It is nice to be welcomed, but by golly you need to be patient.  At the first lock you have to pay your licence to be on the river - £116 for 3 weeks!  There were five boats ahead of us and it took the best part of two hours!! Our 'long wait'! Monty and I wandered off and found a good park for a run round.

The first lock is worked for you, but after that you are on your own.  Quite a few of the locks have these platforms to work the paddles from - I am not keen!

Coxes lock is very pretty

But at New Haw lock the Captain from nb Cleddau and I got the surprise of our lives - a flotilla of canoes waiting to go down the lock!!  Apparently they see this as a safer option than crossing the busy road!  We stood back and let them get on with it hoping that no one would fall out.  They did make it safely, but it was alarming to watch.

Then someone got caught in the act!  I had taken my lunch to the bow as the river was quite bendy and it is good to have a look out.  Chris and I had shared a sausage roll - the pastry was not brilliant, so I left some of it.  I put in on the opposite bow locker and was distracted by instructions from Ken on nb Cleddau.  I turned back to find someone finishing off the pastry!!  Monty is not that much of a 'foodie', but obviously the temptation at his nose level was just too much!!

Back to locks and this brings a whole new meaning to 'pulling the chain'!

And then to our next 'passing ship' - Retirement No Problem with Sue, Penny and Meg.  Sue and I have been corresponding by email for quite a while - this was our first meeting.  We slowed and chatted and hope to meet up on our way back down the Wey.

We moored for the night on meadows just past Newark Lock.  A nice peaceful mooring with lots of room for Monty to run.

2nd August 2015
Newark Lock to Cart Bridge, Send
2 miles, 1 lock

When we went to bed last night there were two fishermen between our boats (we were quite a long way apart).  They were quiet, so no problem at all.  That was until we got up in the morning.  To say I was shocked when I went out with Monty was the understatement of the year!

They must have consumed all the beer in the box and they were scattered all over quite a wide area.  We did remove the plastic can holder, but the rest was just too much.  I did email the NT Wey contact address and have had a reply, but when I talked to the office at Dapdune Wharf she told me that they are having big problems with Eastern Europeans, but that was the first time she had heard of them fishing there.  We did wonder how they got home with all their kit with all that beer inside them!?

We had been told that we might see cyclists today and did we - well yes we did - thousands of them!  They kept coming in streams for a very long time.  We did wonder if they were on a local circuit until we heard the news in the evening when we realised they were part of 'Ride London' .

At our one lock today a huge 'island' of reeds needed to be hauled out of the way to allow us to open the top locks and escape.

It was just a 'dirty dart' today to get to Cart Bridge, Send where a table for 10 was booked for 13:30.  Who were the extra people - our brother in law, his younger son and his wife with their 4 boys - the youngest is only 3 months old, hence only 10 to eat.  We  were moored quite early with one boat between us.  It was a lovely day and we had the side hatch open and all of a sudden I felt I was being asphyxiated - the great clouds of fumes were overwhelming.  The cause - the boat in front taking off.

We have not had a Sunday roast since leaving home in June and I was really looking forward to roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings.  Imagine my disappointment to find that the pub does not do Sunday lunch!  Still the food was okay and the catch up with the family was the most important thing.  After lunch we repaired to the boat for coffee/squash and cake.  There was plenty of space to set up chairs etc and spread out under a tree.

Monty revelled in the attention and what was good to see was the young man patting him here who has recently overcome a fear of dogs.  It was good to see you all.

and thanks to brother in law, Mike, for acting as 'delivery boy' and bringing three parcels for Monty - one of which is a new life jacket - we got his previous one when he had not finished growing, hence it needed replacing.

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