Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Another week on the canals

Blog silence for a couple of weeks... another week afloat. An outdoor holiday in the UK in November is a risk but we had several days with wonderful weather. The weekend was virtually cloud-free and not too cold.

We met our friend and were invited to lunch ashore by her brother. As our hosts were driving and collecting the friend and her husband for the next day, we suggested they join us for dinner on the Sunday. Only when we set off again did we think – 7 for dinner? Where will we all sit? Have we got enough plates? We were OK on the latter (and had plenty of food and drink aboard) and Brenda had an inspiration about seating arrangements.

On Sunday, we went up the Watford flight of locks with our friends. This flight consists of two normal locks at the bottom followed by a staircase of 4 locks, then a normal lock at the top. The staircase consists of four locks where the top gate of the first lock is the bottom gate of the next one. There are very large side pounds which keep the levels correct and very strict instructions to open the red paddles before the white ones. We managed without any mishaps.

The dinner went off well. On the Monday morning we woke to rain and wind. After about 2 hours of cruising the rain got much worse so we gave up, lit the stove and settled down to watch Mama Mia on the DVD! Big contrast to outside. The gas ran out at about 10pm – the boat has Calor gas cooking and a boiler for the radiators. We always carry a spare cylinder – but on this occasion, the screw thread on the replacement cylinder was damaged and we couldn't get it connected. And we were trying the right way – Calor gas cylinder connections have left-hand thread.

So next morning, Ian lit the stove again and we managed to boil a saucepan of water for coffee. Fortunately we found a marina that would exchange the faulty cylinder – the attendant turned out to be another Churchwarden known to our friend! Tuesday evening was spent in a splendid canal-side restaurant Edwards at Crick. Super food and wine; shame we were the only guests.

We went through 2 tunnels on the trip – the Braunston tunnel is 2042 yards long (1867M) There's no towpath but there is room to pass another boat – just!

The photo of the watford locks is from Stephen and Lucy's website - www.luphen.org.uk

Edwards at Crick - www.edwardsrestaurant.co.uk

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