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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

A very wet walk for nothing!

Woke up to the sound of rain beating down on the roof, got up and crept to the cooker to put kettle on trying not to disturb Jade and failed miserably. She wanted to go out, rain or no rain, so nothing for it but get dressed and brave the elements. Having decided to move up to Cassiobury Park for today's cruise, we rapidly changed our minds in view of the inclement weather and stayed put. Then I was looking on the web for tackle shops and happened to notice two in Rickmansworth. From our location below Stockers lock it was no more then a 15 minute walk away through the park. Would have been a pleasent walk with Stockers Lake and Bury Lake either side of us but with the dismal murky weather we didnt expect the view to be great.  So waterproofs on, bait box in bag, Jade and Ian in tow, we all walked the wet and slushy route to Uxbridge Road. First a decision. On reaching the road do we go left or right.  We chose to go right which was a good decision as it led us to some local shops. But where was the tackle shop? Every conceivable eatery, Pizza, KFC, Chinese take away and cafe's were there but not a sign of my tackle shop. Eventually I asked a chap in the local hardware store. 'Oh yes' he said ' have lived here for 30 years and we used to have two you know. Now one is a Kebab takeaway and the other is the Wine store.' 'Great' thought I 'all that way in the pouring rain for nothing! So after telling Ian the good bad news we about turned and made our way back. Now those of you following my blog know I NEVER go anywhere without my camera. So even though it was pouring with rain and cameras don't function well if they get wet, I still took it. Was I glad I did for glancing between an opening in the hedge at Bury Lake what did I see but a black swan!

You can read all about the Black Swan here I took a few more photos which I will post at a later date but with the rain turning ever heavier I thought it better to put the camera away.
On the way back to the boat we passed the Stockers Lock Cottage. This is a grade 11 listed building and what I liked was the owners displaying Grand Union Canal memorabilia.

Stockers Cottage

After drying ourselves off, we battened down the hatches to await better weather. By lunch time the rain appeared to be easing and once again we pulled pins. The initial idea of moving to Cassiobury park seemed a good plan. We could then carry on to Abbots Langley on Sunday to where I knew I could get bait at The World of Water Pond and aquatic center. ( well I could three years ago according to my notes in Nicholsons ). So having missed our chance by a couple of minutes of having a lock with us, 2 boats having come round the bend just as we untied the ropes, we hung back until it was our turn. We managed to tag onto Nb Long John which had left Tesco mooring and together we made our way up the next 4 locks. By now the rain had started again worse then ever and we resigned ourselves to a soggy trip. Between Lot Mead Lock and Common Moor lock the 3/4 mile pound was very low, by at least eighteen inches and we scraped bottom almost all the way. Getting onto the lock landing was interesting. As lead boat I pulled up as far as I could toward the lock, but still had problems getting into the side. Ian had to leap off to set the lock and discovered a boat already in the lock coming down. The force of water with both paddles raised pushed me against the edge and once the other boat had exited, I realised  that I was stuck. With help from Ian I managed to get free and into the lock but Nb Long John also had the same problem. Took quite a while for him to free himself and eventually join me.

Using the pole. Ian walked back to lend a hand but he managed to get free himself. You can just see how low the water level was.
After this lock Nb Long John moored up and we continued up Cassio Bridge lock on our own. We now moored at Cassiobury park enjoying hot tea and chocolates and still listening to the sound of rain beating down on the roof.

What do you mean this isn't the car ferry!

Approaching Casio Bridge Lock

We moored just beyond the foot bridge.
Had a comment from Nev ( nb Percy ) about wanting more fish pictures. Well what about this huge pike!!!!

Caught on maggot.
And finally:-

An Egyptian Gosling with parents

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