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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.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Red face moment and dangers of not wearing the correct footwear.

More of that post heading later.

We didn't plan on leaving early but when one gets woken by those Canada Geese and Gulls, we felt it was time to get underway. At Kingston we realised we could have saved ourselves £8.90 mooring fee as there were spaces to be had, shame we were not blessed by second sight.

The two bridges in Kingston-on-Thames
 Not far from Kingston we saw the Queens Royal Rowbarge 'Gloriana'. Resplendent in golds and reds and no doubt the most photographed vessel on the Thames.  Gloriana was commisioned and built in Nov 2011 to mark the Queens Diamond Jubilee in 2012. She was lead boat and the star of the river pageant that year.

Heading toward Hampton Court, that ticket office of the flower show stood out like a blot on the landscape. Why that hideous pink? Mind you that's my opinion, others, no doubt, would disagree with me. But a little further on and the Hampton Court Palace looked a picture, much more to my taste.

It was here we spied a familiar boat. Milly M but where was Maffi?. A couple of toots on the horn brought him to the side hatch and after a very brief conversation found out we may well see him on the Oxford. Hope so as it would be great to catch up.

First lock of the day was Molesey Lock. Surprisingly it was manned and the time not yet 8.50am. But, oh dear, we left that lock with some red faces. Love to know what those gin palaces thought of us, me trying several time to get the bow rope round the bollard and missing each time. Ian throwing the stern rope which had become so knotted as to be impossible to throw. Consequently he too missed securing FS to bollard, the front started drifting out straight at the cruiser who's owner had this horrified look that a steel boat was about to come into contact with it's hull. Look keepers to the rescue but I had visions of them phoning ahead to Sudbury lock warning them that two complete novices were on their way to cause havoc and mayhem to all concerned.

Molesey Lock
We travelled really slowly to allow those plastics to get well ahead and into Sunbury Lock without us and mission was acomplished. We were the only boat on the landing waiting for the next lock. Not for long as, tearing towards us, more cruisers and behind them a narrow boat. We went in first and guess what? A perfect rope throw by the both of us and FS nestled gentle into the side. More than we can say for those other boats. Not one got the ropes round the bollards first time, even though they are much taller then us and even managed to wrap the rope round a fender. But, and here's the reason for my heading, the lone narrowboater, having missed his bollard several times, managed to get off at the steps. Now, constantly submerged steps = weed growth which in turn makes them leathally slippery.  He got off alright, secured his narrow boat, went to step back on and his sandals, now slippy from that slimy weed, went from under him and he disappeared into the depths of the boat.  To say he was in pain when he emerged was an understatement. The lock keeper came to his aid and for several minutes the poor chap could hardly move. Ian (who had witnessed most of it) said it was both legs that was causing the pain. The lock keeper could do nothing until he had filled the lock to be able to attend to the chap and as he walked past me, said it was his footwear that was at fault. Wearing sandals and going up slippery steps was asking for trouble. He then noticed I was wearing flip flops and with raised eyebrows told me that also was not a good idea. So I think I have learned a lesson here today. Do not climb up lock steps in flipflops (as if I would!)

Sunbury Lock

This is the chap. Lock keeper was to meet him on the landing.
This was to be the last lock on the Thames as we were to turn left toward the Wey Navigation. A NT water and as NT members we managed to get a discount of 10%  Total cost was £72 for the week. Only just managed to get moored above the lock when the rain started. Time to put our feet up and watch the tennis.

Into the Wey navigation and the through the stop lock.

Stop lock closed to fill the pound. Only way to get over the cill at Thames lock.

All we could do was wait until the water had risen enough for FS to get over the cill .

And the wildlife today,


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