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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.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

With it being Wimbledon fortnight, an alternative use for tennis balls

We ummed and arred and finally a decision made. Another trek to Aldi for cheap Gin (in readiness for the sloe season and not for any consumption before!) and in view of the weather forecast for the southern part of the country, predicting some very heavy showers and thunderstorms for Thursday we felt it better to set off today and sit it out tomorrow. So a latish start and another opportunity missed when we were told a boat was only just in front of us. And the chap who told us was none other then a fellow Langley Mill moorer on Nb Oak going the other way. Small world is'nt it. Unsurprisingly we never caught up with that boat so apart from the odd lucky time when we met another boat coming up, we had to turn every one.

Nb Oak

One hairy moment occurred at Home Park lock. Here we had help from a lady lone boater wanting to ascend and as she closed the lock gate, in swam a swan. Always worries me when we have an uninvited guest as visions of lock walls, steel hulls and a squished swan comes to mind.

But this wasn't the actual hairy moment. No, that came when we exited the lock. The lock landing (lone boater's boat on it) and bridge were very close together. Managing to get Ian back on board and heading for the bridge 'ole I spied another boat.

Bit of a boating dance ensued with me going forward and the other boater going back. Then as I came through the bridge a wide beam appeared! Sideways with it's stern heading for the lady boater. And the only way out of this situation was for us to pass each other on the wrong side. So what about that wide beam? Drifting out into the channel with rope dangling from the dolly, hatch wide open so someone must have been home, but no amount of hails would summon him (or her) to us. Hey ho, all we could do was go past. The next boat along will have to try where we failed.

10 locks in this heat was no fun but I wanted bait and so we pressed on to Hunters Bridge and The World of Water garden centre.  Arriving at the centre I was dismayed to discover they had run out of wrigglers! But all was not lost as they are expecting a delivery of maggots tomorrow late afternoon. The first mooring we chose was not that great, too near to a bridge with a blind bend and with those widebeams coming and going felt sure we would cause havoc.

So the next possible mooring was not ideal either but at least it had plenty of depth for us to get in. Then, with Ian banging in the pins, a swarm of flying ants appeared. Not just us having a problem with flying ants. Seems like Wimbledon also have a problem with these insects. So windows and doors shut to stop them coming in and for over 30 minutes we felt like we were being baked alive, FS was that hot. Still they did eventually stop appearing and with relief the doors got flung open.

How about that for a pin cover! Jades old ball put to good use. Just hope those doggies walking the towpath leave it alone.

Flying ants emerging.

I did use up the bit of bait I had left. A tiddler was my reward and the only fish caught.

And seen on route,

This boat has been sunk twice. Now has an oil boom to trap any leakage.


You wouldn't want to run the hull along this gate!  Seen at Home Park lock.

And wildlife today,

Her chicks are in for a good feed. Flying Ants on the menu.



Jennie said...

Hi Irene, Many years ago we were out on nb Cleddau with Sue and Ken when we came across a narrowboat adrift at the stern. It was swinging out blocking the canal. As Ken was preparing to board it to get a rope to re-moor it, the back doors swung open and a young man appeared hastily doing up his trousers, closely followed by a young lady pulling a t-shirt on! Enough said!! Jennie

Marilyn McDonald said...

Lovely photos, Irene. Those ants looked interesting and I am pleased they weren't near us - I could not have coped inside a closed up boat yesterday!
Big hugs, M&Dxx

Marilyn McDonald said...

PS Forgot to say, we have the tennis ball tops for pins too - no dog has attempted to remove them but then ours don't have old doggie smell on them ...

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hi Jennie, Some very red faces no doubt!

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hi Marilyn, In the back of my mind I felt sure I had seen a boat with tennis balls on the pins. May well have been yours. Xxx

Neil Corbett said...

Our very good friend Rick made us a nice set of tennis ball mooring pin covers. Unfortunately ALL of ours were taken by dogs! We managed to stop it happening a few times when we were around to see it happening, but one by one we lost all six.
Hope you are luckier.
Kath (nb Herbie)

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