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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.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

And more problems at Wrenbury

Last night, while walking to the Dusty Miller to check on their menu another unwelcome snippet of information was given to us. Wrenbury lift bridge was out of action! Oh, blast....not another holdup! No wonder Wrenbury moorings were full. Apparently, the electrics were out of sorts. C&RT had been contacted but so close to 5pm that no one held any hope of them turning up. So I go to have a look at how many boats are moored on the others side. One boat only and a lady poked her head out of the cratch and confessed that this was all her doing. Key had been placed in the lock, turned as instructed, lights start flashing and she closes the barriers which lock in place. The button is then pressed and...nothing! A clunk is heard but that is all. She then tries to remove her key. Nope stuck fast. By now cars are piling up either side so she tries to open the barriers, nope that wasn't happening either. Two of the locals turn up and between them and the lady managed to lift the barriers so they could open. Car owners most relieved but that doesn't help us boaters. Then she phoned C&RT, time 4.50pm!

We ended up in the Cotton Arms. Dusty Millers menu looked okay but in comparison to Cotton Arms, there was no contest. More variety and a lot cheaper. By the time we left to go back to Merlin and FS, astonishment as the bridge had been fixed. Well done C&RT, we owe you all an apology.

Then arriving back at the boat, suddenly a boat with smoke pouring from the stern. OMG is it on fire???? We all rush to investigate only to find the heating had been fired up for the first time this year and excess diesel was being burnt causing the smoke. Phew, panic over.

This morning by 7.30 we were away. Too many boats acing in our direction to wait and we expected a mad exodus. Lynda and Ia go to lift the bridge. So far so good as lights flashed, barriers closed and the button pressed and then.....stopped! Oh no now what! Ian had a brainwave. Could it be the barrier that was at fault? Had the barrier locked into place? The answer to that was no. The only way the bridge would open is if Ian held the gate barrier in place. So sorry C&RT. I take back our apology and say only a half a job done. Much later when a phone signal was had Ian phoned C&RT to report it. Imagine those other boats all waiting to come through and finding the bridge still not working. I bet we will get the blame as we got through.

This was a 'who will come through the bridge' moment. Both of us boaters gave way but no one made a move to come through.
We made excellent time arriving at Hurleston flight in a little under four hours. No lock queues at any of the locks and even Hurleston flight, although busy, was all in our favour.

Merlin exiting Hurleston bottom lock
 As we had plenty of time left we decided to shoot through Bunbury and show Lynda and Tony the Iron Lock. So did Bunbury, Tilstone, Beeston stone lock and Iron lock before winding. Unfortunatley the locks were all taken as two boats came past us but....bearing in mind Beeston Iron lock has a 'pinch point' and boaters are advised to go in one by one, the two boats tried getting in together. The left hand gate wouldnt open properly so, to say the boats were wedged solid, was an understatement. Ian had to bounce on the gate while lots of revs and reverse gear deployed from both boaters before they finally came free. Oh we do have some fun dont we!!! Anyway looks like our BBQ for tonight will be later than planned!


Dave said...

I sometimes wonder if modernisation (changing bridges to power) makes things worse not better

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Agreed Dave, but unfortunately, this is what we have to accept and expect in this day and age.

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