|Lock house in the mist|
We left the meadow late, well there was nothing to race off for and headed to St John's lock. Got chatting to a couple from Pennsylvania who were fascinated by our 'quaint' river and equally 'quaint' lock. I did mention that the locks get bigger...much bigger... further south, "You should see the ones on the canals", said I, "they are definitely 'quaint'". Anyway, help was given by the gentleman so much appreciated. Whilst Ian was doing the biz with the loo below the lock at the facilities, I took a photo of that 'staging', the one where I nearly left Ian behind.
|Towards St Johns Lock|
|The American chap helping Ian|
|On the facilities. The staging is beyond the bridge.|
As I mentioned previously, the upper Thames is very bendy and snake-like and care has to be taken when going around the bends. It was as I came out of Bascot lock (a lock keeper was on duty here) and was going slowly around a left-hand bend with overhanging trees and bushes that I nearly ran into a small cruiser. I cut the corner, my fault completely and thank goodness the lady on the small cruiser had a presence of mind to almost stop dead and go hard into reverse. The manoeuvrability of these small cruisers is phenomenal and if it had been anything bigger without such an able captain, then we would have most certainly have crashed. Of course, I put FS into reverse and the bow swung towards the offside bank. To rectify I had to throttle forward hard and swing the tiller to the right. Phew, missed hitting the bank and missed hitting the cruiser by a fairly decent margin and having apologised profusely to the lady who very graciously excepted, we both went on our way.
Now you would think that I had learnt a valuable lesson. Hmmm, I wish I had because a little further on another very sharp bend to the right and I cut the corner again! This time FS ground to a halt and tipped! I had hit a mud bank! OMG Ian tried to get us off with the pole while I tried to reverse. No movement from FS other than to swing the bow toward the bank. So after several minutes of Ian heaving on the pole, I suggested we both move and hang over the water with the hope that tilting the boat would be enough to get her off. Ian took control and with the engine screaming in reverse, slowly FS slid off but the sigh of relief turned quickly to embarrassment as the whole thing had been witnessed by a fisherman. He couldn't hide his amusement and delight in watching such a spectacle.
|Ian pushing hard on the pole|
|Bow swinging to the bank|
From Google earth these maps to show (a) where we had the incidents and (b) how bendy the upper Thames is.
|From St Johns lock to Buscot Lock|
|And this bit from Grafton Lock(to be done later when we go South)|
The cygnets being taught by the parents,
|How to look menacing from Dad|
|Not airborne yet|
|But one of the four had lift off.|
|How to meet and greet a mate|