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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, 11 October 2018

Wind and narrowboat, not a good combination

It was an 'about turn' this morning as back we go to Lechlade. Our son Colin is going to 'splash the cash' and treat his dad (and me) to a birthday meal at The Riverside Inn. Yep, tomorrow Ian is another year older and still 'growing old disgracefully'! But before we headed back to Lechlade it was a short cruise to Grafton Lock to water up. The only place to wind was in the weir stream and Ian did a sterling job in getting round and then backing up to the hose.

Winding point in the weir stream

Backing toward the lock

No need to use your own hose on the Thames. These high-pressure hoses fill the tank in no time.
The wind picked up on our return and those bends with the swaying overhanging branches got very near to sweeping, not just the chimney, but the aerial off into the river. A snippet of information was told to us by two different sources that the EA is only concerned in keeping a third of the navigation open to traffic and will not address the overhanging vegetation problems unless it encroaches on that third. Well in my opinion parts of the upper Thames 'third' (especially on the bendy bits) is only fit for one boat and until a serious crash occurs, it will never be addressed.

Ignore the geese, I wanted to show the branches across the river leaving only one boat width to navigate through.
Trying to moor on the meadow had Ian hanging onto the centre rope for all its worth as the wind tried to blow FS's away from the bank. I got off and ran to the bow to get the rope and managed to secure it to scaffolding set into the ground. A sprint back through the boat as the stern had started to swing out, a touch of forward on the throttle to swing the stern back to the bank and then grab the stern rope, the Rhond anchor pin and the mallet to throw onto the meadow. While I held the stern rope Ian let go the centre rope and sprinted back toward me. Hammering the Rhond anchor into the ground he added another mooring stake for more security, secured the rope through the loop and then back to dolly on the boat. Phew mission accomplished and how a single hander would have coped, well I'm pretty sure they would have struggled.

Rhond anchor and mooring stake.

All alone again.
And before anyone mentions the bow rope is across the path...it isn't. The path is to the left
More groceries needed so instead of going back to Londis to pay their prices we walked roughly 3/4 mile to a Co-Op by a garage further along the road. T'was worth it to save on prices.

So here we stay now until Sunday. FS is as secure as we can make her, any loose stuff has been removed from the roof with high winds predicted for tomorrow and hatches have been battened down. Waves are lapping against the sides and all the Crack Willow trees opposite are being blown about. It can only get worse when storm Callum arrives.

 And on the journey,

Only the end sluice gate is letting water through. River levels are still well down.

Hmmm, hopefully, this won't happen to us.

It's a wonder he wasn't blown off the board!
 And seen on route,

Is this what they call Swan Upping!!!

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