So....how wrong were we to think our last voyage on the Erewash Canal for this year had come and gone. No...a phone call came from Norman, ECP&DA chairman, with a proposition for us. "How do you fancy taking Pentland (ECP&DA workboat) down to Long Eaton lock and leaving it with one of the members on their garden moorings"? Gosh just what we needed to ease the boredom, but we did inquire as to why. It was all to do with the continuing problems with the pound being drained between Dolkholme and Long Eaton locks. The finger had been pointed to the 'little darlings' supposedly raising the paddles but it transpired it was actually boaters leaving the bottom gate open and with a faulty ground paddle that refused to close, the pound water just drained away. So C&RT had asked ECP&DA if they would go and see what could be done.
Wednesday then, I took Pentland out from the Great Northern Basin, through the swing bridge and moored her next to FS in readiness for an early start on Thursday. Now here is a bizarre scenario and one maybe could be answered by your good selves. The back aerial (for the bedroom TV) is raised by a good 4 feet missing any boats moored nearby. So why then when Pentland was brought in next to us, we lost the signal all together? Even Ian, my man that says he knows it all (or he likes to think he does) was completely baffled! Answers on a post card please (or preferably in the comments box). Anyway checks on Pentland were done before the off on Thursday and good job too because the stern gland was completely devoid of grease, nothing to prevent the water coming in, so very relieved Ian picked up on that as I didn't fancy that 'sinking' feeling!
Early to rise then yesterday morning. Ian estimated a good 6-hour journey, especially in these autumnal conditions. Those still cruising the cut at the moment will understand that statement. Leaves...massive amount of them on top of the water but more importantly those hidden beneath the waves attracted to the spinning prop and sticking to it like leeches! You can always tell when the leaf ball is at its worst when the boat gets slower and slower even when the revs remain constant. Knocking out of gear and a quick reverse usually does the trick but short-lived when just as you get a good head of steam, back you go to a snail pace again.
|Langley Bridge Lock|
|See what I mean!|
Had a few dramas as is our wont. Pentland is old...very old...and its gear box is a right pain. Not the ease of movement from idle to tickover and beyond. No more like brute strength on the throttle to get it into forward or reverse. Then the mild panic as you try to knock her into neutral and realised she is still in gear and not going to stop! A frantic jiggle with the
stick throttle and a sigh of relief as she does as she is told. Very nerve racking at first but by the end of the journey both Ian and me had the handle of her!
At Stenson lock one of the top gates wouldn't close. Thankfully we had the right tools for finding out why, a very, very long boat hook. This is what we pulled out.
Joined at Hallam Fields lock by a lone Cygnet and it wanted to get into the lock! Even with Ian trying to shoo it away, it was having none of it so determined it was. Ian got a proper telling off by it as he approached the bottom paddles!
And the reason why it was so resolute? Parents and siblings were below the lock.
Nearly at the troublesome lock and this seen on one of the canal side houses.
Eventually reached the lock in question, top offside paddle all taped up, this was the one to be repaired. Then on the descent immediately the reason for the repair was seen.
Ian's guesstimation was spot on. 6 hours from departing Langley we finally tied Pentland on the garden mooring. Just needed to get ourselves back to Langley and our work was done. This could now be something we are asked to do more often, probably not as far as Long Eaton but any trip away from the winter mooring will be a bonus.
Oh, and now for a head scratching moment. Why is this narrow boat confined to a large garage? You will have to scroll to the end to see why.
The answer? It's a fabulous unique and very clever painting on a property wall.