Wednesday, 15 January 2014

G has to live up to his Gentleman Boater Award

Yesterday I walked the dogs to the bottom of the Buckby flight and passed this strange boat. I suppose it could look quite pretty if woven with flowers in the spring.
 We nipped into Whilton Marina and, on leaving, checked there was no-one coming down and lifted the paddle on the bottom lock to empty it as we walked across to fetch the boat up. Just as I was pulling out people appeared, closed the paddle and re-filled it! Despite shouting up and honking the horn they didn't seem to hear. Oh well. It meant all but the leakiest of the locks were with us and the sun was shining again. It was 11.15 as I, finally, pulled into the bottom lock
 I lurked in the pounds letting G walk on with the dogs and get the gates open - no wind to speak of so it was a doddle with the sun on my back. He had to flush some water down for me into one of the pounds which was very low but, as long as I stuck to the middle and went slowly it was OK
 We left the top lock exactly 2 hours later - not a record but a damn site quicker than when we last came down them with a new boater trying to open all the paddles simultaneously and leaving me stuck on the bottom.
 G had wanted to do the Watford flight as well but I wasn't keen as you really don't want to be cruising beyond 2.30 at this time of the year - not if you don't have to - it gets too cold. I thought that mooring up and going for a pint was a much better idea and G didn't take much persuading
 So we turned right in to the Leicester Arm and moored two boats up from NB Tacet - no sign of Ian and Karen though
 the menagerie made free with the working boat behind which we'd last chatted to (the owner not the boat) in Braunston. There is a cat living on this boat and they'll get their come uppance if they're not careful.
As we walked back onto the mainline for the afore mentioned pint a chap in an old trad NB was making heavy weather of approaching the top lock. As we caught up with him he asked if we knew how he could get his boat into the side. G took his front rope and told him what to do. He said he had just bought the boat and was going down the flight. His girlfriend and 8 month old baby were sitting in the front. I couldn't understand why he was pulling into the side as one gate was open ready for him.

We sat down with a pint and, eventually, saw him cross the lock and open the other gate and then bring the boat in and close both gates. He then tied both fore and aft lines to the lock bollards and was about to empty the water out from under the boat!
At this point G abandoned his pint and intervened before he sunk the boat with girlfriend and baby on board. There followed a gratefully received crash course in boating and locking whilst I got stuck into a second pint. Joking apart, that was going to be a serious accident. He was a young Portuguese chap who had never been on a boat before, had not received any kind of instruction and was heading down to moor on the Lee and Stort.


  1. That strange boat has been there years. It looks completely different in the summer, when the leaves are out. (Really!)

    1. I never thought about the trees being alive - I, rather romantically, imagined a beautiful May Queen sat in there in a long white dress with flowers all interwoven in the branches.
      Great to hear your dulcet tones in my ear reading the news whilst I was preparing supper - it rounded off a lovely day. Time they put that Alan Deddicoate (or however you spell him) on permanent nights!

  2. You seem to attract incompetent novices every time you pass Whilton Marina! What worries me is that the marina staff are selling boats to pepole without a clue.

    Have they got a sign at the marina exit saying "Incompetent Novices Please Wait for Matilda Rose to Appear Before Proceeding"?

    Having said all that, a few months ago I witnessed some old boys with years of experience (trad narra with butty in tow) doing the same rope trick at Sandford Lock on the Thames!


    1. Hi Alistair, would you believe it but, in fairness, this lad had bought the boat from round the corner on the Leicester Arm at Weltonfields Marina.
      What was the outcome for your old boys at Sandford Lock?

    2. Apologies to Wilton Marina. I wasn't having a go at them.

      The outcome at Sandford Lock was a loud bang. They then had two ropes, both short - one on the boat and the other tied to the lockside bollard. As they exited the lock the lockie shook his head as they tried to avoid eye-contact with anyone!

    3. Inevitable outcome I suppose, but isn't that part of the reason the Thames Locks are manned - surely the Lockie should have spotted it.

  3. We've met quite a few people coming down london-way who haven't the first clue how to move their boats - some weren't even interested in learning - they don't intend to move again once they've arrived :-(

    Sue, nb Indigo Dream

    1. He's come from Portugal and this boat will provide cheap accomodation near to London. He has decided to continuously moor on the Lee and Stort rather than Little Venice. He told G as much but I don't think he used the term 'continuous moorer'. This has nothing to do with boating or our waterways.