5. Aug, 2017

AWOL, THAT’S SAM

I have already blogged about the problems we have been having with Sam (the cat). She doesn’t seem to like to stay on the boat during the day maybe because of the heat, I really don’t know.

We got up Monday morning at Bulls Bridge, we need water and shopping and both are on the opposite bank. We called the cats and only Bubbles came running no sign of Sam. Bummer.

We decided to go and get the water and shopping and then return to wait for Sam to appear. Lunchtime came and went. I had spotted her behind the railings but could not get to her, and there was no way she was coming to me. So we waited and she eventually sauntered back on to the boat mid afternoon, so we set off.

We are on a bit of a timescale as we have to be at Lincoln for the 5th August, so waiting for the bloody cat is not really an option.

We got as far as Denham Deep Lock and moored up and off went the cats. Not a problem in the evening. As Sam was aboard early next morning I shut the front cratch thinking she wouldn’t be able to get out, but she did, and that was it for the whole day, much to the absolute annoyance of the Captain who wanted to get going. Whilst waiting the Captain got round to fixing the broken studs on the front cratch cover to ensure she couldn’t get out the next night, and the cat carrier was taken off the roof. Some of you will remember that when we had a similar problem with Bubbles, a night in the carrier seemed to do the trick.

Eventually at teatime she reappeared, and was captured and bungled unceremoniously into the carrier, and we set off. We had decided to do a couple of hours in the evening to make up for lost time, and it was actually really nice, as it was a lot cooler than it had been during the day.

We have had to adopt a new system to deal with Sam, she is allowed off when we stop for the night, and usually comes back on the boat as darkness falls, at this point everything is battened down (the new studs seem to be doing a great job) and she is not allowed off in the morning. We still let Bubbles off and he is usually waiting to be let back on when I go for my early morning wee.

Fingers crossed it is working well.            

Wednesday and we made it to Kings Langley and walked up the Rose and Crown, a very nice pub. We sat in the beer garden and people watched. The church bells were ringing (practice night) and there were red kites in the sky to admire.

Thursday and we made it to Berkhamsted after travelling part of the way with a single hander on the pump out boat, this makes doing the locks so much easier. I got a bit of an eyeful as a naked rambler rambled by as we moored up. Then a curry at the Crown (a Wetherspoons) and of course we had to call in Red Squirrel Breweries Beer Shop, they had some lovely beers on mmmmmmm.

We watered up before leaving Berko and then I spotted Steve Jay, and of course we had to have a chat before setting off. This meant it was gone midday before we really got going. After doing lots of locks in the hot weather we got to the top of Marsworth flight of Locks, and as I had had enough the Captain took us down the Wendover Arm to little Tring. It was a lovely place to moor and so peaceful.

The peace did not last, as the next morning we met a traffic jam as we tried to exit the arm and start down the locks. Two boats were waiting to go in the lock, and 3 boats were waiting to go down the arm, and couldn’t until we had moved from the entrance to the arm, and we couldn’t do that until the boats had gone into the lock. So there was a bit of waiting about for everyone, but that’s what boating all about.

We travelled down the 7 locks in the flight on our own, but there were plenty of people walking who I chatted to, and there was a fishing event on at the bottom which made life interesting. We could tell it was the start of the holiday season as there were loads of hire boats out, and one managed to ground itself. The Captain shouted them useful advice and they managed to free themselves eventually.

We did manage to pair up with another boat for the last few locks before mooring up for the night at Seabrook locks

Next day was even better, and after an early start we managed to pair up with Water Witch, and Jenny and Steve from Warrington. We went all the way to Leighton Buzzard with them before we both stopped to do some shopping. As we set off again we passed them having their lunch, and said we would be stopping at the Globe for the night. We had gathered they liked a pint as much as we do so hoped to see them there. We didn’t moor to close to pub, safer for the cats to be honest. After a refreshing shower, it had been another blisteringly hot day, we walked to the pub to see they had managed to moor right by the pub and were sat outside already with a pint. We had a very enjoyable time with them and covered numerous topics during our chat.

We didn’t agree to go on together the next day as they get up far earlier than we do. When we did eventually surface we found a little present from them, we had chatted about getting bitten by creepy crawlies (they love me) and Avons Skin so Soft lotion was mentioned, we have never managed to get this and try it (it come recommended by the SAS and marines) and she said she had couple of bottle on board, so she left one on the hatch with a little note. What lovely boaters.

They had left by the time we set off for our rendezvous with Sheila, Ann and Chris in Milton Keynes, but we caught up with them at the bottom of Three locks, and travelled to Fenny Stratford with them before we moored up and they continued on. Hopefully we will see them again soon. They are on their way back to their moorings on the Bridgewater Canal near Manchester.

We had a lovely time with the Captains family, including a meal at the Three Trees, were we were joined by Paul (Ann and Chris’s son) his wife Tracy, and their lovely daughter Charlotte.

Our journey continues on up the Grand Union canal, where we will eventually join the river Soar at Leicester.

 But more about that next time folks.