Thursday, 12 June 2008

On a big move again & stopped traffic

Late start, due to Pete recovering and Elizabeth a little tired, but spirits lifted with a Elizabeth/Blossom day and a Pete/Bella day. That means Elizabeth lockwinding and Pete driving. It felt good just to focus on something easy. And though we did, what 7 locks? and 4 miles? It all feels easy just now. However, there were notable moments. Flooding. Elizabeth had to walk Blossom through a flooded towpath under a bridge, then deal with a flooding lock. Pete had to deal with a throttle lead disengagement, meaning that he left one lock with little forward power and no reverse. But between them, Bella tucked up quietly on the towpath, and between the time of Elizabeth calling River Canal Rescue (the water equivalent of AA or RAC), and them calling back, Pete had FIXED it.

What a feeling of power today!!! One of our 'clicks' was a swing bridge. This usually means pushing a small bridge to the side of the towpath to give Bella room to move ahead. Today, it meant using our British Waterways key to operate an electronic road bridge. Just like a railroad level crossing, when Elizabeth turned the key, warning sounds were raised, gates were lowered over the road, the road bridge itself turned sideways and all traffic stopped - for BELLA. How cool is that??? By the time we moved the bridge back, there was a queue (!) so Elizabeth and Blossom had to wait to cross the road.

We moored up just by the bridge to Hemel Hempsted station, so that Elizabeth can make her way to Edinburgh over the weekend (work, not hols!). And joy of joys, we are in FAT BAND!!

Another tiny move and a train ride

Today, Elizabeth went to London for the DSC's Charity Fair. We thought Pete would go as well, but, sadly was severely under the sinus summer flu weather. As she gave a master class in Project Management, he nursed nose, throat and chest and kept company with Josie. When E got home, they managed to move Bella just a little bit more and through one more lock. Funnily enough, a little closer to The Boat, a pub they have come to like. London Pride.

Travel and salvage

Elizabeth walked the few minutes it took to the train station today and made her way to the GKG Oxford office (for those of you who don't know, GKG now has two offices. Shocks us, too!). Pete stayed aboard, doing his assessments and saving our neighbour from danger. A book seller, boat just behind, was loosing his moorings (due to FAST boats stressing the lines!). Pete rescued three times.

We moved! Not much - Berks too lovely

Ok, we moved. A bit. Can't bear to leave Berkhamsted just yet. But, in other ways, we were felling a bit land bound and wanted to start cruising again. So we worked in the office all day and even that was fun for Elizabeth, who has been away so much. Then we moved up to water again, having employed Levi for lots of washing again, and then moored up on the towpath side of the water point. A little more movement, but still Berko. Closer to Waitrose.

Such a sweet move

Also on Sunday, early on, we watered up at Berko. It required us pulling out of our mooring, which we were anxious to come back to, so we left early. We needed to go under the next bridge, moor up and fill up. There was no way to turn around to come back, let alone, turn around again on return to face the way of our journey. Pete had planned it. Elizabeth would be reverse tiller and he would put the engine in slow reverse. E is not not just bow thruster and sat nav, she is tiller. She stood at the bows with the boat pole in the water, moving it as if it was the tiller. However, Pete was such a dab hand at handling Bella in slow reverse, she was seldom needed. Such a sweet move! Back to 'our' space.

Blossom lives up to her name

Sunday in Berko (the colloquial name of Berkhamsted) saw P & E have a lazy start, then Elizabeth collected a bouquet of white and yellow flowers. It was time to pull out the enamel paints and let our fold up bicycle live up to her name. Put on the deck bench, she looked lovely. Elizabeth spent a few hours and now Blossom has, well, blossoms. Pete is thrilled and was the first to ride her, taking our cassette to the sanitary station. Ah, the fragrance of blossoms.

Berkhamsted deserved more than a fleeting visit

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday….

We stayed! We counted the ‘clicks’ – a combination of the number of miles, locks, obstacles of the journey – and realised we had time to stay put for a little while. With such wonderful weather and wonderful surroundings, we just had to stay. We fired up Levi again and E Babyed (OK - the small Dyson is a Baby Dyson, therefore has the name Baby - if you have seen Dirty Dancing, you'll know her real name is Frances - Babying is vacuuming in our very odd world. Sadly what is the baby Dyson from our land world is now the large Dyson. So the even smaller one is Babette....). Then we did some washing. Then we went to Waitrose and E found some fantastic storage drawers for the utility cupboard. Ah, sorting.... It makes Elizabeth very pleased.

June 5 and the discovery of BerkHAMsted

Well, how Beautiful is Berkhamsted? Very beautiful. The canal runs right through the parks and we moored up by Bridge 140A, a short hop to Waitrose and to the train station. Heavenly weather, parasol up. Gorgeous. Elizabeth did a bit more computer work and prepared for Friday meetings in London, yet again freeing the office for assessor Pete.

June 4, Tring Summit and Cow Roast

Off again on Wednesday morning, making our way to the Tring Summit. Elizabeth and Blossom did the towpath and locks again, with Pete driving. On the way, Elizabeth met Alan, a URC Minister she had worked with years ago (on liturgical dance). What a hoot to meet on the path! Later that day, he and his friends paddled past our mooring at Cow Roast (really – that is the name!), taking their canoes back home. We had just put up the parasol, ready for G & Ts on the deck. Ah.....

June rolls us in to Marsworth

We found ourselves in Marsworth, the old home of British Waterways. Just lovely. We had a lovely mooring near the Red Lion, a real village pub with a wonderful garden and its own steam traction engine aficionado group – all gathered with machines on the front square when we arrived. This is where we stayed for Monday and Tuesday so Elizabeth could catch a train to London to teach Project Management and Pete had the office to himself to assess Grant providers for the CDF.

May 31 Blossom and Bella on the move

We moved out relatively early and started on locks, now frequent. Elizabeth took Blossom (the bike) between locks and did all the lock winding, while Pete drove into the locks. We know. Elizabeth loves navigating into the locks and Pete loves winding them. But E is not very happy going uphill in double width locks, as Bella moves about quite a bit, with the rush of water from the lock gates. So, wuss that she is, she decided lock winding was less scary. AND she discovered it is fun and doesn’t really want to give it up! It is especially fun riding Blossom along the tow path – no hills! And the exercise :-) cycling three miles without even being aware of it.

We ended up just north of Slapton Lock. Not a lovely name, but a lovely place!