Saturday, 13 October 2007

What a day

13 locks, and 13.5 miles 2 Tunnels. Now moored at Paddington Basin.

Yesterday the first lock of the day should have been an electric lock but there was a sign saying "Out of Action" The other lock is all hydraulic and the previous vessel through had left everything open, gates and paddles. So I had to shut everything before I could fill the lock to even get into it. It took us over 40 minutes to get through the lock by which time I was absolutely knackered after winding the handle many hundreds of times.I needed a rest at the tiller before we got to the next lock.

As usual we had the river to ourselves so it was very quiet. The highlight of the trip, albeit being a sad occasion, was when we rounded a bend in the river and heard the sound of a band of some description playing what can only be described as calypso, happy music. Just as we were about to pass a block of flats I spotted a hearse and a beautiful white horse drawn hearse with 2 fully adorned white horse's. The funeral appeared to be for a Caribbean lady as the first hearse was full of floral tributes with one reading the word "Aunt". After sitting mid stream for the best part of 15 minutes watching the proceedings the funeral procession moved off and we did likewise.

It wasn't until we reached the Regents canal that we met other vessel's namely trip boats and the canal water bus. Other than a few fishermen fishing on lock moorings which I merely ignored and moored in front of them,there weren't too many people around. That was until we got to Hampstead lock. There was nobody taking much notice until I started to set the lock up and then people and camera's appeared from everywhere and it was standing room only all the way around the lock. I felt like taking a bow as we exited the lock.

We eventually arrived at Paddington basin around 4pm and even though we had been told by a moored boater near the canal museum that Paddington was full we found quite the opposite with at least 6 moorings available. This is the second time we have been given this information and we are convinced that local boaters tell visitors this deliberately to deter them from going there and thereby saving the moorings for themselves. Naughty, naughty.

782 locks, 1079.5 miles, 31 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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