Thursday, 28 October 2010

Mayhem at Napton.

Well that was an interesting day. As the grandsons were going to be with us we decided that a trip up the Napton flight, wind at the Engine Arm, lunch, and then back down should keep them amused, so when they arrived at 1015 we set off. All went well until lock 12 where B.W. were loading a mud hopper with hardcore which they were using to backfill the new pilings between locks 11 and 12. A twenty minute wait ensured that the queue of boats was becoming slightly fractious. The rest of the trip up proved stress free although winding was quite exciting with the wind blowing down the cut and trying to push us into the reeds, well it actually succeeded but we'll keep that quiet.
Jill provided an excellent lunch of boiled bacon with mash and assorted veggies followed by cherry pie with clotted cream and custard and after sating our appetites we rejoined the line of boats descending the locks, by this time virtually all the traffic was going in the same direction as us so we were not surprised to find a queue at the first lock (13). We then discovered that a hire boat had lodged itself on the cill (I use B.W.s spelling, should be sill) of lock 12 and knocked its' rudder out of the skeg and they were currently removing it from the lock. Not a problem to us, time to admire the scenery, but the hire boat behind us was getting twitchy and the boat behind them was apparently in a hurry to be somewhere, tensions rose.
Well we negotiated locks 13 and then 12 just as the damaged boat attempted to rejoin the queue but he now experienced a gearbox problem so we coasted past him as he struggled with the gear lever, but as we passed, LO! his gearbox regained its' drive, so having crept past the B.W. works I thought it only fair to allow him to retake the lead so at lock 11 he took the lock and I waited. Now the pound between locks 11 and 12 is full of B.W. boats, mud hoppers, dredgers etc, with just space for one boat to squeeze by but our following boats started to pile into the pound as they sought to hurry up the process, alas, a boat was coming UP the flight from lock 10 so I politely waited until he used the now empty lock 11. (I hope this is not becoming too complicated, you needed to be there). Oh the consternation when he popped up, those behind us had to back up past all the work boats. More haste less speed as my old Granny always said.
Lock 10 was a bit of an anti-climax, it was clear and we worked straight through but above lock 9 was our old friend, he of the damaged rudder and temperamental gearbox, now belching copious amounts of smoke and refusing to go anywhere, so we went through and moored below lock 9. The mechanic from his hire company subsequently arrived, he had blown a head gasket, the boat, not the mechanic. Not a good day for the hirers, they were last seen heading for the village in search of beer.
Our day was voted a great success, Cairstine and the boys headed off home and I poured a large rum.
It was all so exciting I entirely forgot to take any photo's, sorry.

1 comment:

Maffi said...

Don't be sorry about the photos I was at that very lock when the hire boat was cilled and was so busy trying to prevent the day becoming a complete disaster that I didnt take any pictures either.

I remember passing you (I called out) but for the life of me I couldn't say where.