THURSDAY 26TH APRIL TO WEDNESDAY 2ND MAY 2012
Jacquie was whizzed smoothly to London by one of Richard’s Virgins to spend a few days with her son and his girlfriend, whilst any plans I had, regarding varnishing the taffrail and touching up paint and blacking were washed away by the torrential rain.
I did manage to walk Duggie between the rain storms, along the increasingly water logged paths, enjoying the canal-side chats with fellow boaters and the Kindle and IPod helped pass the time. A couple of trips to the large Aldi store stocked up SKYY with the heavy and bulky items and the local chippie and the Kings Head pub also helped keep body and soul together until Jacquie returned to SKYY on a very wet Sunday afternoon.
The chums that are joining us in their boat for the Wash crossing had planned to start their journey North from the Thames on the last day of April, but texted to say that the ‘Red Boards’ were up and they couldn’t move and it would take at least a week for the levels to subside. We also planned to move on the same day and it was bright and dry. First thing in the morning we walked Duggie down the lock flight and were, but we couldn’t get beyond lock 9 as the towpath was under water. When we arrived back at the top lock a BW chap was stopping all boat movement whilst his colleagues down at lock 10 were flushing through the excess caused by a blocked by-wash which they were doing their best to clear. We decided not to join the queue and hoped that our water tank would last another day; in the meantime we let the local laundry take care of our washing.
Moored a few boats back from the top lock was an old Springer boat called, I think, Innisfree. There was a slightly sodden laminated notice on the side, which said that the author of “With a Flower upon the Ocean” lived aboard. We had the good fortune to meet up with the author. Edward T. Wilkins, s diminutive, but bright as a button 88 years old. His book, about his war time experiences aboard Flower Class Corvettes, looks as if it will be a rewarding read and I suggest that if you meet him you stop him for a chat and buy a copy.
By Tuesday morning the queue of boats had cleared, but the rain had returned, it was nearly a week since I had filled with water, so felt that we should tackle the 11 locks, stopping to fill the water tank half way down. Duggie was in his element, running up and down whilst Jacquie worked the locks, but by lock 10 he was soaked through and starting to shiver, BW guys were still at the lock rodding through the by-wash, but they didn’t hold us up for long and as soon as we exited the last lock we tied up and Duggie was taken below for a lovely hot shower.
It wasn’t until this morning that we realised, we had again chosen a particularly attractive place to moor, the River Anker flowed rapidly to our right and the bright cheery field of rape was to our left. This would also be a good spot for somebody who burns wood and has a substantial chain saw. We decided to for stop the day and late in the afternoon we walked Duggie, with the intention of visiting the Black Swan in Grendon village for a sundowner. There are in fact two pubs, both on the very busy A5 Watling Street and sadly neither the Boot Inn or the Black Swan looked in any way inviting, so we returned to SKYY for refreshment.