Sunday, 21 March 2010


Out on the boat today, for the first time this year. My husband has replaced the engine mounts and a good run was definitely in order, to check that everything was as it should be. The weather forecast was good, so we took a bit of lunch with us, and headed off down the canal.

It was just lovely. We moored up just the other side of Bradford on Avon, and enjoyed our lunch sitting in the sunshine out in the front of the boat, with a nice bottle of wine which we'd forgotten was in the fridge. (Yes, we have a fridge. And a cooker, and a microwave, and a bathroom with a proper toilet, and a bath and an excellent shower. All mod cons.)

I was knitting the Firestarters today, and I can tell you with some authority that the number of mistakes made in the little teeny cables with twisted stitches was directly proportional to the amount of Pinot Grigio consumed.

So peaceful. Lovely sunshine today - the wind was chilly, but that didn't matter a bit.

And then we headed back towards Bradford Lock again, to go home. I thought I'd show you what it's like going up through a lock.

Here, we're moored at the lock siding, waiting for our turn in the lock. There is another boat in there already, coming down. They are letting the water out, and when the lock is empty they will open the gates and come out. You can see the closed gates of the lock just on the other side of the bridge - big tall things, made of dark wood. That's a restaurant boat there on the left ahead of us - it never goes anywhere.

Now they are opening the gates. You can see the other boat in the lock.

And now they are coming out. Once they are out of the way, it is our turn.

So here we are going into the lock. Under the bridge -

And into the lock itself. The sides are all slimy greeny brown with algae and stuff. I don't know exactly what it is, but it is very messy and nasty and it is not a good idea to get this on your clothes, so you have to be careful going up the ladder. (I am not at all keen on these ladders, they are all slippery.)

The top gates are really leaking a lot.

This is about as far forward as we go - I'm looking up at the gates here. You can see that the actual gates are not big tall things like the lower gates, there is a stone cill there under them. You do have to be careful not to move too far forward in the lock, otherwise you find the front well of the boat getting filled up with water spraying from the leaky gates, and that's not recommended.

Another boat was coming up with us - the locks on the Kennet & Avon are double locks, so there is room for two narrowboats at the same time. So once they are in the lock as well, we close the lower gates behind us - or someone else does that for us, which is even better. There were literally dozens of people watching us work this lock today, it is surprising how seldom anyone actually offers to help. This time, several people did, which was lovely.

One gate closed here - looking up at the bridge behind the lock gates. It is well above us.

When both gates are closed, we open the sluices at the top of the lock, and let water in.

The level rises...

Spot the gongoozlers.

Still going up, nearly there -

Until the lock is full, and we can open the top gates, and continue on our way.

It really was a lovely day.

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