A Day Of Close Calls!

This morning we left our mooring at the bottom of Norwood bottom lock. It was a lovely mooring, and we did think of staying here for a day or so. Right by the towpath there’s a playing field which was brilliant for Rusty. He had a great game of ball, and a good run around.

After phoning the duty Harbour Master at Teddington Lock, asking for his advice on getting a River License, and to book a passage through Teddington Lock; his reply was pretty straight forward. There’ll be someone on the lock to lock us through, and after we moor up, we’ve to visit the office to obtain a license.

We then phoned C&RT for advice regarding exiting onto the Thames via Thames Lock 101. Passage through the lock is regulated by the tide. Today we could go through the lock at 4:00pm today, or at 8:30am tomorrow. We decided on the morning transit, thinking we’d be tired by the time we’d gone through 9 locks on a lovely hot day like today.

So…. at about 10, we pushed off for our first lock of the day. Luckily we’d paired up with another couple who were going down the flight; sharing the work.

We had intended to moor for lunch after the last Hanwell lock as we were flagging in the heat, but unfortunately, where we chose to moor, the canal was silted up badly, and we couldn’t get into the side. Before we knew it, we were dropping down Osterley Lock, and Clitheroe Lock.

Just before Brentford Gauging Lock our locking partners needed to top up with water, and we needed to dump a bag of rubbish. While they topped their tank, John started filling the electrically operated lock with water, he was soon assisted by two lockies, who had helped us through Clitheroe Lock (more of this lovely couple later).

From inside Brentford Gauging Lock – going down…

Approaching Brentford Gauging Lock – under Heathrow flight path

Staff from Glaxo Smith Kline taking their lunch in the sunshine

We approached Thames Lock, with the view to moor just before the lock as we’re ‘early doors’ tomorrow, going onto the Thames for 8:30 am.¬† We knew this end of the Grand Union / River Brent was tidal, but we didn’t realise just how much. The bank where we were to moor was a good three foot higher from Cyan’s gunnel. John managed to scramble upwards, to tie Cyan. But now we were faced with getting Rusty off for a piddle. He’s not brave at the best of times, but to make life a bit easier for him, we dismantled the ‘pram hood’ and got him to jump onto to Cyan’s roof, and then onto the bank. Getting him back on board wasn’t easy either. Little did we realise, if we’d waited just a couple of hours, Cyan would have risen level to the bank!

Thames Lock both gates open. The Thames and the canal was at the same level for a short time.

We’re surprised to see a colony of parakeets

Now for our ‘close calls’!

At one of the Hanwell locks, I took Cyan into the lock, and steered her to the side so I could jump off to hold the centre line, stopping her from bumping our ‘lock companions’ boat. She was going too far forward so I put her into reverse, and I jumped off; while Cyan was still in reverse! Thank goodness the guy from the other boat saw what I’d done, he jumped onto our boat from his, and put her into neutral.

John’s close call… at Clitheroe lock John slipped while walking over the lock gates (think it was a fault of his shoes), luckily he was holding onto the railing and only got one wet foot. ‘Jennifer’ the lady lockie, helped him back onto the gate by grabbing his safety jacket. He’s now nursing a bruised knee!

Rusty’s close call… I sailed Cyan out of the¬†Brentford Gauging Lock, with the view to pick up John who was walking down the ramp. Rusty had stuck his head out of the boat looking for John. In a split second I realised he would get his head trapped between the ramp and the moving boat, I pulled him back just in the nick of time!

Think we’ll get a good nights sleep, and thank our lucky stars for today!

Today we’ve travelled 3.25 miles, and through 9 locks.

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