Leaving The Wendover Arm

We left our mooring on the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union in glorious Spring sunshine at about 10:00 am.

But not before taking time for yet ‘another’ walk, taking the opportunity to snap a few pictures of the restoration work on the un-navigable section of the canal.

Cyan nestling in the Chilterns

We can still keep an eye on Cyan

A new wooden footbridge has been built over the un-navigable part of the canal.

Notice the ‘beast from the East’ is still hanging around!

We’re now cruising under the bridge and are exiting the arm; re-joining the Grand Union Main Line.

We turned right at the junction, and headed towards Cowroast, leaving Marsworth Locks behind.

When we visited the butchers in Tring yesterday, there was rather a bit of ‘excitement’ due to the opticians across the way being broken into, and several policemen were inside gathering evidence. The butcher said they were having a spate of robberies lately, including boats being broken into near this junction. It maybe hearsay, but it’s always a good reminder to be careful.

As we were cruising through a cutting, the sun went in, and it turned cold. We decided to call it a day after sanny duties, and the first lock.

Leaving Cowroast Lock, after sanny, rubbish, and filling water tank duties completed.

We’re now moored just before the first Dudswell Lock. As soon as we moored, the sun came out!

This cottage is on the side of Cowroast Lock; we passed it today!

Today we’ve cruised just under 5 miles, and 1 lock.

Spring In Dacorum

We’ve been floating in a beautiful spot at the end of the navigable section of the Wendover Arm, while waiting for our letter to arrive from Hermes.

Today we received an automated message saying our package had arrived at the Tring Hermes Parcelshop. Despite the Hermes sign outside the shop saying it was a collect and postal service for Hermes, and despite the Hermes website saying people could collect parcels from their local Parcelshop; apparently this isn’t the case as they only deal with Retail customers. When we called at the shop to collect our letter, the assistant said we shouldn’t have used this service!

We’re trying to get this clarified with Hermes, which is proving a bit problematic. Nevertheless….. WE HAVE OUR LETTER! The letter contained our new debit and credit cards, so it was very important for them to be safely in our possession.

Tomorrow we can now untie our moorings, and once more (no pun intended) be on our way! Can’t wait, despite being moored in such an idyllic spot.

The weekend was a bit parky!

On our walk to Tring High Street, there were signs everywhere that Spring is really springing!

At a sheltered spot, the hawthorne has clearly woken up

The cherry blossom can’t wait any longer to show off its glorious blossom

It wont be long before one of my favourite plants will be in full bloom, that’s the foxglove

Tring High Street is looking very pretty. This is clearly the land of 4x4s. It’s also within the Dacorum Borough.

Wiki says:

“The name Dacorum comes from Latin and it means “hundred of the Dacians”. The latter word was used mistakenly in the Middle Ages for ‘Danes’. This happened because of a legend asserting that certain tribes from Dacia had migrated to Denmark. The hundred of Dacorum was first recorded in 1196, although it has existed since the 9th and 10th centuries, when it lay near the southern boundary of the Danelaw, on the River Lea. In 1086, the Domesday Book records the hundreds of Tring and Danais in places that became parts of the hundred of Dacorum.”

My Hermes – Probably My Hero!

What a shock to hear about the canal breach, between the first and second lock on the Middlewich Arm of the Shroppie, near to the Trent & Mersey Junction.

How lucky was the boater in that boat. What a fright he must have had and to be rescued by the police.

I understand no one was hurt, but I expect many were shocked, and a lot of boaters are inconvenienced, but really pleased there wasn’t a tragedy. Sympathies go out to those boaters who are stranded. I suppose at the moment, until the damage is assessed, it’s a case of ‘how long’s a piece of string’.

Looks like there are 15-20 stranded boats.  The breach has exposed a mass of rusty cycles, leisure batteries (Grrr!), and even a rusty handgun! The police have taken away the handgun to determine whether it’s a replica or a real one. If it’s real, then I guess a police ‘cold case’ will be wheeled out.

C&RT’s Stoppage Notice

It’s a cold cold day today! Not even Rusty wanted to go for a walk. Think we’ve been a bit spoilt by the springlike weather over the last few days – and the cold has returned with a vengeance.

What a daft duck sitting on a cold stone block. Surely she could find herself a warmer spot?

To continue with the saga of our letter that was posted to Leighton Buzzard Post Office without ‘Post Restante’ written on it. We managed to track it down to within inches away from us. Yet the Royal Mail (on Tues, 6th March) would not hand it over to us, saying it had to be returned to sender.

We complained to the Royal Mail, where we basically received ‘lip service’, and ‘rules are rules’, but we did get the ‘confession’ that ‘commonsense should have prevailed’. (Honest ‘Mi Lud’ we don’t normally make a habit of complaining, despite the ‘evidence’ lately in this blog.)

The letter was to be returned to John’s sister’s address on the 6th March, but by Saturday 10th some 5 days later, the letter still hadn’t been returned. John’s sister flew out to South Africa on the 10th for a couple of weeks, which meant there would be no one ‘at home’. Our niece who works away from home, luckily returned home this weekend, and has confirmed she’s received the letter. There’s an apologetic note from the Royal Mail saying the letter has been damaged!

Edited to say: Hermes service may not be as written below – please see next blog.

We’ve now discovered ‘My Hermes‘! How come we’ve not heard of this company before? What a brilliant concept! (Trust we’re not speaking too soon 🙂 )

Basically, our Niece will register the letter on-line, print off the delivery label, than take the letter to the nearest ‘My Hermes Point’, which happens to be a local CoOp shop just 5 minutes away from her. The letter will be delivered to the nearest ‘My Hermes Point’ to us, which is ‘The Convenience Store’ in Tring, just under a mile away. The cost being  £2.79 , inclusive of ‘tracking’, which is about the cost of the Royal Mail Recorded Delivery paid originally.

Message to the Royal Mail: Thank you for all your past service, but it appears (that maybe) you are now no longer required!

Moored On The Summit!

We wasn’t too sure if we should stay where we were moored because of the weather, but after a night of rain turning the towpath into a mud bath, we decided to move. The weather forecast rightly predicted the heavy rain would pass over around 10:00 am, so at about 11:00 am, we pushed Cyan off.

Cyan soon ascended the first two Marsworth locks (# 37 and #38), and we pleasantly cruised towards the Marsworth Services.

Marsworth Services must be one of the smartest sanny stations we’ve seen, which is probably because it is new and tagged onto the end of a trendy housing estate.

We tied Cyan to the mooring rings, then gathered our rubbish. It wasn’t obvious where we were to dump the rubbish, so we asked the maintenance man who was cleaning the area. The maintenance man also told John where the Elsan point was.

After dumping our rubbish John took the cassette to the Elsan point. He didn’t think there was a problem with the door being unlocked, because the maintenance man was there. John put the cassette down, then flushed the bowl to clean it before he tipped up the cassette. At that point a 35ish year old man stood at the doorway and gave John a tirade of verbal abuse – think of the worse words you can, and these are all the words the man shouted at John. It seems the man was a plumber, and he was there to mend a water pipe. There wasn’t an ‘Out Of Order’ notice on the door. If there was John wouldn’t have ignored it. John stood his ground, but I could tell he was physically shaken.

It was about 12:30 pm when we started to ascend the rest of the Marsworth Locks, starting at Lock #39, in the now pouring rain. The top gate was a pig, and John struggled to budge it, so I’m afraid Cyan gave the gate a gentle nudge to open it.

We cruised to Lock #40, and could see quite a lot of water was pouring out of the bottom lock gates. I tied Cyan to a bollard to be secure, as it looked like an awful lot of water would have to be emptied from the lock, causing rather a bit of turbulence. When John walked to the lock he saw that all four of the paddles on the top gates were open. Very odd considering Tring Summit has a water shortage problem. He closed the top paddles, and opened the lower ones to let the water out of the lock. While he waited for the lock to empty, he phoned C&RT to report the paddles being left open. No one at C&RT had opened the paddles, and they confirmed the paddles should be down. While John was on the phone he made a complaint about the abuse he’d received at the sanny. C&RT was very apologetic, and said no boater should take abuse from any C&RT contractor, and that they’d get the Area Manager to phone John back. So far no phone call; we’ll wait until tomorrow, if the Area Manager doesn’t respond, we’ll escalate our complaint.

Because  the paddles were left open, the water in the pounds between the locks was very low.

In full sunshine, we finally got to the top of Marsworth Locks! Then John saw a notice on the bridge over the Wendover Arm.

The notice was an invitation to explore one and half ‘lock-free miles’ of the Wendover Arm. The notice said; at the end of the arm there’s a turning point, and 48 hour moorings.  How could we miss the opportunity for an ‘adventure’!

Just as we were about to turn into the arm, loads of school kids with several teachers suddenly appeared…

… and they stood on the bridge to watch Cyan turn, waving and shouting as we passed under them.

There was a short stretch where the scenery wasn’t ‘the best’. The ‘stretch’ had tight bends, and Cyan had to be reversed a couple of times to get round.

Heygates Flour Mill

Even in the early Spring the Wendover Arm is pretty.

Plus it comes complete with it’s own swans…

… and other wild life:

Wild flowers are starting to show! Give us a week of warm sunshine, and Spring will definitely burst forth!

Cat’s Ears, or Dandelions?

We’re at the end of the Arm, and Cyan starts to wind.

Where we have moored it’s very quiet, it’s a beautiful spot, it’s in full sun, and it’s sheltered. Plus it’s got loads of footpaths to walk, and a nature reserve to discover. WiFi is insanely fast, and digital TV is wall-to-wall!  We just might stay here until the two yellow weather alerts for Saturday and Sunday have been resolved.

You can see on the map below that we are moored right at the end of the arm. For more information regarding restoring the Arm see Wendover Arm Trust. The Patron of the Trust is no other than David Suchet CBE, better known as Poirot.

If you click on ‘View larger map’ below, the towpath has been ‘street viewed’ – you can follow the canal down the towpath, like on Google Street View.

Today we’ve cruised 3.5 miles, and 9 locks.