Top Of Denham Deep Lock

As mentioned, we’re biding our time until the Thames is safely navigable. We found a lovely spot to spend a few days, it’s at the top of Denham Deep Lock, alongside a wooded area with pathways crisscrossing woodland, which is great for Rusty.

We’re also within easy walking distance of ‘London’s Biggest, Busiest, and Best’ car boot sale. The bad news is that the car boot’s been cancelled today! 🙁

We’ll be spending our time preparing to go on the Thames, the first thing we’ve to do is dig out our anchor; it’s been well buried under the bow. John also wants to give the engine an oil change.

Today we’ve travelled 1.5 miles.

Waiting On The Mighty Thames

We’ve not travelled much today, merely a mile, and dropped down two locks.

At the bottom of Black Jack’s lock, we discovered more canal side humour, and a gorgeous tree in full blossom.

It’s surprising what you find in people’s gardens, take these two houses, they share a WW2 bunker between them. The building looks like a pillbox, and no doubt its job was to defend the Grand Union Canal during the war. The canal was a vital artery for getting supplies too, and from London.

At the bottom of Wide Water Lock, we moored Cyan while we took a trip into Harefield. When we returned, we had planned to move on, except we got stuck into a couple of repair jobs on Cyan, namely: cleaning the ventilation fan over the cooker, and repairing the bathroom’s sliding door because it had somehow ‘dropped’ a fraction.

I really don’t know what to make of the boat below. Every item on the boat looks like it’s been placed. Complete chaos. The pic doesn’t do the boat ‘justice’! We’re just hoping nothing falls off the boat, wrapping itself around some other boat’s prop.

We’re now officially dragging our feet speed. As we’re only 14 miles, and 14 locks away from Brentford, we’d rather hang around this end of the 14 miles, that the ‘other end’ near London as we await the Thames calming down.

Today we’ve travelled one mile, and dropped two locks.

Cyan’s Completely ‘Full-Filled’!

Tuesday was another wet day where we decided to stay attached to the bank. In stark contrast, yesterday the weather gods bestowed on us a glorious boating day! The ‘Gongoozlers’ were out in force, also it seemed enjoying a ‘glorious boating day’ except without a boat (been ‘there’ as Gongoozlers).

We set off early around 8:00 am, the sun had been shining since daybreak, and we eventually moored at 5:00 pm. We covered 10 GU locks; cruised 7.5 miles; brimmed the diesel tank with 95 litres of diesel, and bought 3 bags of coal from M & P Canal Carrying Co (salt of the earth these coal boat people); we called into a sanny for Elsan chores, filled the water tank, and dumped the rubbish; then we called at Frogmoor Wharf (Tesco’s wharf) to restock our provisions. I love days like this! At the end of the day we were happily tired, and felt we’d accomplished quite a bit.

After dinner, a drink, and an episode of ‘Vera’ on ITV3, there wasn’t much time to write a blog.

Our journey was really pleasant, all we met had bright smiles and wanted to chat. Surprising what ‘magic’ a little sunshine can do.

Grove Mill with it’s ‘feisty’ mill race

What a hard life we live….

A splendid Magnolia tree about to burst into bloom.

John worked all 10 locks today, a sure sign his ankle is on the mend.

The ‘first’ lock after visiting Tesco was ‘Stockers Lock’, the adjacent farm was the setting where ‘Black Beauty’ was filmed. Which has got us thinking if the canal featured in the film?

At Batchworth Lock there’s a canal ‘experience’ museum, their ‘star attraction’ is Roger an historical working boat.

Outside of Rickmansworth is a whole community of ‘house/boat’ dwellers.

A magnificent Pussy Willow in all its glory.

Plenty of humour on the canal.

Excited the willow leaves are about to ‘explode’ into life – wonder how long it will be before we start cursing them?

A brilliant use for a redundant mast.

Where we are moored

We’re moored just before Black Jack’s Lock.

We’re now 15 miles away from the end of the Grand Union at Brentford, and 20 miles away from Teddington Lock which will take us onto the ‘Mighty Thames’. Presently the Thames is on red, meaning:

River conditions

The river is flowing extremely fast and the majority of the weirs are fully open. Many of the tail lay-bys are underwater and completely inaccessible. Large items of debris are being carried by the strong stream. We strongly advise all boaters not to navigate in the current conditions.”

We don’t want to go too far into London while we wait for the Thames to ‘calm down’, as rumour has it the canal has quite a lot of debris above Hanwell locks. We’re in no rush, and being fully provisioned means we’ve got no worries. We’ll use the time to study our route on the Thames.

Today we’ve cruised 7.5 miles, and 10 locks.

Running Aground After All The Rain

We’ve changed our ‘grand’ cruising plan, instead of joining the Kennet & Avon Canal from the Thames, we’ve now decided to continue going up the Thames, and joining the Oxford Canal. We still hope to do the Kennet & Avon at a later date. Amongst our reasons; we’d like a break from doing double locks, and we’ve heard the Kennet & Avon is very busy during the summer months.

After a wet Easter Weekend at Hunton Bridge, we were pleased to continue with our trip this morning. We had hoped to drop down 10 locks today (John and I sharing 5 locks each), and mooring across the way from Tesco’s shopping mooring. But that wasn’t to be…

Over the ‘wet’ weekend, and being moored on the part of the canal where the River Gade runs through the Grand Union, we watched the river gathering a pace as the rain came down. So imagine our surprise when Cyan nearly grounded in our first lock of the day #72, and actually got stuck on the silt in the pound between locks #72 and #73. The water was cascading through the weir at the top of lock #72 at quite a rate, hence our surprise there was no water below the lock.

John walked back to the top of the lock, and opened the paddles on lock #72 to let water down. We also phoned C&RT who agreed we should open the paddles, and that an engineer will be with us in an hour. We did say; if we were able we’d continue our journey, leaving the paddles open for the engineer.

Nothing else to be done except make a cup of coffee, and by the time we’d drank it, Cyan was floating again. John slowly filled lock #73, and as soon as we could, we continued our journey.

Lovely row of daffodils at lock #74

Could these leaky bottom gates on lock #74 be the problem?

How typical is this…. we hadn’t seen a boat ‘on the move’ until we came to a 45 degree bend, and with a turnover bridge to boot! We let the boater know the situation about the pound and the paddles, and said they may come across a C&RT engineer.

Beautiful turnover bridge

We’re now moored by Grove Ornamental Bridge.

We had a few hours today of lovely sunshine, and we even managed to have the side hatch open; the first time this year!

We’re also just across the way from The Grove Hotel, Golf Course, and Spa – very posh! Trip Adviser describes The Grove Hotel as the Footballers Wive’s paradise!

Today it took us three hours to traverse one mile, and 3 locks. We had wanted to drop down 10 locks, but not to worry; we’re in no rush. The remaining 7 locks can be tackled tomorrow; providing of course we don’t need to fill any lock pounds.