'Our mission' to procure a goodly supply of logs/coal is getting a little urgent. Though we do have an alternative heating system; it's a diesel central heating system feeding five radiators so we won't freeze, so long as we don't run out of diesel of course.
Unfortunately, where we moored for the night, the reception for internet and mobile signal was poor, and we needed to make a few phone calls in our search for fuel. So after our morning coffee and ginger nuts, we casted off! As soon as we left the bank a boat appeared from round the corner. The boat was heading straight at us, and we were on the wrong side of the canal! With our arms signalling our intention to the other boat, Cyan manoeuvred to the correct side of the canal; boats always pass each other on the left. It wasn't till we approached the oncoming boat that we realised it was David, our instructor for the helmsman course, he was on-board 'Peggy' 'our training boat', also on board were 3 students. Big smiles all round, and a big 'thumbs up' from David. Truly, Willow Wren, David, and the 'Helmsman Course' has been essential.
Very soon after casting off, John felt there was a problem with the rudder; as we were passing an area that looked like it was a good place to stop, which wasn't encumbered by trees and buildings, which can block internet signals! Here I could hopefully make a few phone calls, and John would be able to examine the 'weed hatch'.
One of the phone calls was to a 'fuel boat'. Fuel boats are working boats that work a patch of the canals, selling diesel, wood, logs, coal, kindling, and other essentials like engine grease. We've not been too lucky with finding fuel boats, and our call confirmed this. So to 'Plan B', several calls to nearby marinas resulted in our decision to moor at Wigrams Turn Marina for a couple of nights, and pick up the provisions we need.
The inspection of the weed hatch resulted in John successfully cutting away some rope and plastic bags that had wound around the rudder.
To get to Wigrams we had to navigate 3 locks. These locks were the ones we went through on our helmsman course, it was great to be on familiar territory.
At the top of the lock met one of the lads who came through Bascote Locks with us, their boat's gear box had apparently broken! His two friends had gone off foraging spare parts; such bad luck! There but for the Grace of.....
Very carefully we manoeuvred into the entrance of Wigrams Turn Marina, although we've visited the marina several times by car, it's very difficult to anticipate where we should be making for when on the canal; making a mistake and having to do a 3-point turn in a narrowboat can be fraught. We shouldn't have worried! We were met by pleasant member of staff who quickly snatched our centre line, and pulled us to the jetty. "What can I do you for?", said the man.... "Diesel, coal, logs, and kindling", replied John, and a place to tie up for 3 nights.
It wasn't long before Cyan was tied to our pontoon, with me compiling our 'Tesco On-Line' shopping list for delivery the next morning!