Friday, 1 November 2013

Back to Packet Boat for the winter

Today's Canal - Grand Union

The final cruise for this season. It was still relatively mild for the season, grey but mostly dry as we made our way through the remaining four locks back to Packet Boat Marina.

Just above Cowley Lock, in the middle of a long line of permanently moored boats on the offside, we spotted two wooden converted working boats that looked as if the main hulls were approaching the end of their useful life! Later, at the next lock were told a little about the boats by the person who moors next to them and was returning from a short trip to fill up with water.

Apparently, a couple have lived on board for some considerable time - our informant has been there for 12 years and nothing much has changed in that time and the boats have never left their berth. The lady grew up on one of the boats in the days when it was still working. The gentleman still works for CRT.

One of the notable features of navigating on the canal system is the range and variety of people who share the space. At times it is possible to be passing a long line of boats that are seemingly used as homes for people unable to find elsewhere - or those who choose this as a way of life, and then also pass a craft that costs in excess of £100K. Whilst there can be clashes of culture between land based neighbours and permanent liveaboards, there are few occasions when there is comparable conflict between boaters. (Of course there can be occasional tiffs over lock operation or passing another boat too fast, but even these are sufficiently rare that they result in comment when they do occur)

Late morning we arrived at Cowley Peachy Junction and Andrew turned the corner onto the Slough Arm, followed immediately after by the entrance to the marina. Christine had already phoned Maeve, the Marina Supervisor, to find out where our berth was to be and so we could manoeuvre straught into the space. However, we managed to reverse into the wrong one at first as the numbers can only be seen once on the pontoons!

After lunch and a start on clearing up, Mike and Andrew set off to collect Andrew's car from Berkhamsptead returning an hour and a half later with no hold ups (although the M25 a little further ahead from where we left it was closed following a nasty accident)

By coincidence, nb Chance, another fellow blogger, is moored directly opposite us but, although we went to see, there was no-one aboard at the time.

Further cleaning and then a quick trip to the nearby Tesco as we had failed to bring sufficient bottles of wine and tonight is chill con carne.

The quicker members of our blogosphere may just have noticed the lack of pictures in this blog. Apart from the fact that we did not take very many, Mike had already packed the camera in the car before downloading to the laptop. Maybe, if there turn out to be any useful pics, they may be added at a later date! Just don't hold your breath!

5.1 Miles - 4 Locks