Saturday, 16 October 2010

Captain's Jog - Friday 15th October

We woke to a cloudy,cold damp day. 14 miles to travel through 17 locks, the first 9 in the first 4 miles. Breakfast was therefore going to have to wait until we had done this part of the trip. We made good progress and eventually managed to have an unusual item on the breakfast menu, bacon and mushroom sandwiches, this seems to just get tastier every day,

We arrived at Slapton Lock for 1pm, making very good time, even though all the locks needed to be filled before we could enter. I opened the lock gates and along came the "Sorrel" only for the engine to stop as it was entering the lock. We quickly determined we had run out of fuel. We had thought we would have enough for the trip, this was not the case, the boat also uses the same fuel for central heating, so I guess we had used more than the same trip in the summer.

We pulled the boat out of the lock and moored up, there were a couple of boats in long term moorings, I asked if they had any spare diesel, unfortunately they didn't, but one did have a can. The nearest marina was at Grove about 2.5 miles away, the only option was to walk, as there were no boats going along to catch a lift with. After trekking along for about 1.5 miles,I came across a man who was servicing his narrow boat engine for the winter, he had both diesel and a  .................... bike !, So I duly borrowed both and made my way back.The bike was funny as it had a loose saddle that kept tilting back,doing incredible damage to nether parts of my body, so I part walked, part cycled.

I got back to the boat,Glyn put in the fuel, and we hoped it would fire, we were concerned that air would be in the fuel pipes and that it wouldn't do so ...................... that was the case, after several attempts, we realised that all we would achieve if we carried on was a flat battery. I phoned Calcutt Boats, who arranged for an engineer to come out from Wyvern Shipping in Hemel Henpstead, he duly arrived within the hour and with some tricky bleeding of air at 8 points within the engine, he got it to fire up. In the meantime we ate chicken in breadcrumbs for lunch.

We set off again at 4pm, our days travel much curtailed, we had agreed with Wyvern that we would fill up with fuel, with them at Leighton Linslade, they closed at 6pm. We arrived bang on time, they were waiting for us anyway until we go there, we fueled up and they let us stay at their marina for the night. Much thanks to them and Calcutt for great fast personal service.

Marilyn, Sarah and Gill arrived at about 6.30pm to deliver Marilyn's laptop, so I could catch up on the blog. Marilyn and I went to the chip shop about 5 minutes drive away, in one of those new fast things with no propeller and no rudder. Chicken and chips for Sarah and I, fish and chips for the rest. Sarah, Gill and I drank a bottle of wine, Glyn settled for beer and Marilyn orange juice. They then set off for home.

A damp cold frustrating day that leaves us behind schedule for the first time, by about 3 hours, we had got a  fairly light day tomorrow of 8.5 hours, we now need to start at first light at around 7  to get to Stoke Bruene tomorrow evening for 6.30 before dark, we plan to have dinner at The Navigator, this is possible and will put us back on schedule, with only 5.5 hours Sunday and 6.5 hours Monday needed to complete the journey.

Early to bed,just about managed 9pm, but with locking, walking and cycling many muscles are complaining about abuse.

Boats lined up in marina
A swing bridge
Lock Keeper's Cottage
Heron picture of the day
Returning with diesel
Ducks of the day
Field full of ducks
Grove Lock and Pub

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