Thursday, 26 August 2010

Madam Medusa

MoodyIt heaved it down with rain yesterday. All day. So we stayed put. The new drainage channel under the deckboards kept the water out of the engine compartment well, and it was all still dry down there.

Today, was grey and overcast, but with very little wind. So we decided to venture out. Sheena cruised us up to 'Cardboard Castle', near Marlow. I say 'cruise', but it was probably a 'leisurely walking pace for an octogenarian'. It doesn't look like it on the surface, but there's a lot more current now, and we are quite slow against it. Slower than most other narrowboats, which is a little embarrassing. We're
consoling ourselves with having more time to enjoy the scenery and wallow in the experience of the journey.

All summer we've watched boats whizzing up and down the river between the locks. In a hurry to get somewhere. I understand that they probably have itineries of things they want to see and do. But the haste in which they do it, seems to me, to miss the point of being on the water. Quite a few of them look bored. Which I think is a big shame.

Anyway...After we'd turned round, we felt like a cork, instead a brick. So we carried on down through Cookham lock, to Cliveden Reach again. It's nice and wide there, and today we managed to practice what happens when we engage full reverse when going full ahead. The front swings around to the left, because (i guess) the propellor is turning to the right (clockwise). Scouted out a couple of nice mooring spots for another day. Then turned ourselves around, and headed back to Bourne End.

The locking went fine. We glided in downstream, great. tied up. and it all went like clockwork. But going back, a little GRP cruiser forced us out, and we had to use the offside. It was a bit of a sharp angle, and I couldn't get the stern in to throw a rope over a bollard because of the old lock gates towering above me. Luck was eluding Sheena up front, too. I used a phrase I'd learnt in the navy. Causing the wife of the cruiser owner to stick her head out of their canopy, and gave us a scowl that would have curdled a lemon.

For the entire time in the lock, we were subjected to her sour faced stares, and withering stoney looks. Like a medusa, she was. After much forward and reversing, mister cruiser eventually took pity on us, while his wife was shouting "no, come back... don't help them". he tossed the rope back down to me. I thanked him for his kindness.

Meeting a candidate for "the most misanthropic person on the river" took a bit of the shine off the day. but ultimately, we feel sorry for the bloke who's married to her. Apart from that, the rest of it was fine. We're still learning. And having fun doing it. We didn't bump into anything, Run ourselves aground, or have to call out the marina tug to rescue us.

We pootled past the summer houses of the exceedingly rich again. We admired them, as we always do. But we're both glad we don't have to live in them. Or heat them.

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