Sunday, 21 July 2013

Long day and a reminder of Mr Moose

We weren’t the first away from our mooring this morning but we were still on our way before 7.30am.  With six locks between us and Etruria Junction it was obvious most of them would be against us.  And so it turned out.  Unfortunately the majority of the locks were towards the end of the cruise which had poor Jan working in the heat.

Just me attempting to be artistic Winking smile

The Stoke locks all appear to be very deep.  Although we passed this way in 2003 on a hireboat only the last two were familiar. 

Some of the entry and exit angles are also slightly awkward.

I wonder how many boaters pause in the bottom of a lock and think about the weight and volume of water being held back by that gate!

It was Stoke Lock No37 that really caught our attention.  The road bridge immediately prior to the lock (Osborn Bridge) has a canal related plaque in the abutment.

What a nice tribute to Pat & Millie by their friends on the waterways.

Looking back and up from inside the lock there are two bridges overhead.  One is a rail bridge and the higher one is probably for pedestrians.

Both Jan and I remember Stoke Lock 39.  It was the first lock Jan had ever done on her own.  We had hired a boat from the Festival Park Marina in 2003 and been assisted through the top lock by one of the marina staff.  At the second lock we had moored the boat on the bollards above the lock and I had gone forward to fill the lock (after checking there wasn’t a boat below) and then opened the gate whilst Jan stayed with the boat.  As I reached the boat Mr Moose appeared from below the lock, scowled fiercely at us and then dropped the raised paddles… And I mean ‘DROPPED’ the paddles, scowled a second time and headed back down below the lock.

Jan worked me through the lock and as the boat exited there was Mr Moose on his boat waiting to enter the lock.  Being a complete novice, Jan was focussed on doing every action in the lock to leave it secure and she started closing the lower gates forgetting Mr Moose was waiting.  I called back to her to reopen the gates whilst Mr Moose roared and bellowed as if his testicles had been caught on an electric fence!   I remember him shouting at me “Go back where you came from!”  Being a gentleman I raised my hat to him and said “Have pleasant day sir!  Apparently this caused Mr Moose’s testicles to become even more entangled in the electric fence as he continued roaring and bellowing all the way into the lock.  Meanwhile Mrs Mouse scurried past Jan with her head down muttering “Sorry about that!”  We’re always going to remember Stoke Lock 39 as Mr Moose Lock! Smile

On the left, just before Etruria Road is GT Thermal, a Calor gas retail outlet.  Dave (nb Sokai) had left a comment on an earlier blog post suggesting we wait until Stoke to buy a 13kg refill as GT thermal have a very good price.

Red arrow points to the location of GT Thermal.  The 13kg refill cost us £17.84.

We carried on cruising reaching the Festival Park Marina where we moored as I wanted to find out whether they could drill two holes in the top of Waiouru’s port handrail for a second cleat.  The reason I haven’t drill the holes myself is because my little battery drill wasn’t up to the task.  The engineer attempted to drill the holes but needed to borrow my 4.5mm HSS bit.  In the end he couldn’t drill the holes and broke my HSS bit leaving the end of it stuck down the hole.  Then there was a protracted operation on his part to remove the broken portion.  I’m making helpful comments like “Don’t make that hole any bigger as I need to thread it with a 5mm Tap”.  Eventually he managed to extract the remains of my steel drill bit and went off to find one from the marina.  He returned several minutes latter with another 4.5mm bit which went through the steel like a hot knife through butter.  So much for the quality of my new B&Q £6 HSS 4.5mm bit (now broken).

Back in the marina office I asked how much they wanted for drilling two holes.  No one had an answer so I offered £10, which was accepted.  I also accepted the engineer’s 4.5mm bit as a replacement for mine.  The holes are now covered with two small pieces of duct tape and a awaiting my attention to thread them before fitting the cleat.

We have winded Waiouru in preparation of cruising the Caldon Canal.

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