Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Up to the armpits

We slipped away from Shardlow early in an effort to avoid the midday heat.  Jan had stripped the bed before we departed and the Candy washed them as we slowly cruised through the delightfully rural countryside.  The washing as completed by the time we reached the water point above Weston Lock which was in a very quiet and rural location so we decided to top up the tank.  It was a slow filler and we took the opportunity to wash Waiouru’s roof and port side whilst we waited.

Waiouru now looks slightly better after all the dust had been removed.  We found a lunchtime mooring just after George’s Fine Bridge and erected the rotary clothesline on the stern. It only took 75 minutes for all the laundry to dry.  With our usual luck the CRT grass cutters arrived to mow the grass beside Waiouru.  I knew we shouldn’t have washed the boat!  The clothesline was dismantled and we pressed on.

Lunchtime mooring

Paul’s (Waterway Routes) canal map shows a hazard just west of Sarson’s Bridge.  There is a submerged stone shelf protruding out from the towpath side.  BW/CRT have also installed signs at either end of the section.

The shelf appears to extend halfway across the canal.  I hadn’t anticipated that and we scrapped across the top of it for 30 metres before I could get Waiouru over the far side.

The Pearsons Guide shows a winding hole (turning point) in the junction immediately above Swarkestone Lock but the CRT signs clearly state ‘No Winding in the Junction’. The arm is all that’s left of the Derby Canal.  We looked to see if Kevin was there with his bucket and spade working on the restoration but it must have been his rest day! Smile

Jan disposed of the rubbish in the skip by the water point above the lock and we decided to move to a quieter mooring……. Big mistake!  Just as we reached the ‘narrows’ by the lockside cottage the engine stalled.  I restarted it but it stalled again when attempting to engage the gearbox.  Obviously we had something substantial around the propeller.  Working together Jan and I managed to pole Waiouru back against the towpath and then stern hauled her back to the concrete edging.  Lying on the cockpit deck with the upper third of my torso down the weed hatch I did my ‘touchy feely’ act.  It felt like we had something made of hard plastic/canvas and strong wire tied around the propeller.  Carefully using the serrated breadknife I started to cut some of the obstruction free.  The water was very murky and everything was being done by touch.  As I started to extract pieces Jan commented that she thought it was a vinyl cratch cover.  We even came upon a long zip.  But I didn’t understand why there was high tensile 12 gauge wire.  Eventually I managed to free a pair of small trolley wheels and that’s when we realised we’d been given a suitcase.  It took well over an hour to clear the propeller and the only consolation in the entire affair was at least the water wasn’t freezing.  I wouldn’t like to have been attempting to clear the obstruction in the middle of winter.

Not much left of it after I’d dissected it with professional surgical precision.  Jan threw it back into the canal so someone else could also have the pleasure of removing it from around their prop carefully disposed of it in the skip bin beside the water point.

After all the strenuous physical activity (albeit lying down) we were buggered and decided to call it quits for the day.  I carefully trolled across the same spot we’d collected our first piece of Versace luggage hoping to acquire a matching pair Winking smilebefore mooring for the day.

My nose has almost recovered but the lungs aren’t back at full capacity and the cough hasn’t decided to depart for greener pastures.  Give it another 3-4 days I should be fully recovered.  No doubt Jan will then go down with it!


Anonymous said...


We will be mooring just west of Bridge 61 (The Plum Pudding Restaurant - lovely food) after heading out of Kings Bromley Marina Saturday morning - hope to see you out there if you have not gone past


Paul and Kath NB Lola

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Paul,

I suspect we may have passed you by then as we're aiming to reach Fradley Junction tomorrow and head further on the day after (Thursday). But who can tell what will happen!