Saturday, July 05, 2008

A close scrape and a party

Yesterday for a short while we thought we were marooned. Twice!

The first time was in Catteshall lock at Farncombe when the engine failed to start when leaving the lock. Kath tried a couple of times, then I had a couple of goes to no avail. I thought it sounded like fuel starvation as the engine was turning over OK. I was just considering calling for professional help when I noticed that the stop button (with which you stop the engine) had failed to pop down again after use. What plonkers we would have looked to a boat mechanic! With much relief we were away and off to our next bit of drama.

The day before we only just got under the bridge at Shalford and the river had risen a bit overnight. A number of bridges here are low, like these two
but this takes the biscuit as the lowest we have ever encountered. We approached it inch by inch until I had to shout “back, back” when I could see our stove chimney wouldn’t go under. So I removed the chimney and we had another go, still fearful of the fixed water heater chimney at the back. Well, we got through, but only just.

On then to Guildford where we are joining the annual Guildford Boaters Gathering, a jolly affair it seems. There are about 50 boats here a short way upstream of the town centre. Luckily we had with us our trusty bunting made out of recycled plastic carrier bags so we are doing our bit for the festivities.

Last night was a communal BBQ at which we were made very welcome and got to hear about the Pageant later today. Apparently there is fierce competition for the prize for the boat best dressed up- a bit like a carnival float. As I write people are struggling with hardboard and cardboard, knocking together wooden frames etc. The theme is children’s TV. I can see some one converting their boat into Thomas the Tank Engine!

A week ago I wrote that I was trying to avoid using "Wey" as a pun. Well, the boaters here have no such scruples. We see loads of boats with Wey puns in their name. Weyward Girl, Pilgrims Wey, Wey Out, Hem in Wey, - I'll spare you the rest. One name I did like was "Short Respite" on a little Springer water bug.

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