Friday, June 12, 2009

No panic, an inflatable sheep, two nice meals and a near disaster

Despite the rain we survived Roxton Lock. The rain the day before that is. The rain that threatend to increase the river levels and the current. The current that scared me because we have no brakes and Roxton weir would drag us away from the landing stage and we'd all die.

Well it didn't and we all had a jolly day.
The mottley crew. Paula, Roy, me, Kath and DavidRoxton weir did pull at us, but for once I managed to display some skill at the tiller and throttle and kept us safe.
Roy appeared to know the river like the back of his hand so we were able to identify all sorts of bits and pieces that the guide book knew nothing of.

The rain had gone and the sun shone, except when we moored at the Anchor at Tempsford and went inside for a sandwich. It rained hard then - aren't we lucky. The pub was huge and gloomy - a good set for an Agatha Christie murder but the sandwiches were fine. The main attraction though was the dispensing machine in the men's toilets which amongst its exciting wares offered and inflatable sheep for a fiver! Strangely, none of us were tempted.

We emerged from the pub - minus sheep, and the rain stopped. The dear old sun shone all the way to Eaton Socon where Roy and Paula departed for the bus.

David stayed on for another day and treated us to our evening meal at the Rivermill at Eaton Socon. The decor there is gloomy like the Anchor although they have a good range of beers at good prices. We didn't have very high hopes of the food, but we were unduly pessimistic because it was very good indeed. Recommended. Especially the home made beefburgers that Kath had, Big, thick, meaty, herby, covered in strong mature melted chddar and good quality bacon.

Today was a special day too. We tootled down through the painfully slow St Neots lock to pause at the GOBA moorings at the Paxton pits nature reserve where we were met by Julie (Herbie's portraitist). After remembering to take her photo alongside her subject,
we went back to her house for a lovely lunch in her garden. We all had a chinwag, shared scurrilous stories about Rick (who is Julie's brother) and the women got a wee bit tipsy, so when we left Julie to resumed our cruise, David and I crewed for the afternoon.

Then at Brampton lock we had our scariest moment in a long time. Kath was nonchalantly minding the boat as David and I worked the lock. As the boat dropped down with the falling water level, the edge of Herbie's baseplate got stuck on those wretched chains that locks here all have draped along thier walls . Almost too late Kath, who was minding the boat shouted that the boat was tipping over sideways. Inside, teapots were crashing to the floor, pot plants were spilling their contents and it looked for a moment as though the boat was going to roll over. Frantically we tried to close the bottom paddles but the mechanism is so slow that the boat was tipping more and more and was at a truly alarming angle. I dashed up to the other end to raise the Guillotine to let more water in and as I got there, there was a huge crashing sound as Herbie freed herself from the chains and righted. Phew. If you think there should be a photo of that, sorry to disappoint but I wasn't exactly thinking of cameras at the time!

Now we're back at Godmanchester. David has gone home on the bus and it all seems a bit quiet.

More adventures to follow I am sure.

1 comment:

VallyP said...

Ooh what a horrible moment that must have been!. Roxton weir sounds quite tame by comparison. OK I know you didn't die in the lock either, but even so, you must have come close to full on heart failure. What happened to all the teapots and pot plants. Any breakages?

Wishing you a peaceful and uneventful next few days!