Sunday, February 19, 2006

To Hertford and back

Hertford is not what you'd expect really. For a County town it is very small and undeveloped. Lots of nice old buildings, including the brewery, and no big shops. The river runs right into the middle, and we arrived in style on Saturday afternoon watched by shoppers and towpath strollers. After scraping under an amazingly low bridge, practically on our hands and knees, we did a quick about turn and the end of navigation and headed back under the bridge to moor at the town allotments. As we had passed a nice looking pub called the Old Barge, we popped in to investigate as soon as we had moored. Black Sheep, Adnams, Ruddles and other beers I can't now recall, and a good atmosphere. Definately one to return to.

Jacob took the tiller practically all the way to Hertford and back and seems quite a competent helmsman. He can stand on the seat on the rear deck and see clearly in front and can easily reach the tiller at the same time. The adults only did the tricky bits coming up to locks, moorings etc.

From our base to Hertford is a leisurely three hours (or ten minutes in a car!) and mostly in pleasant rural surroundings. The bits through Ware and Hertford are also attractive and olde worldy. The three locks each way are deep, heavy gated, poorly maintained, and slow, but in attractive enough settings.

Herbie continues to function well except that I can't get the diesel filler cap off to inspect the fuel level. It needs a special spanner which I can't find anywhere on the boat. This week I phoned up the boat's original builders to get a spare. The lady on the phone said "Oh I remember that boat - I fell off it into the water when I was painting it!" I'm hoping thet as it has a 45 gallon tank, there is plenty of diesel in there.

We are looking for a new name for Herbie to avoid all the Volkswagen references! Any ideas welcome asap as we want to do it soon before we renew the licence in March.

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