Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Leamington Spa (pet passport problems)

Buddy and I set off on a cruise at about nine on Monday morning.  I wanted to get some washing done, top back up with water and get to Leamington by lunchtime.

First, we had to go down the two Cape locks; these locks had been closed for maintenance during January and therefore one reason why we’ve seen such little boat traffic lately.

Top lock nearly emptied – note the new wooden boards on the top gates

The new bumper boards have been fitted as part of the maintenance works.  Most of the previous boards had come off, making it quite hazardous for ascending boats, especially if the driver hadn’t noticed the bow getting caught under one of the gate cross members or the balance beam.  If the bow gets caught under the balance beam when the lock is nearly full it can actually lift the gate up causing all sorts of damage.

If the bow gets caught under a cross member when the lock starts filling, then there is a great danger that the boat will capsize through water flooding in on the front deck whilst it stays caught but the back is rising.  It only takes a moment’s lack of attention to cause a nasty accident.

Fortunately, we got down both locks without any mishaps and pulled up by the water point to wait for the washing machine to finish.

Moored at the water point below the bottom lock

The pair of boats moored the other side of the water point were there when we last came along here in October, so I wondered if they were on a permanent mooring.  I chatted to the guy who was just going off to work and he said it was just a coincidence and he moves every week or two like we do.

After setting off again we approached the Kate Boats boatyard at Warwick.   This is one of their two hire boat bases and from a distance it looked like they had moored their boats right across the cut.  Most hire boat bases are like this in the winter and breast as many boats up as possible to take up less linear space.

They had, in fact, left enough room for a widebeam to get through but it reminded me once again how difficult I find it to judge gaps from a distance.  

Next, we passed another boatyard where Mharie and Andy live on a boat with their three children.  Karen would have been jealous as I noticed quite a few of their daffs were in bloom; ours are still in bud.

Theirs is the far boat with a pot of daffs on the hatch – most of their flowers were on the front of the boat
The two boatyards are on a long straight stretch and at the end is a notorious bridge on a blind bend by the moorings for the 24-hour Tesco.  It is particularly difficult as the road has been widened several times over the years, so it is quite a long bridge and takes a while before you can see if the way is clear.  The last two times I came through here boats were coming the other way far too fast and got themselves into difficulty trying to stop when they saw us.  Narrowboats tend to skew their backs one way or the other if slowed quickly from speed, so you can always tell if someone was going to fast by the fact they end up across the cut. 

No boats coming this time so all was OK

The only other items of canal interest on the journey are the two aqueducts on the approach to Leamington.

Aqueduct over the River Avon

Aqueduct over the Great Western Railway

It was by the railway aqueduct that Buddy and I were watching a grass snake swimming last summer.

Round the next corner was Lidl which was where we wanted to moor for the next week or two.  Once Karen is fully over her flu she will have an easy walk to work from here and I will get the opportunity to do all those things that I have been putting off because we haven’t been in a town.  You know, things like sight and hearing tests etc.

I mentioned yesterday that Buddy has been a bit under the weather, so I took him to our vets at the top end of town in the afternoon to get him checked out and get him a passport.  It turned out he has an ear infection, so he was unable to get his passport.  One of the passport prerequisites is a rabies jab and he couldn’t have that whilst under a course of antibiotics.  That means another trip to the vets in a week or two.

There were four of us moored at Lidl with us at the end; I recognised the two boats at the front as they are local ccers like us but the boat in front of us was brand new and I didn’t recognise it.  I realised that it was built by Aintree boats as it had the same design as our hull.  They are a very popular boatbuilder it seems, Mike and Lesley are due to have their boat finished by them this week and other friends, Chris and Sue, have just booked a build slot with them too!

Moored outside Lidl

I have to admit that one of the advantages of mooring outside Lidl is that they do the best pain au chocolate of any supermarket.  They are also cheap and, if you go at the right time of day they sell them at a discount.  My first of my three daily breakfasts is always a pain au chocolate and coffee – so I’ll be a happy bunny for a while 😊

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