Saturday, 19 January 2019

Little Tring (it wasn’t really snow)

A smattering of snow on Thursday morning

Buddy has always been scared of metallic objects, so he is not keen on our current mooring.  There is a run of raised Armco alongside the boat and the uprights are great for tying up to as there are so many of them.  Unfortunately, Buddy has to leap the Armco so he can avoid touching it, but at least he does it in a delicate way.

Buddy’s leap
We had a rare visit to the cinema on Wednesday afternoon to see Bohemian Rhapsody.  It was our first trip to see a film since we saw Sex & The City goodness knows how many years ago.  We arrived just as the opening credits were rolling so we timed it perfectly.  We both enjoyed the film and, once the lights were up at the end, were surprised how many people were there.  Apart from a couple with a young baby everyone else looked a lot older than us.  Not many were getting up to leave so we rather wondered if they were staying for the next film to get their money’s worth.  Anyway, we both would recommend the film although it only brought tears to my eyes.

Soon after we got home, Steve arrived for a sleepover, as he had a business meeting nearby on the Thursday.  As ever, it was great to spend time with Steve and have a drink or two.

Me and Stevie (my middle son although I think we look like brothers!)
Soon after Steve left for work on Thursday morning I noticed it had started snowing.  It didn’t amount to very much at all and by the time I took Buddy out it had all but disappeared.

After the snow clouds had rolled away
It was good to see the sun and it made for a very pleasant cross-country car journey to Cropredy where we were spending the best part of the day with Mike & Lesley.  They have finally moved into their new house and did us proud with a delicious, relaxing, drawn-out lunch.

If you were reading the blog in summer 2017 you may remember that we moored for a few weeks right in the middle of Cropredy alongside Mike & Lesley’s building plot.  It was the first time we have visited since the house was completed and we had to agree that it’s a stunning home.  They also had a narrowboat built last year and they keep it on the mooring at the bottom of the garden.

Mike & Lesley’s new home and boat
When we left them, Karen spotted a VR post box near the old station building at the edge of the village.  We were amazed as we had walked around the village many times when we were staying there in 2017.  Studying Streetview we have come to the conclusion that the post box has been recently re-sited.  When we were living there it was hidden away on the drive up to what was the station building.

We fancied a cruise on Friday so headed back up the Wendover arm to get onto the Grand Union at Bulbourne.  We turned right (south) at the junction and then stopped to top up with water.  There was a water point between Bulbourne and Tring and as it’s in a lock-free stretch meant we could have a lock-free cruise and get water. 

We pulled up at the water point only to find it wasn’t working.  Fortunately, I am in the habit of checking taps work before getting the hose out of the gas bottle locker and clearing the cratch to get access to the water vtank.  Over the years we have been doing this I would say that probably twice a year we have arrived at water points that don’t work.  It can be quite frustrating, especially in inclement weather, to get all set up and then find there is no water.

Anyway, we thought that the pipes may be frozen, but rather doubted it as it hasn’t really been that cold for any length of time.  I refused to pour boiling water over the standpipe as we found someone doing that when were moored down on the Staffs & Worcs two years ago.  They ended up splitting a pipe and putting it out of action for everyone.  It was particularly annoying as it was during a cold spell when the cut was frozen over for over a week and we had to cruise through the ice to get to another water point once we ran out.

By the way, Bulbourne is the only part of the canal system we have been on where we can see a VR box from the boat – it is on the wall of the Grand Junction pub.

The only VR box we have seen from the boat
Back to the lack of water – there are usually two taps that have to be turned on before water starts flowing.  The tap nearest the mains seemed to be turning without any effect in either direction which made me think it was broken.  I called the local CRT team and we decided to stay at the water point and have lunch whilst we waited for someone to turn up.  We were just finishing when a CRT guy turned up, fiddled around with the taps for a bit and then water started gushing out.  He and I both came to the conclusion that the pipes had been frozen after all.

After filling up with water we turned around and headed back to the Wendover arm where we hoped our spot would still be free.  We knew it was most unlikely to have been taken as we had seen no boats on the move and, even if it had, there were plenty of other isolated spots to moor up in.

Bulbourne is one of the places that lock gates used to be made.  There are still a few old workshop buildings left but, sadly they stand empty these days.

Passing one of the disused buildings with a gantry that used to lift the lock gates onto waiting work boats
As we were heading for the junction a walker told us that the water levels were dropping as lock gates had been left open on the Marsworth flight.  As it was, we were soon back at the junction and were pleased to see the water levels were fine.  Maybe a boat had been going down the flight or something and the guy didn’t really understand what was happening.

Heading back for the junction

Jem’s dry dock at Marsworth top lock with a wooden working boat waiting outside
You may remember that when we came down the arm last weekend we were really struggling as the water was so low, but it was fine today and up to its ‘normal’ level.  As expected we were able to moor back at the spot we had left a few hours previously.  It is also quite deep at this point so, even when the pound drops, it doesn’t affect us.

Heading back 'home' down the Wendover arm
I know I keep saying, ‘You may remember’ but there’s just one more thing to recall.  I have been having trouble programming our radio so that it transmits our European identification (ATIS) number when we are in France.  After many calls and emails to the distributors it has finally transpired that it needs to be sent back to them for them to do the programming.  So annoying as I was warned this may happen by Mike and Charles who had had similar problems, but the distributor had told me that with the radio model we have, we could do it ourselves.  In the scheme of things, it’s nothing and with nine weeks or so to go there’s plenty of time for them to get it fixed (they estimate a week).

We’ll probably stay here another five days or so before heading back down the Marsworth flight.


  1. There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to what scares a dog - ours has always been afraid of any long pole - fishing rods, walking poles, mop, brooms etc. We know he has never been hit or threatened - he just does not like them.

    Now to people not moving as soon as the film ends - I can come up with one answer as I have a husband with an arthritic knee who is waiting for a cataract op - it is to give the eyes time to adjust to the light so you can make it down the steps in one piece!! Anno Domini and all that! Jennie nb Tentatrice

    1. Thanks for these comments Jennie. Interesting about the poles and your dog - I'll be mentioning it in my next update.