Friday 22 February 2019

Marsworth (last staircase in UK)

Sunset over our mooring at Marsworth (third boat on right hand side)
It was yet another gorgeous looking day on Wednesday, but it was really rather windy.  As we needed water, we had to cruise up to Marsworth regardless of the weather.  We set out after breakfast and found we had to do the locks together rather than one of us going ahead to get them set.  This was because the arm is exposed and the wind whips across the fields making it troublesome to keep the boat in a safe position outside locks without tying up to a bollard. 

The first lock of the day
To avoid any hassles with the wind we did all the locks together and as they are very quick to set on the arm it didn’t really lose us much time.

Hanging back in a more sheltered spot waiting for a lock to be set
I mentioned in the last entry that we have to remove the chimney before going through the bridge holes when going upstream.  This picture clearly show that we wouldn’t get the chimney through undamaged without removing it.  To be fair, Karen came rushing down from the lock to remind me to remove the chimney, just in time as it happened.

Just as well the chimney had been removed
The last two locks form a staircase and as we went up, we realised that this would be the last staircase we would be doing in the UK until we bring the boat back from France. 

Entering the bottom lock of the staircase at Marsworth
As we came out of the staircase we turned left onto the Grand Union and pulled up at the service point.  Karen went off for a run whilst I took on water.

Buddy on guard at the water point as usual
Karen saw a Brimstone on her run in a sheltered spot down at the current end of the Wendover arm.  There were no boats at the end so we may venture up there once more before heading north to start our new adventure.

No boats moored at the end of the Wendover arm
I had moored up near the Red Lion well before Karen got back.  There were a lot of boats on this stretch as there were last time we were here.  Most seemed to be occupied and I passed the time with a couple of them when they passed.

Moored by the Red Lion bridge
During the afternoon we heard that a boater friend of ours had died from cancer.  He was a lovely guy and so sad that he went at only 52.

On Thursday morning I dropped Karen at Hemel Hempstead station as she was catching a train to Edinburgh.  She is staying with her daughter Jo for a few days.  It may feel that we are seeing a lot of people at the moment, but we want to catch up with folk before we disappear.  On the way to the station we both admitted that we are beginning to feel a little stir crazy as we have been in the same area for so long.  We really need to get back to moving every few days.

After dropping Karen off I carried on down the A41 to have a look around Hampstead and take Buddy for a walk on the Heath.  What a place Hampstead is – a different world altogether, so much opulence demonstrated in the housing and the shops.  Anyway, we enjoyed our walk and even found a few VR boxes including the largest wall box I have ever come across, nearly as tall as me!

Man sized wall box
In the evening Kevin & Matilde came around for an hour or so.  They are a lovely young French couple that we met recently and are living near Wendover for a few months.  We spent half the time speaking English as they want to improve and half the time in French.  It’s a shame we didn’t meet a while ago as it’s an ideal way to reinforce our sterile French learning.

Over the next couple of weeks, we need to get the car up to Northampton where we will leave it at the boatyard where we are being craned out.  We will then be free to move the boat as and when we like without having to worry about the car.  At least we will be able to get back on the move every day or so and thus get rid of our stir craziness.

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