It was July 7th, 10th anniversary of the 7/7 London Bombings and the news was full of it.
We were safely moored up and enjoying a leisurely cooked breakfast with our friends getting ready for the off and Day 2 of our homeward journey.
It was to be a day to remember for other reasons.
Checks done and dog (s) aboard, we set off at 9.35.
We were through the lock in ten minutes, and had about an hour to the next one.
We saw some fabulous properties, and agreed we wouldn’t like to be responsible for their bills, upkeep or garden maintenance.
It took us fifteen minutes to get through Evesham lock, by which time the wind was starting to make its presence felt and we were getting a little anxious as to the weather conditions.
Chadbury was next, and it proved to be a real bitch.
A cruiser was coming up river and had tied his boat securely as the lock filled so was having a bit of a game getting himself untied so that he could exit and we could enter.
The entrance was narrow anyway, and he had only opened one gate, so with two of us wanting to get in and him in the way, we had a fight on our hands.
Our friend tried to dock to let his wife off to do the gates, but the wind had a mind of its own and he couldn’t hold his boat on the ropes, so it ended up crossways across the entrance as we came up behind, almost dragging him with it.
Hubby couldn’t hold us either in the water and had to do a full 360º turn in the hope that Mr Cruiser would get out of the way and we could go in.
Watching from our helm, we were helpless to assist our friends as there was nowhere I could be put ashore and when the guy passed us, he said he hadn’t put the paddles down on the gate.
Hubby went into the lock first, I legged it out onto the jetty and went to open the other gate. I did the necessary with the lock key and our friend was able to bring his boat in alongside us.
We all breathed a sigh of relief as we locked down and the water drained away but our problems weren’t over.
With the gates now open for our exit, I was hanging down on the ladder ready to step onto our boat………… which wasn’t there!
Hubby had slipped and fallen into the lock and was trying desperately to find purchase to haul himself out. Our friend saw the problem and he was able to board our boat and drag Hubby in. I could do nothing!
Wet and aware that the wind was relentless, Hubby picked me up on the way out of the lock, only to find we had another fouled prop and had to pull over on the other side to rectify it.
Meanwhile, our friends were now coming out and they got caught by the wind, doing a 360º turn to avoid the weir.
Hubby shouted we had a problem, so they went on ahead saying they’d moor up at the earliest opportunity and wait for us.
We discovered that it had been our own rope that had fouled the prop, having fallen into the water unnoticed and tied itself round the propeller. It was a little shredded (!) but splicable, and Hubby was giving me instructions of how to get off the private mooring and back on track as our bow was facing in the wrong direction and he would have to shove us off.
Suddenly I was being pushed out of the way as the wind backed, taking our front out perfectly for a safe exit and we were able to continue our journey.
I took the helm shortly thereafter having prepared a bowl of hot soapy disinfected water and a set of clean clothes for Hubby who was a little green both in the face and in the clothing department.
We bagged up his socks, tee shirt and shorts (he’d cut down a pair of joggers as it had been so hot, and was quite disappointed at having to lose them so soon) for disposal.
We joined our friends an hour and ten minutes later, who kindly gave us a cup of tea and I supplied the biscuits. We discussed what had happened, relieved that everyone was OK, and we were so glad that we hadn’t been on our own when catastrophe struck.
We were through the next two locks without incident (the diamond lock was so much easier with two boats!) but coming into Pershore, a crosswind caught us and blew us all over the place. We managed to get tied up quite quickly (I’m almost Mrs Popeye having to hang on to those ropes!) and were in a position to help our friends. Suddenly, the wind took over and he was blown completely to the other side of the river. He did a 180º pirouette and as he came in, there were several offers of taking ropes from people on the bank as he tried to keep from hitting the boat in front.
It was a bit like shove ha’penny with boats, but he managed to dock OK, even if he was facing the wrong way for our departure the following morning.
This is our view in the left picture, the right is theirs.
Us gals went shopping for dinner whilst our friend walked Tuppy, and Hubby spliced his ropes. Maggie had a wee then curled up alongside him and went to sleep.
Summary Day 8:
Number of locks : 5
Travel time as per engine: 4.9 hrs
Distance travelled: 14.5 miles
Total distance return journey: 28 miles.