Lived onboard Hadar

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Cowroast to Winkwell

We were up with the lark as the alarm went off for 6am and we set off at 7am, Hadar’s engine thumping her way along the cut. We set off early as we wanted to get through Berkhamstead early, not knowing what to expect in the way of bandits etc. So we left the mooring at Cowroast behind and headed for the first lock of 15 we would do today. One thing we have seen a lot of is hedge laying, it seems very popular in this part of the country
Yet more Herons were seen on our journey, either on their own or in pairs. There calls are really something quite prehistoric.
Another thing we see a lot on the Grand Union is Dutch Barges and wide beam boats. This Dutch barge was built in 1926 in Holland and was up for sale.Having already done 3 of the 15 locks we were through Northchurch and onto the outskirts of Berkhamstead. There is a Waitrose on the side of the canal if you need any provisions and a play park for the kids if you plan to moor there for up to 14 days, you are also spoilt for choice with the pubs. Just before the Railway station there is a picturesque road bridge.Opposite the Crystal Palace pub there was a decorative pole. Not sure what is was meant to be for, but it looked lovely, more something you would see in a cowboy’s and Indians film hahaha.Keith remembers the Rising Sun Pub at Rising Sun lock as he had a quick half in there when he was running Pisces all those years ago.
He was really surprised how much Berkhamstead had change, as it was very industrial when he came through in 1970. Now it is all housing and park areas, not at all what we expected.
We continued doing the locks, some of which had instructions on to leave gates shut but paddles up as they had leaky walls. A few of the locks had anti vandal locks on them, so the little darlings could not cause havoc.
We saw yet more herons, moorhens and a squirrel sat right at the top of a tree.
As we were entering the last lock the rain decided to fall, and the clouds were very dark and menacing, so we did the 15th lock of the day then moored up at Winkwell before the Swing Bridge, which is BW key operated. It was then the thunder began and the lightening kicked in, time for lunch and coffee. This would be our mooring for the weekend. Near The Three Horseshoes pub and the Swing Bridge.
The sky behind the boat was very dark; you just knew it was going to throw everything at us.
How cute is that dog????
So we settled down to lunch and coffee in the back cabin, listing to the thunder when all of a sudden the rain began with a vengeance, it then turned to hail.
Once it was over the sun came out again and I stuck my head out of the engine room doors to see what had been left behind, to find hail stones on the grass alongside the boat.
Within 15 minutes we had every kind of weather thrown at us LOL.
So we will spend the weekend here and see what there is to offer.

Saturday 12th April.

We took a bus into Hemel Hempstead from Bourne End. From the moorings by The Three Horse Shoes, you walk up to the main road and turn left; there is a bus stop by the garage, which is by the way useful for newspapers, milk, bread etc. So we caught the bus £3.20 each return, which we thought was ok. Having arrived in Hemel Hempstead, we took a look around the new shopping centre which has all the usual high street stores, after that we decided to take a stroll up to the old town centre; Hemel is a town of two halves, them and us, old and new. Whilst in the old part we came across Jordons Antique Centre, what caught our eye were the lace or ribbon plates, there were lots of them. There was also Measham ware as well. We were in seventh heaven, like kids in a sweet store LOL. We got talking to the shop owner Michal and came to realise that Michal runs the stall at the boat festivals known as Back Cabin Antiques, and would be going to the IWA National Festival this year, so we would see him there. We enjoyed a lovely chat before heading off to find somewhere for lunch, which turned out to be Wetherspoons for Fish and Chips. It was an enjoyable day for us and we look forward to coming back.
Back at the boat, I got a clothes wash done, we then spent the rest of the evening in front of the TV, so nothing exciting to report.

Sunday 13th April.

A chilly morning when we awoke at 6am. I know its Sunday, why were we awake so early?
I have absolutely no idea, so I made us a nice hot cuppa, before settling back in to bed, Mog and Dog thought it would be a good idea if they joined us, as it was cold in the saloon, so they both curled up at the bottom at the bed, until it was time to get up and get the boat chores done. Today we needed to change the generator oil after her first 50 hours of running that went very well it did not take long with me helping out handing Keith everything he needed. I did some cooking for dinner including an apple crumble. I took the opportunity to do the bed linen wash, as everything was dry from yesterdays wash.
The weather was hit and miss, with heavy showers and sunshine. Whilst the sun was out I took the chance to take a few photographs.
The Three Horse Shoes, is a lovely pub dating from 1535, it has four open fires and is said to have two ghosts, a highwayman and an old lady. From what we have seen it is an extremely popular pub, with lots happening, such a curry, comedy and music nights.
Opposite the pub is a boat yard Middx and Herts Boat Services, they sell diesel, have a small chandlery and rubbish disposal. They also have a very good dry dock for DIY work on your boat, or they can do it for you. In the dry dock Keith and I noticed a boat named Arabia, she was another Roger Fuller boat built in 1992, the person owning her now is the second to have her, and told me that he loves everything about the boat.
Down near the lock there is a really good information board, telling you all about Winkwell and its history.
Having taken a few photographs, we watched working boats Argus and Bletchley move off from behind us to go on down.
The pair of working boats carries and sells diesel and coal.
Whilst standing on the counter I happened to notice we were carrying a passenger on the fender.
I rescued the little frog and put him down by the stream alongside the boat.
So as Sunday’s go it has been pretty busy for us, the rest of the day will be quiet, as we will settle down and watch a movie. So see you next week.
Take care and stay safe, no matter where you are in the world.


Maureen said...

Aw, poor froggy! Good for you to save him.

The Three Horse Shoes; now that's a pub I would LOVE to visit, ghosts and all...

Yes, that totem pole does look a tad out of place, doesn't it? Beautiful though.

Here's hoping there's no more hail in your week, just sunny skies and smooth sailing (okay, I KNOW you don't have a sail) Happy Boating!

drew dunn said...

good going jo and have you by anychance ordered the book i
did a review on a few posts ago called living the dream By trever pravitt. the reason i ask is you said you might.
drew dunn

Keith & Jo said...

Hi Maureen.
The pub was lovely, we will pay it a visit when we are this way again.

No not had a chance to get the book yet. Have not got time to read it hahahaha.

Anonymous said...

Hi, just found a pic of my barge on your blog. I am the new owner. The Beurtmotor Barge is now undergoing major resoration work at Brinklow Boat Services, Rugby. if you would like to see the progress
Thanks Martin

Keith and Jo said...

Hi martin, Welcome onboard.
Congratulations on your boat. I will be having a look at her progress after I have finished typing this. Good luck for the future.