Lived onboard Hadar

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Winkwell to Hunton Bridge.

Monday 14th April.

A bright chilly Monday morning, but with the sun shining it was a good day for boating, in fact everyday is a good day for boating, when you having nothing else to do, like Keith and I. So having done all the usual stuff first thing in the morning, I am not going to bore you with the details; we set off at 8.15am with my first duty to open the Winkwell Swing Bridge. You need a BW key to operate this electronically, put in the key and push the buttons easy peasy, you get to watch as the traffic ques in this narrow lane hahaha. Once Hadar was through, I closed the bridge and allowed the traffic to flow, before heading to lock one of the day by the Middlesex and Herts Boat Yard. The railway runs very close to the canal and we saw the Caledonian Sleeper Train, on its way south. We headed on to Boxmoor Top Lock and Fishery Lock, where the Fishery Inn is situated on the side of the canal. Keith remembers this pub and reckons it has changed a lot since he was through here last, which was back in 1970.
Whilst coming out of the Fishery Lock Keith picked something up on the prop and Hadar was not very responsive at all, so whilst under the Road Bridge for the pub, he delved into the weed hatch and pulled out a huge piece of blue plastic.
That then ended up in a BW bin by the pub. Onwards past Boxmoor and Hemel Hempstead. You can moor just out side of Hemel and it is only a short walk into the centre of town, which we may do next time we are this way.
We passed by what used to be the wharf where the old Lime Juice boats would pick up their cargo. It is now a B & Q, how the times have change huh?
Later on we would discover that the old Ovaltine factory has also been torn down and is now apartments. Our history is evaporating away into the mists of time it seems, all for the want of progress.
We took on some water and emptied the loos at Apsley, where if you need a provisions shop you can moor up below Apsley lock to go to Sainsbury’s.
Keith was reminiscing about the time he came through this area he remembers when this area was all mill’s, these days it is all apartments.
There is a pub named The Paper Mill. A gentleman poked his head out of the window of the old mill and shouted “Who built the boat”, I replied “Roger Fuller in Stone Staffs”, his reply was “The boat speaks for it's self, it’s a lovely boat”. Now how can we disagree hahaha, she is a lovely boat and we are her very proud owners and is any owner of their own boat.
Whilst we have been out on this journey we have passed many old working boats and today we saw Belfast, she is now used as a trip boat for youth groups etc.
We also past a Reach Out Project boat, which takes youngsters on cruises, giving them a whole new experience, away from their everyday problems.
These projects are so worth while. I for one was getting peckish, having been working the locks so I had put some sausage rolls in the boatman’s cabin stove to warm, so we enjoyed them and a coffee as we continued on our way.
As I said earlier we are never very far from the railway, it can always be either heard or seen from the boat.
The canal then widens somewhat, just like Tixel Wide on the Staffs and Worcs, as we head past Kings Langley. We are then into the realms of more new apartments and some industrial building.
As we approached Home Park Lock there is a lake on our left and look who we found in the lake.
Nessie has moved several hundred miles South LOL. All around the lake there seems to be things of interest. In the distance we could hear the roar of the M25, as we got closer it became a deafening sound of traffic.
So having down 13 locks we stopped at Hunton Bridge just south of bridge 162 at 1.20pm. The reason for stopping was Keith has a sister who lives close to Hunton Bridge and it will be ideal for them to come and visit us. Lunch was one of the first things to be done as we were both hungry. Having eaten lunch we then relaxed and did very little for the rest of the day. Hunton Bridge does have a small shop which is well stocked with provisions should you need them. It has a pub, a bar with a pizzeria and coming soon is another place to eat, which also has accommodation, apart from all that and the beautiful church there is only houses to look at. As we came into Hunton Bridge we could not help but notice the new housing estate that is going up, so it looks like the busy roads will need to cope with yet more cars.

Tuesday 15th April.

A bright and sunny morning, we were woken up by the traffic noise going over the Hunton Bridge road bridge. With living and cruising on the canal, you easily forget how loud traffic can be. We were given a reminder as we lay in bed with a cup of tea, deciding what should be done for the day. Keith’s sister will be visiting us later, so we have a day to fill.
First on the list of things to do was feed Marmite, who always lets you know in no uncertain terms that she is hungry, so having given her, her breakfast, it was time to take Paddy out for his walk, he gets his biscuits when he gets back and then settles down for a nap. It is such a hard life being a dog ha ha ha.
As it was so nice out Keith and I took a walk to see if we could find anything else to see in and around Hunton Bridge, we even walked up the main road to Kings Abbott and got as far as a row of shops which included a Spar, but it is hike and up hill, so maybe not that great for a food shop, but then again if one is desperate.
Having got back to the boat and had a coffee, Keith set about repainting the engine on the parts which need touching up after having the head skimmed. I know, I know it has taken this long to do it, but it is getting done now and will look splendid when the green is applied.
I also wielded the paint brush again on the bow to touch up the paintwork. As many boaters know it is a contact sport, so you will never really keep your boat scratch free, but it always pays to keep the scratches touched up, meaning a less difficult job later on when the rust has set in. Tina cover your eyes, you do not want to see the next photo he he he he.
Not only that we are taking Hadar to the IWA National Festival this summer so we want to keep her looking nice. If you are going to the Festival come and say hello.
As you look out of the back cabin of our boat there is Hunton Bridge, Bridge and a row of houses, Keith and I have been fascinated by a pair of ducks who seem to like the high life, because they sleep on the chimney stack of one of the houses, every time we look up, there they are fast asleep.
There is also a very cheeky Squirrel who pinches the bird nuts from the feeders; we have not worked out how he gets to this lonely tree on the corner of the bridge yet. It has been a beautiful day, the sun has shone on us all day, and sorry if you have had rain all day, maybe you will get the sunshine tomorrow.


Adam said...

I'm really enjoying the blog now you're off and running. I'm also a little jealous (actually a lot jealous!). I hope you spare a thought for those of us who still have to go to work rather than boating full time! Hope we bump into you on the cut sometime.


Maureen said...

Love the wildlife photos.... especially of the elusive Nessie! My but she IS the long-distance traveller, isn't she ;)

Looks like you've had a few beautiful days. We have finally broken months of snow. It is nearly gone now after a few days of nearly 20 C weather. Yay!!!

Anonymous said...

lovely photo of the ducks on the chimney stack i actually live in that house! happy cruising