Friday, 1 August 2014

Two boats, two taxis, one train, several lifts, but a distinct lack of a toilet.

(Boat Sickle - posted by Alan)
Retrospective post for Friday 1st August.

An unusual day!

I try to read a book, but Odin has other ideas.
Our target was to deliver "Sickle" to Grendon Dock on the Coventry canal, where she is going to be blacked, (for those who don't own canal boats, this entails being put in a dry dock, the hull cleaned, and fresh coats of bitumen based material applied).  We were closer than original plan, and now reckoned we would have enough time to do this, then get ourselves back to Overwater Marina, near Audlem, to continue our travels with "Chalice".

Neither Grendon nor Overwater are near rail stations, so we would need taxis at both ends, happy to take us, Odin, and quite a lot of our belongings.  But David also needed to rejoin us from our home, so we needed to try and end up with us all on the same train, but with David starting far further South than us.

That was the plan - we allowed plenty of time to avoid any panics, and checking at Alvecote Marina, (who operate the Grendon dock), all we needed to do was to leave "Sickle" on the bank nearby.  We even thought we had enough time for a pint, some "puddings" and some coffees in te Samuel Barlow at Alvecote.
However, when we got to Grendon, the owner wanted us to actually get "Sickle" in the dock, something that proved very hard because....

1) I couldn't hear a word anyone was shouting at me over the engine.
2) I'm not much practiced at throwing ropes
3) Poling the boat proved impossible because of large amounts of silt outside the dock
4) Even trying to "welly" it in under its own power was a struggle.

Passing the fuel boat "Auriga"
The end result was that all our planned excess "slack" time to ge ready to be collected by taxi evaporated, and instead of logically gathering up all we needed, the final departure was a mixture of chaos and panic - goodness knows what we left behind we will find we need!

After the panic, we were nearly an hour early a Atherstone station, to catch a train to Crewe.  Incidentally, if anybody knows how to use the wretched ticket machine there to buy tickets for multiple people, each with railcards, please advise, because every attempt we had defeated us, and we were forced to do it as two transactions, the second of which it would only accept if we used a different payment card.

The good news was that David was on the train we caught, as planned.  The less good news is all the toilets were out of order, and shortly after we left Atherstone a drunk thought it a good idea to pull he communication cord, resulting in an already late train being even later.

The stop at the Samuel Barlow to complete our "lunch".
At Crewe, I was most relieved that the first taxi driver I approached would take a dog, although he was a bit reticent, as he was using his bosses brand new vehicle. I'm less convinced about the route taken to get us near Audlem, and the bill was considerably higher than another firm I had earlier phoned to enquire.

As we arrived at Overwater, the heavens opened, and we got really quite wet, the boat being a long way from where the taxi could drop us.  However all was in good order, and, unlike earlier in the trip, the gas fridge lit first time - result!

Most impressive person of the day was Odin, though.  He travelled on one boat, in lifts (which don 't phase him, but he gets slightly confused by entering a window-less "cupboard" in one place, and leaving it somewhere else!), in two different taxis, and on a very crowded and delayed train.  He takes it all in his stride, and was probably less concerned by the lack of toilets than we were!

Huddlesford to Grendon Dock
Miles: 0 (Chalice), 14.2 (Sickle), Locks:2

Total Miles: 359.7, Locks: 189

No comments:

Post a Comment