Saturday 21st May.
Back to Marsworth Junction.
I suspected the alternator of playing up again and on inspection I was right. That same bolt had sheared off once again, so another one was put in and the belt tension adjusted. I think a visit to Calcutt Marine is on the agenda when I get closer. They specialise in BMC engines and must have a better solution to the miserable bodged up bracket that is on there now. What a laugh if they said it was their design in the first place.
Another observation on Aylesbury Basin that is rather peculiar; although I said these were secure moorings with a gate, the said gate has a lock which does not accept the usual CRT watermate key, so what use is that to boaters?
I left the basin mid-morning after using the water point to rinse out some washing and hang it on a pre-prepared rail in the engine ‘ole. This acts like a drying room, though limited for space.
I was anxious to try out my Birmingham single locking technique on the way back up from Aylesbury, which works as follows:-
1. Moor up and prepare the lock.
2. Steer the boat slowly into the lock.
3. Take it out of gear and step off, with windlass, at the lock tail.
4. As the boat approaches the top gate, open half a ground paddle to stop the boat.
5. Close both bottom gates.
6. Fill the lock as normal.
Well, steps 1 to 4 worked fine, but drawing the half paddle did not hold the boat up to the gate and it started to move back. Not what I had in mind as done so many times before.
At the next lock I left the boat on tick over and in gear. She stopped OK, but moved back, despite being in gear.
Next lock:- the same as before, but on stopping the boat at the top gate, I then dropped the paddle before closing the bottom gates and all was well. This continued successfully for the final ten locks, which goes to show that locks on different waterways are usually unique to that particular stretch.
I moored for the night at Wilstone again, but made the mistake of mooring beneath trees where the birds roost for the night. Guess what? The cabin top was covered in bird shit the following morning.
Sunday 22nd May
Now that my locking technique was perfected, I made good progress to the top at Marsworth, whereupon I arrived at the staircase pair of locks, where three CRT men were working on the single paddle gear, but as it was still in one piece I was allowed to take my boat through. Unfortunately for the following boat, they were told to wait twenty minutes, which turned into an hour and twenty, before it was fixed. The problem was with the new development of houses on site and two of them were getting their gardens flooded by an air vent in the sluice which ran through their back gardens. The problem had previously been tackled by bolting down the vent covers, but this still allowed water out. The latest solution was to limit the amount the paddle rack was allowed to travel with a bar screwed onto the rack. There is only one paddle for the lower lock anyway, which is slow enough, so how long it will take to fill the lock in future is anybody’s guess. It is still not a guaranteed method of solving the problem, which was caused originally by making the sluice between the two locks too small when the houses were built.
Men at Work.
Only one screw to hold the stop bar on the rack?
I watered up at the junction and then moved across to a quiet mooring opposite the houses, but not under trees this time. After four hours on the move with incessant locks to deal with, I had had enough for the day and there was also The Anglers Retreat attraction. It was sunny and very warm for a change, so time to call a halt to boating for a while.