Thursday, 26 May 2016
Bit of a morning!
I had a bit of a challenging morning. To begin with I left Napton Locks (just in time as it turned out as they closed one of the locks for today!) I then waved goodbye to the Oxford canal, which although challenging in places, I mostly loved. I then launched myself onto the Grand Union Canal and my very first single handed broad locks!
There were only three of them but I was slightly shaky but flushed with success when I managed to get in and out again safely. I was helped at the first one by a lovely lady who greeted me by asking if I was the view from the loo lady? Fame at last! I think her name was Sue, but I was rather stressed, so forgive me if I got your name wrong!
In some ways, broad locks are actually easier than narrow ones for a single handed boater. I only had to open and close one gate to get in and out and certainly with the Calcutt Locks, although the gate was massive, it was well balanced and fairly easy to open. Since I was all alone in all 3 locks, I only opened one paddle so my boat didn't jump around at all.
I then went into Calcutt Marina as I had booked a couple of nights here while I meet my friends and get my laundry done! I hadn't realised that the business end of the marina with Wharf and office is at the top of the locks while the marina entrance itself is at the bottom. I cruised up to what looked like the diesel dock and office, only to find no diesel and the building turned out to be loos and a laundry!
I went searching and finally found reception. I enquired about my mooring and they gave me directions. Back I walked to the boat and went to moor up, only to find there was no pontoon, only another boat to breast up to. I wouldn't have been able to get Bonny or myself safely on or off the boat. I returned to the non diesel dock and trekked back through to the office. For £15 a night I rather expected to actually be able to tie my boat to something! They seemed a little surprised by that, but checked their vacancies and directed me to an entirely different area of the marina. More reversing and pirouetting finally got me to a berth with a pontoon! (I had given up on the idea of getting diesel or a pump out as it seemed likely I would have to go back up the locks for that, and then back down them again!
Still I am safely tied up now and the surroundings are beautiful and very quiet. I have shore power and a TV signal but no phone to speak of. I am currently writing this while waiting for the washing machine to finish doing its thing. Then Bonny and I will have our last night alone for the next 2 weeks or so as our friends arrive tomorrow.