Thursday, 20 July 2017
My luck couldn't last forever
Ho hum, what a difference a few days make. All was going swimmingly until a boat rammed the top gate of the Hawkesbury Junction lock. They hit it so hard they have broken part of the gate off!
The lock has been closed for repairs since Monday. I would have been using it today, to get onto the Coventry to continue my journey back to my mooring. Fortunately, thanks to a lovely ladies canal Facebook group I belong to, I was warned about the stoppage while I was still south of Rugby. I was particularly grateful because, although there is about 4 hours cruising between here and Hawkesbury, mooring is very sparse.
Yesterday I moored in Rugby and did a much needed supermarket run. I could have stayed there but I hate the noise, smell and bustle of towns so I cruised to the suburb of Newbold. It's a good mooring in terms of rings, water and rubbish dumping but there is very little TV or internet reception which makes the day rather long and boring. Add to that the rains have finally caught up with us, it is becoming a frustrating delay.
But I am lucky. Had I not been forewarned I would have continued to Hawkesbury only to find over a 2 mile queue of boats waiting and nowhere to moor!
The latest news is that yesterday they were making a new part for the gate and hope to fit it by lunchtime today. I think it will then take at least another day to clear the backlog of boats through. I do hope CRT have thought of that and will send a lock keeper to help!
I haven't been that impressed with how they have managed this. It took the best part of 3 days just to drain the lock (and as it is only a stop lock the water only falls a foot or so). The communication via the website is very slow and also inaccurate. When I phoned for an update I spoke to a very pleasant woman who was sympathetic. However since they mostly use contractors these days, she couldn't tell me anything! CRT have to wait until the contractors choose to update them. Progress is slowed further by the fact that these workers down tools at 4pm sharp! There is no sense of urgency at all.
So a lesson in patience for me. I am fortunate in that I allowed plenty of time to get back to Fradley before I need to work. As long as the lock is opened in the next day or two I should be ok. Really feel for those hire boaters who paid over £1000 for a weeks cruise and spent most of it parked by a motorway! That's the boating life for you.