Thursday, 9 May 2013

May Cruise - Day 2

We woke to bright sunshine, and a bit of a breeze. The thinking was that if it wassn't too windy, we'd set off and see how far we got before the weather closed in. It didn't seem too bad, so we left our mooring at a couple of minutes before 8. I saw a tweet from BBC Weather this morning saying enjoy the blossom on the way to work - it may not last the day. So I had to take a photo of some trees in full bloom as we made the long plod through Milton Keynes.

Just before Fenny Stratford it started to rain. As we approached the lock a boat was just coming out, so they left the gates open and the bridge swung out of the way. We we joined in the lock by a couple on a 40ft boat, who'd set off from the moorings at Simpson. We did the lock in the rain, but shortly afterwards the sun came out again and by the time we got to Stoke Hammond lock, it was really quite nice. A boat had just left the lock, so it was empty for us. This is one of the locks which used to have another alongside, hence the double bridge.

Last time we came this way, Adrian took quite a shine to the converted pump house to the left of the lock. Today he decided he still liked it.

We we're making good progress. The wind was very changeable: one minute it would be calm, the next there'd be a huge gust from one side or the other; it was manageable though, and as we had a locking partner we thought we'd go up the Soulbury Three locks while the going was good. Yet again, a couple of boats were just leaving the lock, and two volunteer lock keepers were standing by to help. Consequently, we flew up the locks.

As lunchtime approached, and as the forecast had suggested, the wind really got up. Along the Jackdaw pound it was a real struggle to keep going in a straight line. We had a couple of abortive attempts to get into the side near Old Linslade, but ended up mooring just past the Globe Inn at shortly after 1pm. Last time we came this way the pub was closed for refurbishment, and it certainly looks very smart now.

Adrian has been working all day, just popping out to help with the locks. He had a conference call after lunch, so while he did that I've been doing a few other jobs. Our window cills need revarnishing, so I've made a start. I thought I'd better experiment on something relatively out of the way, to check whether materials and competence were up to the job, so I rubbed down, washed, treated, and varnished the porthole liners in the engine room. They'll need a couple more coats tomorrow, but look good so far. Once I'm happy with them, I can do all the others.

The rain arrived a bit later than forecast, at about 4.30, but I'm glad we stopped at lunchtime. Tomorrow is supped to be dry with less wind.

14 miles, 5 locks.  (19 miles, 6 locks)

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