Level: Critical

15 Oct

With the threat of worsening weather, I was contemplating heading for home. As much as I am still revelling in playing at the continuous cruise, it felt like time to get Hobo back to her home mooring and all tucked up for winter. It will be November before we know it.

Over the years I have developed a sort of sixth sense when it comes to the state of the water tank and my antennae were twitching. I had no water point to hand so I resorted to dipping the tank – the only way to estimate how much is left. I will get a gauge fitted. One day.

I guestimated there was probably less than a quarter of a tank. Add to that the rapidly filling toilet tank (as well as the full spare festering behind the shower curtain) and it was clear that it was pretty crucial to head for the nearest sanitary station, if one was to continue to live in a civilised manner.

Fortunately, John was able to escape from the farm – currently full pelt on the potato harvest – for just long enough to assist me in this on Sunday. Call me a wimp, but I don’t relish the thought of ‘going it alone’ – apart from anything else, I just can’t shift some of these lock gates.

The nearest tip out/top up venue is back on the Lea, a couple of miles away, so a turnaround was required. And before I could do that, I had to negotiate the low bridge followed by a 90 degree bend. Easy peasy. Then a nicely controlled turn just up the way, followed by another ‘mind your head’ moment and under the rickety bridge once more – thankfully without incident. It would serve me right though, given I’ve been critiquing the aptitude of random helmsmen and women for the past fortnight….

Of the three locks on the way, two were set for us – which is just as well as time was of the essence. Not that one should ever be in a hurry when boating but, as we’d not got going till 4.30, it was likely we would run out of daylight before reaching our chosen next mooring. We’d nominated a couple – Carthagena or Dobbs Weir depending on our progress – so had placed my car in Broxbourne within easy walking distance of either.

So I won’t be heading home just yet…

On approaching Dobbs Weir, cabin lights aglow and daylight fading fast, a Hobo size space appeared along this busy stretch so we nabbed it quick. We rapidly realised it was empty for a reason – a shelf that prevented Hobo’s rear end getting anywhere close to the bank. Such is life. Someone will move on at some point and then Hobo could acquire a better spot.

John was off back to the farm at sparrow fart and, as I was leaving to retrieve the car, saw how horribly Hobo was parked (one of the pins was almost out too) and just had to rectify this. Lucky for me, the wide beam behind had gone so we had somewhere to go. I spoke sweetly to the man on this pretty little boat…

[At this point you will have to use your imagination as afore-mentioned pretty boat, in pink and green/both ends pointy/flowers on the roof, had done a runner when I went to snap it this morning].

And enlisted his help to walk her back and re-tether her. It’s all piled along this stretch with railway line so he nipped back to his boat to fetch some spare string to loop around this. Perfect to tie to, no need for pins. We positioned her and tied her back up.

There, that’s better, sitting pretty…001

Many thanks.

Had a nice little walk back to Frogspawn, car still where I left it in the pub car park, and drove back to DW. Very handy towpath-side car park (thank you Lea Valley Parks) just a hop, step and a jump from the boat. I can actually see the car from here… 004

There she is, so not far to lug the shopping. Bingo.

And here’s some I lugged earlier …002

Before John took off, he managed to fix my non-functioning shower pump so, with working water heater and a tank full of water, I was looking forward to a shower. Then I began to wonder at the state of the gas bottle – antennae twitching again – last thing I need is for it to run out while I am all bubbles in my birthday suit.  Been there, not funny.

As luck had it, the gas went while boiling the kettle for my afternoon cuppa. Told you, sixth sense, though some say I’m a witch. Friend Reg had fitted these smart quick release couplings and, together with an extra regulator, makes changing the cylinder so simple. No spanner needed (lefty loosey, righty tighty or, when it comes to gas bottles: righty loosey, lefty tighty).

You laugh….

It’s the best feeling, when the loos are empty, water tank full and new gas bottle hooked up. What could possibly go wrong…?

Now I mention it, I’m on the last few nuggets of coal and the woodpile is long gone. I texted my marvellous coalie on the river but he won’t be this way for a couple of weeks. Damn.

I had toyed with fetching some from the yard in Spellbrook but, with the cupboards resembling those of Mrs Hubbard and the yard closing at 4pm, the shopping won out. Anyway, I couldn’t face both chores on the same day, no sense in over-taxing myself.

Reckon there’s just enough for this evening if I eke it out a spoonful at a time. Could be an early night…

Here’s a peek at the park across the river…003I look forward to the leaves turning and snapping some sensational autumnal views to delight you with.

But for now, I have to put that shopping away. Back soon.

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