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  • clivenmel

12th Oct

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} We have finally left Aspley Basin in Huddersfield.  We got a lovely send off from relatives and friends, some of whom hitched a lift down to the first bridge just to experience travelling on a narrowboat, I think they all enjoyed themselves!  This bridge is known as The Locomotive Bridge and is quite a complicated looking affair, however it is actually quite simple to operate.  I actually had assistance because Richard, the guy who fitted our stove, walked down to the bridge with me and explained how it worked.  First you put the BW key in the lock and turn it, it then tells you to shut the barriers to stop the traffic then you just press ?Open Bridge? and lo and behold the bridge starts to rise up, Lady Arwen sailed through underneath and then we lowered the bridge back into place.  At this point our ?stowaways? all got off and after more hugs and waves we were off again. It was yet another beautiful day as we resumed our adventure and we had a lovely cruise, on the Huddersfield Broad Canal this time.  The locks on this stretch of canal are quite different to the previous ones we have been in, this time they were double locks, with room for two boats to pass through at once.  However, they are short!  Unlike the locks on the Narrow canal, which were very long and very, very deep, these are about 15? wide but only 58? 6? ? quite tight for a 57? boat!  However we managed OK once we had got the hang of them.   We cruised down from Aspley, the first lock being number 9.  Just as we were approaching Lock 4 there was a loud bang at the back of the boat and the engine cut out!  Oh dear ? now what!  Clive got down in the engine compartment and opened the ?weed hatch? which lets you look straight down at the propeller, which was now embedded in a large piece of wood!  He tried every which way to get it loose but it just wouldn?t budge.  We are actually members of the RCR (River and Canal Rescue) which is the waterway?s equivalent to the RAC or AA.  We called them and were informed that there was only one man on duty today and he was in Stafford!  However he said he would come out but we would have to wait for him to get to us, which would be in a couple of hours!!  So we had a cuppa and a sandwich and got the books out, made ourselves comfortable and settled down to wait ? we didn?t have to wait long ? ?what have you got wrapped round your prop? said a familiar voice ? it was Richard, the guy who has just fitted our stove, he lives on a boat in Aspley Marina!  He was having a Sunday afternoon walk down the towpath and came upon us ? quite unbelievable!  Anyway he got down in the engine room and checked it out, gave it a few good whacks with our ?chav basher? (will explain later!) then told Clive to put the engine into reverse ? lo and behold the prop came free ? hooray!  The culprit log that came out of the water was huge ? it is now on top of our boat drying out, we will take great delight in cutting it up and burning it on our stove in a few months time!    Thanks to Richard we were soon on our way again and finally arrived at Lock number 1 ? great excitement, this lock took us out onto the River Calder ? ooh scary!  However it wasn?t as bad as I expected and it was quite a pleasant cruise, the river level was quite normal, no flooding and didn?t really feel much different to the canal except that it was much wider.  Only about ten minutes later we had to turn sharp left into another lock which took us back onto the canal again, this time the Rochdale Canal.  Another challenge awaited us there??????!  You will remember I mentioned earlier the ?chav basher?.  This is a large piece of wood which actually resembles a square baseball bat ? it?s not actually for bashing chav?s, or anybody else for that matter, (though it might come in handy in the middle of Manchester!) but is for opening yet another type of lock ? you insert the thick end of the chav basher into a slot and wind it over, then take it out and put it in another slot and wind over again and this raises the paddles ? it works, but seems a bit archaic. However the paddles on the gate after only one small turn spewed water out in a great torrent and nearly swamped the boat!  The undertow was huge and the boat was really getting thrown about a lot.  Finally we got through and on to the next lock, which was even weirder, it had a normal paddle on one side which required the windlass but the paddle on the other side needed the chav basher!  As we got through the lock Clive noticed steam coming from the side of the boat ? on investigation he discovered that my chopping board had fallen over in the sink where it was draining and had knocked the tap on and hot water was pouring into the sink!  He also discovered my lovely dragon ornament had ?flown? off the shelf and smashed to smithereens on the floor ? sob! I have some superglue so might try and put him back together, but I am not hopeful!   Anyway we are now moored up out in the countryside, it is very pleasant and much quieter than being at Aspley Basin!  However I distinctly heard a siren from the direction of the M62, which we can?t actually see, but can just hear a distant hum.  We have just had a lovely dinner and lit the stove for a short while ? didn?t really need it on but Richard said we had to light a very small fire in it just to help bake the cement holding the flue in place ? it was lovely to see it lit.   So all in all it?s been a good day, even with the prop problem, we were only held up for about an hour and it did give us chance to have a spot of lunch!

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