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  • clivenmel

May 11th

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;} It was a beautiful sunny morning when we woke up today but it was also rather windy!  Before we set off we had a walk up into Thatcham as we needed a few staples, bread; milk; tonic for the gin! That done we cast off and set off once again.   We hadn't been travelling long before we arrived at the first lock of the day and there was a boat just leaving it, going the same way as us - bad timing!  It took ages to fill the lock as there was only one paddle working.  However once it was full I got the gates open and Clive brought the boat in just as another boat arrived!  I waved him in but he gesticulated back that he was waiting for another boat and that they were travelling together, so we went on our way, alone.   Just as we were approaching the next lock we saw a boat moored up at the bollards and the crew were obviously having a spot of lunch, it was the boat we had seen leaving the first lock earlier, so we continued into the lock, again on our own.  I have to add at this point that Clive was having quite a struggle with Lady Arwen in the wind - if he wanted to pull her in to the right bank it wasn't a problem as the wind was blowing from left to right, however if he tried to pull into the left bank it was a different matter, she was having none of it!  However he kept a tight rein on her and prevailed!  It is quite amazing just what an effect the wind has on a narrowboat, you would think it had sails!  Now there's a perhaps not!   I decided that it would be a good idea to pop inside and make some sandwiches and a cuppa for lunch whilst we were cruising to the next lock butI had forgotten that there was a swing bridge to negotiate on the way!  However the sandwiches were made and the tea brewing as we arrived, so I hopped off and went to open the bridge.  I got it unscrewed ok but could I open the dratted thing - no!  In the end Clive had to come and help me, it just wouldn't budge without some brute strength.  It closed ok though without any trouble at all, so I hopped back on board and suggested to Clive that we have lunch whilst we were in the lock, before I opened the paddles.  Well, it was a good idea at the time except that just as we were munching our sarnies the other boat, who we had passed moored up at the previous lock, appeared through the swing bridge!  Luckily, they were very accommodating and told us to finish our lunch, they were not in a rush.  You see people on the canal are nice, civilised, polite people, just like ourselves!   I hopped off to go and help with the paddles and noticed another boat coming up the canal towards the lock.  Great - that means we don't need to close the gates!  The boat moored up at the bollards to wait for us to come out of the lock and I thought it looked rather familiar.  I went to have a closer luck and sure enough, I was right, it was Verity!    For those of you who haven't followed our adventure right from the beginning, Verity is a syndicate boat which is part owned by several people.  When we were heading to Huddersfield on our maiden voyage back in September last year, we made our way up to Diggle and then through the Standedge Tunnel in the company of another boat and that boat was Verity!  It was a different couple on board her today but it was great to see Verity again.  The last time we spotted her was on our way to Oxford back in March, she was moored up with nobody on board at that point.    We said farewell to Verity and continued on our way and very soon we arrived at Wooolhampton where we had decided to moor up for the night.  We need to be at Aldermaston Wharf in the morning as the boat is booked in for a service but there aren't really any decent moorings there so we will get off in good time in the morning to keep our appointment.  There happens to be a rather nice pub with a beer garden just by the lock in Woolhampton, well it's a shame to let a good pub go to waste, so once we were moored up and we had washed the dishes from lunch, we took ourselves off to the pub for a drink.  It was lovely sitting in the sunshine sipping our drinks.   When we got back to the boat I couldn't help but admire the artwork on the boat we had moored in front of and I got chatting to her owner.  He told us that she was 11 years old but that she had spent most of her days in a marina, eight years to be exact, not going anywhere!  Her paintwork was in a dreadful state when he bought her three years ago so he had her totally stripped down and repainted then he got a signwriter to come and do the artwork.  This guy said he had never done a "mural" before but was willing to give it a go.  We think the result is just lovely!    Poop, poop!!!  We agree with Kennet Grahame's statement wholeheartedly!   We would also like to say a big CONGRATULATIONS to our very dear friends Shirley and Barry who became grandparents this weekend.  Welcome to baby Cameron Menzies Collings.  A big name for a very tiny little boy - he checked in at 5lbs 1oz!  Bless!  Congratulations too to his proud mummy and daddy - Noel and Vicky.  Not forgetting his Auntie Melanie too (my namesake, not me!).

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