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  • clivenmel

May 12th

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 set the alarm for 7.30 this morning to ensure that we got up in good time.  Clive woke at 6.45!!!  However he made us both a cup of tea and came back to bed for a little while � it was quite chilly!  We finally dragged ourselves out of bed and had breakfast as we needed to be on our way to Aldermaston Wharf for our scheduled service.    We had carefully planned how to tackle the lock which was just ahead of where we were moored because as soon as you leave the lock you are in flowing water because the River Kennet joins the canal at this point.  But that�s not all - just a little further down from the lock is an electric swing bridge which carries quite a busy road.  So the plan was as soon as the lock was empty I open the front gate then trot down to the bridge, stop the traffic (flashing lights and two-tone siren like a level crossing) and open the bridge, phone Clive as the bridge starts to open so he knows to leave the lock and Bob�s your uncle.  Do you know what � that is exactly what happened, like clockwork � what a team!   So we were on our way.  The only problem we had was once again very blustery wind!  Sometimes it really gusted and Clive had his work cut out keeping Lady Arwen on track, she kept trying to veer off in the direction the wind was blowing!  On top of all that we were on flowing river so between the current and the wind it was fun!! We were just negotiating quite a narrow stretch, with overhanging chestnut trees all along it, when we saw a big, wide-beam pulling out from the bank heading our way � there was barely room for the two of us and the other boat got some scratched paintwork into the bargain, we could hear the tree branches scraping along her side � ouch!  We had to chuckle though when we saw the name of the boat � she�s put weight on since the last time we saw a �Xenia� back in Braunston.  Ha ha!   However other than that we had a fairly uneventful run down to Aldermaston.  There is a lock just before the wharf followed immediately by another electric bridge and this one carries a really busy road.  In fact there are restrictions on this bridge, it is closed to boaters between 08.00 � 09.00 in the morning and 16.00 � 17.00 in the evenings because of rush-hour traffic!  Anyway, we were ok as we arrived at the lock soon after 10.00am.  I had just started emptying the lock with Lady Arwen in it when I noticed another boat coming down towards the lock, it was our neighbours from last night!  What a shame I hadn�t seen them sooner.  However I opened the lock to let Clive out and he moored up before the bridge.  We decided to wait for the other boat to come out of the lock before I went to open the bridge so that we didn�t disrupt the traffic twice!  Then we moored up at Aldermaston Wharf ready for our service.   The service took quite a while, two hours in fact, as Clive wanted a thorough check doing.  Everything was fine and the young man who did the service for us, Tom, was very thorough and cleaned up after himself very well.  Whilst he was doing the service we filled up the water tank and then finally we had a pump out.  Before we left the wharf we had a bit of lunch and a coffee then we were off again.   We are now moored up just before Sheffield Lock (no we�re not back in Yorkshire!) on the outskirts of Theale.  If all goes to plan we should be through Reading and onto the Thames by this time tomorrow!  However the weather forecast doesn�t look too good and rain is expected over the next few days � yeuch!  Oh well, shouldn�t complain, we really haven�t had that much rain recently.   So, until tomorrow���������.

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