After a very rainy couple of days - particularly on the Saturday when the dry-dock picture in the previous posting was taken. Sunday however turned out to be perfect and a phone call late that afternoon confirmed that Gleemaiden was now Glee-ming (at least from the rubbing strakes down), so would be ready for collection the following morning at 8.30am.
Jeeves has also asked me to include a picture of Biggles at the boatyard which I mentioned in the last posting - so here he is 'soclialising' with a dog that for once he didn't dare jump on or growl at. Actually this huge dog has a lovely nature and delights in playing with a squeaky toy shaped and looking like 'The Times' newspaper. Not all newspapers carry stories as sqeaky clean as this one does!
I don't usually do promotions on this weblog, but I can but highly commend the work done by Grantham Bridge Boat Services at Hillmorton (just above the bottom lock). Here is a link which takes you to Canalbreaks - their website.
The phone number is the same for boat repairs and blacking as it is for their boat hire service. Anyway they did a great job and checked other under water items such as the bow-thruster tubes and rudder skeg.
Readers who aren't boaters may also be interested in Canalsbreaks.com for hiring purposes - they also own and run Willow Wren which as previously mentioned was the company owned and run by Leslie Morton, who used to use the Admiral Nelson pub in Braunston as an unofficial Midlands office.
It was still a dry dock when we arrived, but slowly filling with water. Jeeves and I were amazed at the size of the rudder (all nicely blacked of course) - we hadn't seen it fully exposed since the launching.
In the background can be seen the coffer dam that keeps the water out of the dry-dock. It works on the same principle as many of those that you Will see along the cut, usually next to a bridge hole with an accompanying crane to drop in the baulks of timber. This one though is much smaller of course - as is the lift bridge that crosses the opening.
The forecast was terrible, but there was some sunshine as we left the boatyard and more as we negotiated the bottom lock, so we decided that rather than moor at Hillmorton, hoping for better weather, I would take advantage of what appeared to be quite good cruising weather for the morning. I set off a sole operative again, with Jeeves taking the car and aiming to be picked up at a bridge hole not far from the marina.
All this duly took place, with Wooster at the hellum picking up Jeeves at bridge 50 next to the Barley Mow. It eeemed to be getting blustery as I eased the boat slowly toward the bridge - no white horses on the water though (as if -ed). Jeeves told me though that the conditions at Brinklow were quite, if not severely blustery.
Well! I should have opened my ears a little more because half an hour later I attempted to swing in through bridge 39 in the usual fashion which involves a little reverse and correction for a 60' boat entering from the south.
Not so! I got her head around and went astern to head through both bridges in a nice straight line. Rubbish! a nice powered turn went horribly wrong. As soon as I dropped to forward power, the gale took hold and pushed the bows back into the cut. Worse was to follow, as being now alongside the entrance I was blown against to opposite bank by the blast.
After much scraping and swearing, we got Gleemaiden amidstream and south of the entrance again, out of the way of the wind tunnel.
This time I put the bows straight into the entrance at an absurd angle and touching the arnco. From there I was able to swing the stern around using the thrust against the rudder and by keeping the wind from pushing the bows out of the entrance once more.
Once through, with the wind coming from ahead we realised that getting into the pontoon mooring with a cross wind like this was going to involve a lot of banging - there really were white horses in the open stretches of the marina. So, we moored up at the South end and took her alongside the following day - also gusty, but we were lucky to have Neil and Ruth to help.