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Boats

Thatcham to "the Cunning Man"

Today is the first day of my holiday, I now have the rest of the month off work. I suppose that working for an academic institution has to have some benefits, being able to take a lot of time off is definitely one.

A couple of nights back Chris gave me a ring to let me know he'd be able to give me a hand moving the boat this weekend, so I was joined on the train from Bath to Reading, at Swindon, by Chris and we then headed back to Phocidae in Thatcham. That evening we had some gorgous pork chops that Chris had picked up on his way to the station. We also devised a suitable way to clamp the wood for my back doors onto the steel doors, resulting in the second door only needing the trimmings completed.

First thing this morning we started off by gluing the trimmings onto the door. We then went back to the strange lock just behind us with a side weir built into the gate rather than the lock. We then set off for the day and then passed through the second oddity on the Kennet and Avon Canal, a turf sided lock. Most locks on the Kennet and Avon these days are basically brick structures built into the ground, this lock was a traditional lock with sloping sides, however, to make life easier, when they were rebuilt a certain amount of scaffolding was added to keep boats in the center of the locks. We were also luck enough that a random passing boater lent an extra pair of hands to get us through the lock.

At this point it's worth noting that the BBC thought that today was going to consist of "Light Showers". Also, although I'd got the new panels attached to the doors, these panels were not varnished. However, as we started the day, the sun began to burn though the clouds and it began as a glorious summers day. As we passed through Thatcham we picked up another boat, and had company through the next lock. Were were first out of that lock and when we got to the next lock someone else was waiting, so we joined them. We shared the next few locks, and then we ask them where we can pick up food. It turned out that the best place to pick up food in the next few hours was a post office, and we probably wanted to stay at the top of this lock. We were given directions, and then discovered that the people we'd been sharing a lock with were only doing this lock, and then pulling into the marina before the next lock. So we had lunch at the top of the lock, and while I did the washing up Chris went off and picked up the constituants of a fry up for tomorrow morning. We then pottered off down through the next lock or two before picking up yet another boat. The glorious sunshine continued, and while we were pottering along I left Chris driving while I sanded off the doors and got them ready to varnish. This lead to the slightly comic sight of me sanding the doors not far from Chris' feet while we were merrily boating down the canal (with a power sander).

We continued on down with our new boat companion until about 4 in the afternoon, when they turned around to head back to their marina. The weather was beginning to turn and the skies were clouding over, however it didn't smell like it was going to rain just yet. We'd decided to aim for the "Cunning Man" pub to stop for the evening and have dinner. We got there and found a number of boats moored up and still a few spaces. So we moored up, I applied the first coat of varnish to the rear doors and summoned Chris to head out to the pub. Just as I was locking up, the first "shower" we'd seen all day began. Just after we'd ordered from the bar the heavens opened and the rain began pouring down. I don't think the timing could have been better.

The food was good and the cider was strong. I would highly recommend the "Cunning Man" pub.

Tomorrow we should hit Reading by lunch time, we shall see...

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fireworks

August 2010

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