Well spending the first week on campus wasn't too bad, a nice short commute, reasonable room and being in Bath for my usual Wednesday and Thursday night activities. The trains back to Kintbury were reasonable and I got home to Phocidae at a reasonable hour on Friday.
Due to Ed and zaniyah now being several days behind me combined with engineering works restricting trains that would get me back to Bath on Sunday in time for work Monday morning I had four choices. Staying where I was (boring, I wanted to boat!), boating to Newbury (nice, but hard to find moorings for a week), boating to Theale (which was a little too far for me to comfortably make on my own by early Sunday) and boating to Thatcham. So Thatcham it was.
Saturday was wonderful, lots of sunshine, and more glorious British countryside. Set off at about 8 in the morning, with clear blue skies and the sun just above the rim of my hat (Yay for hats that keep the sun out of your eyes). Then followed four hours of some lovely Sun, a smattering of locks and some lovely countryside. I was able to share a couple of locks with some holiday boaters who were in convoy in a narrow boat and a wide beam. The narrow boater still wasn't confident, and seemed rather shocked that I wasn't cussing and swearing when he rammed into the back of Phocidae. As far as I was concerned, he'd miss judged the aim slightly and was going a little faster than he should when making tight manoeuvres, be hey, I have a little more experience than him, mistakes happen, and Phocidae is a fairly thick hulled steel boat, he marked the paint slightly but did no real damage.
Coming through Newbury, I got to play with one of the electric swing bridges for the first time. I was a little concerned to see a host of firemen and various bits of related kit next to the swing bridge with some of them on the other side, but was told that opening it up and going through shouldn't cause a problem, so I opened up, let another boat through, then came through myself, and one of the firemen was kind enough to close up for me when he realised I was on my own. I then found a nice shady spot on the far side of the swing bridge and stopped for lunch. Of course going through the Newbury lock attracted a large number of gongoozlers. Which of course caused Sod's law to kick into full effect. Because I was doing the lock on my own, I had my nice big fenders down, rather than the smaller pipe fenders I use when there's another boat in the lock. Not the reason why I use the pipe fenders when there's another boat it the lock is because of the risk of them taking up that little extra bit of space and the two boats getting jammed, not normally a problem when you're on your own. Of course, I manage to get slightly jammed coming out of the lock, and end up having to reverse, pull up the fenders and leave again, where upon I nearly get caught out by the strong flow from the stream rejoining the canal, just past the landing stage. Of course it's a lovely sunny day, so it's reasonably hot, I'm doing what's a reasonably hard work, I'm on my own and not one of the crowd of gongoozlers thinks to lend a hand and do something useful like close any of the gates for me, oh well.
The rest of Newbury was uneventful, and uncommonly pleasant, with parks and the like dotted along the canal front. I continued trundling off down the canal, and by about three in the afternoon I'd made it to the stretch just before Thatcham where I was intending to stop. So I moored up and stopped for the week.
Photos from the last two weeks boating will turn up either later today, or tomorrow.