It was Gordon’s birthday yesterday – for a month now he’ll be two years older than me – whoopee.
We set off at 8am (no lie in and breakfast in bed for poor Gord) so that we could get to Woolhampton for 10 o’clock to pick up friends Bob and Chris who were joining us for a trip to Theale. It was an absolutely glorious day – lovely relaxed cruising on this beautiful canal….
…that is until you get to Woolhampton Lock and swing bridge. The Kennet makes a rather lively entrance to the canal at the bottom of the lock and it’s quite a palaver to make sure that you exit the lock and actually go through the bridge rather than hitting it! You need to exit the lock at full speed with the swing bridge already open.
The Rowbarge pub is situated by the bridge and has a large garden – I imagine much entertainment has been provided to pub customers by unsuspecting hire boats coming to grief here!
Just after the bridge we were joined by Bob & Chris who came bearing wine – always a welcome offering!
We had a slight hitch at Tyle Mill swing bridge – I didn’t do anything wrong – it just broke itself – honest! I opened it, let the boat through but unfortunately it wouldn’t close properly so the barriers remained down leaving the road completely blocked. It’s a fairly busy road so it didn’t take long for traffic to build up. From the reaction of the drivers this is not an uncommon occurrence.
We phoned CRT to report it but couldn’t move on as our key was stuck in the lock and couldn’t be removed until the bridge was opened. No problem – when in doubt eat and drink. We used the break to have lunch.
I hope Bob and Chris enjoyed their day, despite the bridge breaking incident. We certainly enjoyed having them aboard.
We’re having a ‘rest’ day in Theale today to give me a chance to work on some glass and to give Gordon a chance to cut up some of the wood we’ve managed to accumulate on this section of the K & A – supplies are building up nicely for the winter. Onwards tomorrow to Reading – the Thames is calling.