|Me Piloting Smyne
Today I have been out on the Grand Union Canal piloting a narrow boat thanks to my friends Bill and Sheila. For those of you who follow me will know I’m something of a work-aholic. I always seem to be on the road heading off to some show or other so today was a real treat. In fact this is the first weekend I’ve had free since April and it does seem a little strange not to have to dash anywhere. So thank-you so much Bill for inviting me.
It’s great to live where I do because the Grand Union Canal is at the bottom of my road and Bill and Sheila’s house backs onto the canal which is why they bought their property.
|The Grand Union Canal
Their Narrow Boat is called Smyne a play on words meaning “It’s Mine” and they have it moored at the bottom of their garden. It was lovely today to be out on the canal seeing Leighton Buzzard from a different angle. Tesco in Leighton Buzzard backs onto the Grand Union Canal and there are lots of mooring places where you can stop to do you shopping before heading off again. Today we headed down the canal to The Globe Inn and stopped for a lovely pub lunch. There is something quite romantic turning up for Sunday lunch in a Narrow Boat and tieing up out-side!
|Lunch at The Globe Inn
Needless to say if you have a Narrow Boat one thing you have to master is going through locks.
What a wonderful piece of engineering a lock is. Sheila is a dab hand at it and I really enjoyed helping, winding down the ratchet and pushing the lock open. There is quite a bit to it and it is possible for a lock to take 2 narrow boats at a time. On the way back there was a Que of us to go through the lock. If you are the only narrow boat going through you don’t have to open both gates you can just sail through the one. There is quite a knack to controlling the boat and when you are waiting on the toe path it’s important to hold the middle rope and not one of the end ones. If you are holding one of the end ropes the wash of any passing boat will cause the other end to swing out. So there is quite a bit to getting it right!
|Shelia and Bill
Bill very kindly let me have a go at the tiller and un like a car if you want to go left you steer right and if you want to go right you steer left. It takes quite a bit of getting use to and you have to remember to pass on the right and head for the middle of the canal when sailing along normally. I think I did OK but then I did have a good teacher – Thank-you Bill!
Well I did say this was my first weekend off in ages and Saturday night I was at an engagement party so it’s been great to have some time out. I’ve a busy week next week with 6 shows to do and the Flying Proms on Saturday at Shuttleworth which is a really big do. I think they usually have about 3000 people who come along to that event so it’s wonderful to be involved – all thanks to my friends Brian and Cherie of “Perfect Vintage”. That’s about all my news for now and I shall post up some of my photos from today onto face book so do take a look.
Thanks for following and Toodle Pip!