To borrow a footballing saying, today was very much a day of two halves.
This morning was spent in the quiet, serene, cultural environs of Hampton Court Palace. The whole experience is very well done and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Over the last day or so I had noticed that the bilge pump didnt seem to be pumping anything when the button was pressed. As our stern gland doesnt leak much I thought nothing of it. But this morning I thought that I ought check it out. It wasnt working! I took the motor and impellor unit out and removed some crud that might have been blocking it, but no go. Thinking it was an electrical problem I got the meter out and tested. There was power to the pump, but all it did was get warm, it didn’t revolve. A bit of fiddling to free it up made no difference so I concluded that it was dead. So we would have to tackle the tidal Thames without a working bilge pump – not ideal!
The Teddington lockie said to be ready to go out at 15:15, but we arrive early at about 14:30. Freind Pete arrived again for a cup of tea, a natter and to see us off. By now the rain was absolutely pouring down and there was thunder and lightning. So the whole trip down to Brentford was spent huddled under an umbrella.
We turned into the Grand Union at Brentford, through the first lock OK, but as I stepped off of the boat onto the slippery, rain sodden, algae covered pontoon at the Guaging lock I slipped and fell badly injuring my left knee and right ankle. This caused problems later.
Huge thanks to fellow Cutwebber Mike Norman for helping us through Clitheroe’s lock. We had originally moored just below the lock, but this evening the river Brent is in flood and whilst we were there the level rose 6″ in less than hour and showed no sign of stopping. Mike came through on Jester and approached the lock. Initially I was doubtful the lock would empty due to the flow over the gates but it did. Their success led us to decide to go through as well. Ideally we would have shared with them, but the decision wasn’t made until they were halfway up.
Unbeknown to us Mike and his good lady had moored up and came back to help us. We wouldn’t have managed without them. Thanks also to the unknown lady on a nearby moored boat who came and helped hold ropes. The current was so strong that one person alone couldn’t hold the boat.
We eventually moored up safely above the lock