Tuesday, 30 October 2012

I Fell In, to a Murky Pond of Water

Leaving Great Haywood

I am going to have to write a catch up blog or 3 when we get back to Mercia Marina. We are about 3 days away from Willington and the thought of electricity has an appeal. Not that it has been a problem. It is the change in climate, it’s getting colder and being able to have the heater plugged in continuously will be good.

The clocks went back, yesterday, and I went in for an early seasonal dip! It was the most unpleasant incident and I have no plans to repeat it. We had been moored at Stone and it was either go to the Launderette or move along the canal a few miles and look at some boats at Great Hayward Marina. Rain was forecast and there had been a bit of the wet stuff earlier but it looked reasonably clear in a grey sky way. So we untied the ropes and as we pulled out another boat had got the Lock first. I went to help and all was good. That boat went down and as it was leaving the lock they called out there was a boat arriving to go up the Lock. Their crew (that is one person) arrived and the boat went in. It was a holiday rental but they were, or worked for, the company. The skipper called out to his wench to help me, the ‘lady’, close the gate as I was struggling to swing the gate as it was in a tight location with not enough safe room for the ‘butt’ push. (there was a yellow sign also stating the danger of lack of  space and to operate the gate from the side I was trying to swing it from). As I was walking past the boat, matey advised me that using your butt to push the gate is the favoured option. Well he got a mouthful from me as I take pride in my knowledgeable position as a veteran lockie! We didn’t bond.

And off we cruised in the direction of Great Haywood. There was the occasional Lock but no great shakes, I even had time to make a small batch of fruit and date scones. Della and I had to spend time indoors as the rain started to get heavier and Chris was wet weathered up so he could deal with the conditions. At the locks I had to take extra care as the surfaces were getting slippery.
Great Haywood Marina

We arrived at Great Haywood Marina and went to tie up near the office but we were told to moor on the pier next to two boats for sale. Chris got us in position to reverse alongside and I took the centre rope and stepped off on to the pontoon. I remember stepping on to the pontoon and I glided as my foot slipped on the wooden surface. Shoot, there was no way out of this! My feet were of no use and my bum was suspended, briefly over the water and gravity pulled me down. It was certain I was going to hit the water. Either that or I’d hit AM and the water! All I knew was I didn’t want what was happening to happen. I think having layers of warm clothing helped my entry into the water and I floated briefly. Chris says he saw me get off AM and then I disappeared! He realized I must have gone in and he put AM into neutral, then reached down and hauled me out of the water. Man I was in shock, I know that, and I was not happy at being so wet! A woman came over to check I was OK and I was, I was not in any mood to talk. My Tourettes took hold!! Thinking about it now, I was really lucky that Chris acted so fast and he was able to lift me out of the water.
As a result we ended up spending the night on a berth at the Marina. We had electricity and we could use their Launderette. I’m laughing about my Splish Splash, now, and have no aspirations to be a mermaid let alone repeat swimming in murky waters.

1 comment:

  1. omg, hope you're ok!

    Dave says: No need to worry here, the jetty's have been power-washed. There's also a fish & chip van comes round on Friday tea-time now :)

    Me says: Welcome to the amateur marina divers club!

    Lotsa luv
    H&D xxx


A brief history

This is a blog set up by Chris and Sarah so family and friends can catch up with their travels on the British waterways in the summer of 2011. In 2010, I went to England with the idea of getting a narrow boat built. I had specific requirements so I thought that a new build may be the way to go. I e mailed to numerous boat builders, a great percentage of whom ignored me. The problem of having a family name of Laycock is that hotmail and a few others think that I am a porn star. At an early age you learn not to put C Laycock on your school books. But I guess that my nephew Paul did worse. Anyway I spent a very pleasant few weeks driving around the beautiful English countryside visiting boatyards, marinas, boat builders and just a few pubs. I had narrowed it down to two builders and in the last week I was in Devizes Wiltshire when I came across "Avalon Mist" 54 feet of throbbing neglected narrow boat. The past owner had lost interest, hadn’t maintained her and to add insult to injury had been made redundant. After a very short negotiation I was able to buy her for a pretty fair price. On the day the sale took place I had to beg her to take her trainers and a few rather suspect items of clothing, in other words she left everything. Lock stock and barrel.

Soon after the purchase I flew to California to meet Sarah and have a short holiday. Once back in NZ I started to try and organize works. The first thing that I learnt was that the marina does not allow any contractor on site, only their chosen ones, the excuse given is a concern about insurance, the suspicion is, graft, pay back, baksheesh, call it what you like. It is possible to take the boat off the marina to have the work done, but not really practical.

The first job to be tackled was to “winterize” the boat, i.e. drain off all the water, check the anti freeze in the engine and central heating and fit an automatic bilge pump.

No real problem there except communication, the mechanic just didn’t answer e mails. Difficult to do business like that.

The nice marina lady had a quiet word with him, and things did improve, thanks Debs you have been a star through out . He later confided in me the reason for this was that he was dyslexic, apparently a malady [he] claims affects a lot of mechanics.[It turns out that he is a great mechanic and a nice guy to boot].

That goes pretty high on my list of lame excuses, the top one being a really nice Irish guy Pat, who I had employed as a carpenter years ago when I lived in London. He was always a bit late for work, when I finally collared him about it; he said he could never decide what to wear to work.

Nice one Pat.

I digress, the boat was winterized, which was just as well as it was a cold one and the whole marina froze over.

Next job was to have her taken out of the water, have the hull stripped back to bare metal and have a bit of over plating done. There were a couple of areas where there was pitting, and I though if she’s out of the water, may as well do the job right, so a small amount of over plating and then the hull was blacked, and the engine bay partially de-rusted and then back in the water.

Seems like a good job was done, I had the marine surveyor who had done the original survey, check out all the major works and give me written reports and photos, so all good except once again communications.

I then came across a great guy, the partner of the woman who runs the marina and a carpenter/narrow boat fitter outer .He replaced the stern deck and did a great job, also did a great job on de-greasing, de-rusting and painting the engine compartment. A job I should have done myself, but I just didn’t fancy it, not only that be was great with communications and chasing other people up

So that takes us up to present.

There needs to be a bit of electrical work, not much. The outside is badly in need of paint, Sarah and I can do that and a bit of a tidy up inside, and then she will be a really nice boat.