Today is Phoenix’s first birthday and she celebrated it with a new soft toy from June and me and a rubber spanner from the boys. As you can see she enjoyed herself playing with them.
A second first today was the sight of our first baby ducks, and that was outside the jail in Reading.
Following yesterdays email from C&RT advising that Fobney Lock was closed, Doug rang them and they said that they would ring back once they had inspected the damage this morning. We decided to walk up to the lock to check it out for ourselves. As we neared the lock C&RT phoned to say that they would supervise boats through between 10-11am and 3-4pm. We reached the lock and met the C&RT men, who were very helpful and agreed to let is through at 3pm. As we walked back to the boat we decided to move them above County lock so that we would not have so far to travel to Fobney Lock and could time our arrival so that the gates would be open for us as the landing stage was under water.
The passage through the Oracle centre was pretty hairy with waves rushing down the narrows and the weir at County lock was almost non existent. This stretch of the river is controlled by traffic lights as it is too narrow and winding to allow boats to pass safely. The poor old engine had not worked so hard it it short life. But June did enjoy waving to the children as we crept slowly past the shopping centre.
It was lucky that we had gone through County lock as it was closed just afterwards. We were also the last boats to go through Fobney Lock which also was closed immediately afterwards and the two boats waiting to come down had to moor up until the water levels dropped, likely to be Saturday. I must say I would not have liked to travel down stream in that current and having to negotiate the fallen and over hanging trees.
Once through the lock we were in calmer waters for a while as we negotiated a stretch of canal.
We were now able to let Phoenix off the boat and Doug and then June and Doug could give her a walk between locks. she had to be tied up at the locks to make sure she did not get too inquisitive and fall in.
In the short stretch of River/Canal we have travelled we have encountered normal locks, Turf sided locks and Scalloped sided locks. It appears that most of the locks on the river length are all different. The locks were fairly easy to operate however not like some we have encountered on the canals.
The entrance to County Lock and Fobney lock were very difficult with strong cross currents which swept you one way then the other and meant that you had to enter the lock at speed and come to a quick stop once inside. The later locks were much easier to negotiate and here you can see Nb Chance waiting for a lock to be emptied in quiet waters.
Just after Sheffield Lock we encountered our first Swing Bridge and what a time to have to stop the traffic on a busy road (5.30pm the rush hour).
We moored up just after the bridge in a lovely spot and later walked into the village of Theale for a great pub meal at the Bull. Excellent Nacho starter.
Although the forecast had been for heavy rain showers all afternoon and evening we only had two short light showers and most of the time the sun was out making it a nice warm day.
June asked me to tell you that she was terrified as the waves broke over the bow whilst negotiating the narrows.