Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Weybridge to Send

Fri 4th Aug  Weybridge to Byfleet

Shepperton from Weybridge. Black Velvet moored opposite.

Moored on the wall

It was a lovely sunny morning as we left the Weybridge Wall and cruised past Shepperton Weir into the almost hidden channel that marks the start of the Wey.

Aiming for the Wey

The pound lock was open, so we tied up just inside and went to see the lock-keeper.  We noticed that grass areas and the flowers all looked well kept and tidy.  A very helpful guy called Ian was on duty, and he sold us a Wey Licence:  £90 for three weeks after deducting a 10% NT member discount. Our journey up through the Thames lock was smooth, because Ian put our ropes on the furthest bollards, and used the small yellow bollard at the back.  If you don’t use this, the boat swings backwards and forwards, banging on the sides.

Entering the Pound Lock

Flowers at Thames Lock

Leaving Thames Lock

There was quite a bit of Floating Pennywort in the water, and Himalayan Balsam on the banks.

Floating Pennywort

Two Wey Bridges

As we arrived under the road bridge we spotted Paul on Iron Duck and we moved the boat over to have a chat. We saw that the lock was set for us, so we took the boat in without tying up on the bollards in the waiting area. 

On the Wey, the convention is to leave the locks open as you leave, without closing the gates behind you.  This was helpful to us today, as all the locks were in our favour.

Town Lock

For some reason, Coxes Lock was empty, but with the gates closed. Probably due to a visiting boat who didn’t know the custom.  While James was opening the gates, Hazel shouted that she had picked up something on the prop. It turned out to be a large item made of fabric, but we couldn’t work out what it was.  While James was down in the weed hatch he tidied up some cables as there had been a rattle coming from the engine.

Hazel took the boat into the lock, and as it was filling, the engine stopped. We couldn’t get it started again, so we called RCR.  Meanwhile there were two boats waiting to come down, so we hauled Gabriel out of the lock.  James suddenly had a light bulb moment, and went down into the engine hold and found that he had unintentionally switched off the fuel!  After two or three tries, with some diesel priming, the engine started again, and we cancelled our call out with RCR.

Broken down above Coxes Lock

New Haw Lock was in our favour with the gates open.

When we arrived at Byfleet Boat Club, we found Paper Moon there (last seen at Cookham a few days ago) plus two other boats. We were able to moor adjacent to the towpath, which is useful for Hugo. 

We visited TLC and collected our post that they had kindly received for us, and we bought a new log book and some spare pages. They now have four trip boats available for hire. They have put a lot of hard work into this business and they deserve to succeed. They are always helpful. 

At the club we saw Adrian, Rodney, Mike and Jeanette. They asked us to provide some music for the event tomorrow.  We went back to charge up our music tablets, and devise a set list.

Later we chatted also to Trev, Sylvia, John and Anne

5 locks, 4 miles

Sat 5th Aug  Byfleet Boat Club

We had agreed to provide some live entertainment at the boat club for their “Fun Day” today.  That was put on hold when James did his back in. 

This morning James was lifting a full toilet cassette and he obviously did it badly as he felt this sudden excruciating pain across his back, and he couldn’t stand up straight.  Hazel wasn’t dressed as she had just had a shower. She passed James a folding chair through the side hatch, and he sat on it as he couldn’t move.  Then he felt himself blacking out. When he came to he was lying on the ground beside the boat. His watch strap had broken, and the watch was hanging over the edge of the water. Hazel called 111 and an ambulance was on its way.  She got a more comfortable chair with a cushion for James, and Robin came to keep him company and have a chat. Hugo was also fussing around. Did he know something was wrong? 

After about two hours an ambulance came, with two paramedics. They gave James gas and air, and some pain killers, and took him off to the ambulance on a stretcher (sitting up because he couldn’t stretch out).     They made him bend and stretch and try to walk, and after half an hour he was able to walk slowly back to the boat. We never did get the guitars out.

Gas and air

On the stretcher

We enjoyed chatting to club members including Rodney and Valerie, also Tony and Doreen Davis, and Mel and Rhys.  We cooked some food on the barbecue. (Hazel cooked, James sat)

Later he managed a game of darts at the club, but he declined the offer to participate in the skittles.  It was a very low key event, but good to renew friendships and meet new people. We met Mark, who has been a member here for two years. He won both the darts and skittles competitions.

Social time at Byfleet Boat Club

Skittles competition

Usually events like this have two or three narrowboats abreast, but Ian and Betty on Yum Sing were up in Yorkshire somewhere, and Mick and Suzanne on Cranley were cruising elsewhere. Some others were also away because of holidays. Even though Rodney and Valerie were there, their boat Hazel Nutt was away in a marina by Glascote locks.

Moored boats at Byfleet Boat Club

No boating today. 1 mouse

Sun 6th Aug  Byfleet Boat Club to Pyrford Marina

John and Anne left on Angonamo, and we moved Gabriel up to take their place, so that we could run a power cable to charge our domestic batteries.

Gabriel at Byfleet Boat Club

We had prebooked a taxi to take us to our old church in Weybridge. We arrived ten minutes early and were waiting for him on the bridge, and he had arrived 15 minutes early and was waiting for us just out of sight. When we received a text to say he had arrived we went and found him.

We had a warm welcome at Weybridge Methodist Church. A lady called Jean Shepherd was preaching and leading. She had a very strong clear style which was excellent. She is based at Godalming Methodist Church. Jose was playing the piano at short notice because the iPod system had malfunctioned.

We walked to the shops after the service, and passed the site where the health centre used to be. It had burnt down a month earlier.  We also managed to get James’s watch strap fixed. It just needed a new pin.

Waiting in the checkout queue in Morrisons, we were discussing taxis, and the lady behind the till gave us a phone number.  We already had another number. A lady behind us in the queue offered us a lift to Weybridge Station where the taxis are based. We declined the offer as we had the two phone numbers to try.  When we rang the numbers, one was an hour wait, and the other was 40 minutes. The lady behind us came past at that point and we took her up on her offer. In the end she took us all the way to the boat club.  Her name was Heather, and she said her husband had been preaching at Walton Methodist that morning. The Lord had sent us an angel.

We left the boat club and cruised up to Pyrford Marina for the boat to be looked at.  Incidentally, if any “out of area” people read this, Pyrford is pronounced as in purr, not pyre. James was able to steer and handle ropes OK. The journey took just 45 minutes, with no locks. 

Dodd’s Bridge

We needed to empty our rubbish so we paused briefly at the facilities area by the Anchor pub.  Mel and Rhys were there on Merlin’s Wey. They turned round and headed back to the boat club.

We turned into Pyrford Marina, and Mark showed us to an empty berth where we could moor. These berths don’t have pontoons – just a post in the water to tie the bows, and posts ashore to tie the stern.  Access is over the stern – not easy with some cruiser stern boats. Ours is OK.

Strangely, the noise we had been hearing was not happening when Mark was there to listen. Perhaps it was because we had charged the batteries. However, it was obvious when testing with a voltmeter that we had a charging problem, and it appeared to be down to the alternator.  With the engine running on tickover, the battery voltage gradually increased. With a few extra revs, which should increase the charge, the voltage was actually dropping.  Today was Sunday, so he agreed to order a new alternator the next day, and it should arrive on Tuesday, when he could fit it. 

That seemed like a good plan.  The old alternator we could send away to be refurbished, and keep as a spare for next time.

Later we walked round to the Anchor pub, where we had a meal with Jose and Lili from Weybridge Methodist Church, as arranged in church that morning. It was good to catch up with all they are doing.

0 locks, 2 miles

Mon 7th Aug  Pyrford Marina

Pyrford Marina early morning

James had a difficult night. The worst thing had been trying to turn over in bed. This morning he was still very stiff, but he managed to walk round the marina from one extremity to the other. There is no lift bridge across the entrance, so you can’t do circuits like you can at Circus Field Basin in Aylesbury  He spotted a BCF boat called Pedestal and looked them up in the directory in case they were local, but they live some distance away.

Moored in Pyrford Marina

Mark came to let us know that the part had been ordered, and he could fit it for us on Tuesday as planned.

Later James went for a walk to keep mobile. He tried to follow a public footpath sign, but it ended in thick undergrowth and a nasty drop into a concealed trench.  He found another way through onto the golf course, which resembled Teletubby land.   It started to rain just as he was returning to the boat.

Footpath to nowhere

Teletubby land

No boating today

Tue 8th Aug  Pyrford Marina

Our alternator was meant to arrive this morning, but Mark came and told us that they had tried to deliver just before the Marina was open at 9pm, and they had left a card. He wasn’t expecting it now until tomorrow.  We have an appointment at the New Inn at Send tomorrow at 7pm with Dave and Caryl Ingoldby, and heavy rain is forecast, so we really wanted to get to Send today.

We caught up with various jobs and after lunch we decided to go for a walk on the other side of the canal.  Before we went we prayed that the alternator would arrive despite what Mark had said. We told Mark we were off, and we left the ignition key with him.

The footpath we followed disappeared in the golf course, as there were several choices of direction at one point.  Fortunately we picked it up again after a detour across the greens. The place was immaculate, with flower beds and gardens. We rejoined the canal at Pigeon House Footbridge, and returned to Pyrford Lock along the towpath.

Where to now?

Golf course gardens

When we arrived back at the boat we could see a toolbox on the stern of Gabriel. Our alternator had been delivered, and Mark had almost finished fitting it. Our prayer had been answered. Thank you Lord!

Tool box on the stern

The old alternator

We made immediate preparations to leave, and set off after we had settled our bill.

Leaving the marina

Pyrford Lock was our first challenge. Fortunately it was in our favour, and another boat was ready to come down. Unfortunately they were a bit too quick to operate the paddles, and the boat went onto the back gates, pushing the tiller round and injuring Hazel. She now has a large bruise.

Going along the line of boats above the lock, it was interesting to see which boats we remembered from before, and which ones were new.

Pigeon House Bridge built in 1765

Paper Moon

Walsham Gates soon followed. This is a flood lock, and is therefore usually kept open. It is turf sided, and has unusual peg-in-a-hole type paddle gear. We spotted a new kingfisher sculpture.

Walsham Gates

Traditional paddle gear

 Kingfisher sculpture

Then we were on the river section, for the first time since Town Lock in Weybridge. We were amazed by the amount of Floating Pennywort. It was thick on both sides of the river, leaving just a narrow channel in places. This used to start from Coxes Mill Pond and go downstream to the Thames, but it has now spread up stream.

Floating Pennywort

Newark Lock followed, “built in 1653 by the ruins of Newark Priory” it says on the plaque.  We enjoyed a sighting of two deer in the field adjacent to the lock.

Newark Priory

Newark Lock


Then we met our second boat of the day, in the water meadows before Papercourt Lock, which must be one or the prettiest locks around.

Papercourt Lock

A new marina is being built at Send, and it looks as though it will be fairly extensive.

Send Marina

On arrival at Send we found that the moorings were empty, so we were able to pick a spot furthest away from the road, which can be busy.

3 locks, 3 miles.

Next: A day in Send before continuing south to Guildford and Godalming and back again.  We are meeting several people in Guildford.

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