Friday 10th July

Up (a little earlier than planned) and off at 7 am. Through Marlow and Cookham locks on manual (phew!). Cookham was unusual in that it had two chambers -- in other words, there is an extra set of gates in the middle. Effectively, therefore, the capacity of the lock is variable, depending on the volume of traffic. There didn't seem any point in using both chambers for one small narrowboat, so we used just the downstream chamber. By an oversight (I suppose) the middle gates were powered up -- but the lower gates still had to be operated by hand.

We got to Boulter's Lock by 9.10 -- in time to have the services of the lock-keeper.

Fairly uneventful as far as Windsor. A good view of the castle ahead of us as we approached the town.

Windsor Castle

Then, at 12.20 pm, disaster! Engine suddenly packed up -- lots of smoke. Inspection of temperature gauge indicated virtual meltdown. Alan phoned the boatyard on his mobile. Engineer due to arrive in two hours.

While waiting, Nick took Maddie for a walk, and noticed the Surrey tied up a little way along. This was the boat we took out from Farncombe Boat House a few years ago when we had a weekend on the Wey Navigation. No boatyard markings apparent, so presumably it had been sold off to a private owner, but it was unmistakeably the same boat. The most distinctive features, the oval panels depicting various scenes of the county, were still there on the superstructure. After all the boats we've taken out over the years, I must admit it's becoming quite difficult to remember whieh ones we've preferred, but certainly Surrey was one of the better ones.

Engineer arrived pretty much on time. Various problems apparent: a leaky hose in the coolant circuit; very low oil (in a part of the engine separate from the normal part we had been checking); no water at all in the radiator! The latter probably due in part to the leaky hose, combined with the hotter running of the engine at the higher speeds on the river. Privately, I had been rather anxious that we would be berated for not having checked the water level regularly (indeed at all!), but no untoward comments and we emerged (on the whole) without embarassment.

Under way at 3.55 pm. The new plan is to moor at Shepperton. Exact plan for rendezvous with June to be arranged once we find which train she can get (she has a mobile phone as well as Alan). At Shepperton, we stopped at the Old Cut, rather than the Desborough Cut, in the hope that we might see a little more of the birds from the nearby sanctuary. Alan set off to meet June at Twickenham; the rest of us strolling over to the older part of Shepperton -- Church Square. Naturally we stopped at a pub on the way -- there being plenty of time before Alan and June could be expected. Eventually arriving at Church Square, we did not have long to wait as the Grunwalds arrived in style by taxi -- they arrived to find our first round only half drunk. Back to the boat for a supper using the pasta sauce that Nick had put together yesterday.