Bulls Bridge to Denham Deep Lock
Mooring next to a water point has it’s advantages, so whilst we had a leisurely breakfast we did a load of washing whilst filling up the tank. When the tank was full, as nobody had joined us, Mick gave the roof and port side of Oleanna a rinse down with the hose and brush attachment. During our stay in London we haven’t given Oleanna a good clean, hoping that we’d disappear a bit into the crowd. However this didn’t work, shiny will shine through a good layer of dust no matter what! But for Mick to suggest giving her a clean meant that she was getting quite bad. The last few days of dry weather in Hanwell had covered her with a good layer of dust. I should have joined him and followed along behind, to make sure the job was done properly, but I had other things to do. At least the solar panel had a good clean to make the most of the sun.
We pushed off at 11.30 and headed straight on, no sneaking back into London without permission!
I must have been down below for some of our journey in a month ago as I didn’t recognise several new buildings. One has an improved stretch of towpath and around it has all been landscaped. A lonely boat sits on a mooring below it, we wondered whether the Managing Director had insisted on a private mooring. A footbridge over the railway has been raised for the cross rail, so now the ramps up to it are very lengthy, two lads on scooters were enjoying riding up and over it very noisily. Shortly afterwards I realised why I’d not seen much of this stretch, there was murderers bridge!
The heat was starting to get to us as we approached Cowley, so as a boat pulled out in front of us we decided to have their mooring in the shade and stop for something to eat. This was a relief and meant we could sit with the hatch open for a while to help cool down the cabin for Tilly. It’s no good, I have had to resort to the floor to sleep on, upholstery and fur are not good when it is hot like this. I think she misses the tiled bathroom floor on Lillian that stayed cool, Karndean just isn’t the same.
The lock was almost empty so in our favour. A group of Polish chaps had been fishing around the lock and then decided to drop a line into the chamber as I filled it. He pretty quickly caught a small fish which was put in his bag to take home for a snack. A boat was approaching under the bridge above, a lady had a pole at the front and a chap was pushing along on the arch of the bridge, no engine. Luckily they pulled in for water and a break. As we passed the lady asked if we’d like to swap. At first we thought she meant ‘did we want water?’ But no she was after swapping her engineless craft for ours. We only gave it a split seconds thought and turned down the offer.
On to Uxbidge where one of the Uxbridge boys was winding NB Ehawee and then reversing into his mooring. If we’d been on Lillian we’d have said hello, but now very few people recognise us. At the marina we pulled in, no queue for once and filled with diesel. Well we thought we were full, but the gauge suggests that that top inch or so of tank takes quite a bit of filling as it is only reading 3/4 full. At 65p a litre this is the cheapest we’ve bought since Goole at the end of last summer.
Approaching Denham Deep Lock a boat came past us, this however didn’t mean that the lock was in our favour as it was being turned in front of us, too hot now to make comment so I assisted. The chap only noticed me as I got to the top gates, even then it felt like he thought I was a lockie. As he brought his boat in a single hander appeared and asked if she could share the lock. His boat was over 7ft wide so he was worried that she might not fit. But with fenders lifted on his boat there was plenty of space. He had a friend with him, learning the ropes which became apparent very quickly. I shouted instructions over to him on how to close the paddles and close the gate. With this done the chap on the boat then started to shout instructions to his crew on how to close everything, which had already been done.
Waiting for some acknowledgment from the two skippers that they were ready I was going to be stood there for sometime. He wasn’t visible and she was too busy looking at her phone. Oh well I looked like their homes were in mine and the novice crew members hands. As the water started to lower the chaps boat was getting rather close to the gate so I got his attention and waved him back, at first he just gave me the thumbs up as if ‘it’s okay to empty the lock’, but in the end he got the gist and moved back. A couple of gongoozlers were keen to help on the other side. She wound the paddle down as the crew unhitched ropes and dropped them back on the cabin top. It took quite a bit of explaining that he should then walk down to get back on his boat and didn’t need to use the ladder. The lady on her boat was on the phone by this stage and managed to end the call so she could exit the lock, not one bit of acknowledgement from her!
The lock was now ours and the keen gongoozlers were there to help. I declined her offer to help with the paddles as Denham Deep Lock is called that for a reason. With gates closed I started lifting paddles. I just happened to look at the bottom gates and noticed one of the paddles was still part way up. It took quite a bit of effort to close it, so no wonder it had been thought to be closed by my helper. They very kindly offered to open and close the gates as we left, she had a very big grin on her face.
A space under trees was so inviting and not to be missed. We pulled in, let Tilly out, drank cold water and tried out our new chairs, very comfy indeed.
3 locks, 7.23 miles, 1 rinse, 2 straight ons, 1 melting cat, 1 minnow, 3 poles, 1 poled boat, 2 melting boaters, 1 snake, 1 Uxbridge boy, 104 litres, 1 photo samaritan, 1 novice, 1 non lockie, 2 gongoozlers grins, 3 friends, 4 trees, 2 hot for any more, 2 chairs well and truly tried out.