Had a good night after my 'incident' yesterday, apart from being woken up by John going to investigate a noise outside. It turned out to be a cat on our roof, it had tried to walk across one of the solar panels, had tipped and then had slid onto the roof somewhat noisily! I've discovered some bumps and bruises that have now appeared but I'm alive to tell the tale so all is good!
We were moored opposite one of the old historic narrowboats, Tycho, which was an ice-breaker. The working boats couldn't stop just because of a bit of bad weather so boats like these would clear the canal for them.
There was also a totem pole - or to give it it's proper name, story pole - by the next bridge. It was bought by the chap who formerly owned the wood yard that used to be on this spot and luckily they have kept it. Berkhamsted was a really nice little town, full of independent shops so not like every other high street.
We realised that we'd moored here before when we got around the corner and saw the park just before the next lock. When I'd walked Paddy there, it looked familiar last night but seeing it from the canal we both knew we'd been there. Very little about this journey is familiar, strange, it's like a new waterway for most of the time.
I have loads of photos of herons, usually sat by the side of the water looking like statues. I couldn't remember seeing one sat in a tree like this before. I got several shots of it and it didn't fly off as we went past. It did move though so I know it was real.
Another unusual sight today was a pair of shoes left on the lock steps. I spent most of the time in the lock coming up with possible explanations of why they might have been there. Still wondering!
As we came around one corner we were met by the sight of a strange large blue thing in the water, it was turning after coming down a lock and it took a while for us to make it out. I took a photo as I do and as we went past I was readying myself to call out to the guy mooring it about how surprised we'd been. Instead of which I get a nasty shout in a heavy accent to "Look where I going." I wasn't sure what I'd heard so I asked 'What?" and looked ahead in case we were about to hit something, although I was confident that John wouldn't do that. As I looked forward he shouted "Hey you look at me when I speak to you." Getting confused now I asked if he had some sort of problem. His reply was to call me a stupid f...ing c..t. John yelled at him to watch his language (my knight in shining armour) and my witty response was "Well you know SOME English then." by that time we were nearly at the lock and out of range. What is it about me? I don't mean to attract these people, I was actually trying to be nice. Oh well.
There were two boats coming in the lock as we went out and one of them was saying that he'd had a go at them for looking at him apparently. I asked them to wave to him for me but they thought they'd probably not slow down for niceties! I told them that he was moored on the wrong side in any case so they went off looking forward to going past him!
I bet there's not many front fenders like this? We both thought it was brilliant and very unusual.
We finally got to the Tring summit, a respite from the ceaseless locks that were always the wrong distance apart. Too far to walk and not far enough to make a cuppa! Three miles of just cruising along, admiring the scenery that we couldn't actually see because it's a deep cut all the way along. This was a bridge along it, taking the footpath from one side to the other. A steep climb and I have no idea why they made the bridge so deep in brickwork. It would have been far more elegant if it had a higher archway, like some of them on the Shroppie, that this was similar to, apart from the nice tow-path, not six inches in mud.
Just before the end of the summit there was this lovely old waterways building, with a very elegant tower, beautifully decorative brickwork.
We decided to go down some of the locks as we'd only done a bit over 3 hours and we're trying to do 4. The locks were not friendly. They all leaked so badly that John couldn't open some of the gates without leaving paddles open, and the top one had gone down 6" before he even got to the bottom paddles. It also tried to rain. Not enough to really get us wet, but I pulled the hatch shut and put my anorak on, then took it off, then put it on again, John just persevered in his tee-shirt and shorts, but he's made of stronger stuff than me.
We moored up after the first 6 locks and it's a really nice mooring with the canal and then over the bank, a line of reservoirs that keep the locks fed.
We were still getting ourselves organised when this young lady went past with a swan that had been rescued because it was covered in diesel. They had cleaned it up and it was now going to be released, all well again, and none the worse for it's ordeal.
I've walked Paddy around the first reservoir and he thoroughly enjoyed having a bit of a romp, albeit at the end of a long lead.
John is going to take me out for a meal tonight just down the canal at the Red Lion I think.