It was another rainy day but we were resolved to go on to Berkhamsted. The first lock was already open so we went in and the lock was nearly full when a boat came through the swing bridge. When I took the boat out Alan set the lock again for the other boat and said that we would wait for him. It was a single hander from Winkwell Boat Services laden down with bricks and other building materials. The skipper was called Jonty, a very cheery Liverpudlian. He has the job of transporting raw materials to, and waste away from the building site where the Bridgewater Boats boatyard had stood empty for many years. He thought it was a condition of the planning permission that this was done by boat not road. It seems there will be two houses and a house boat and he will be moving the materials until December.
As all the locks were set in our favour (most have to be left empty on this stretch), we made good time with two boats and Jonty left us when he turned at the station. The final lock was the first with the anti-vandal keys that unfortunately are necessary in Berkhamsted, and we found a mooring not long after. This is as far as we can go until Bushes Lock opens on Saturday.
I was about to walk along to the bank and then to Bushes Lock to enquire if it might open earlier when another boater went past with a windlass down to the lock we had just come through. He said that the lock had to be left empty because they were losing water and none was coming down (there was no notice on this one and it’s usually full in our experience so we hadn’t emptied it). I walked past the bank which closed owing to urgent repairs!! Maybe the Barclays staff thought they weren’t getting enough bonuses and were taking revenge on us mere customers. Directing me to Tring or Hemel Hempstead wasn’t much help. So I strode along to Bushes lock to find that new gates had been fitted and there was lots of machinery but nobody working there to ask about the opening date. But there was a vast volume of water flooding over the stop gate and the pound below was full, and indeed the two pounds down to where we are moored.
As one does with Liverpudlians we had been talking to Jonty about the cuts and the fact that Liverpool Council is fighting back and he said that he went to Ladbrooks last year to place a bet on there being a revolution in the UK in 2011. He said they wouldn’t take his bet, making him think it was a strong possibility!
Today we did 2.58 Miles and 8 Locks and 1 Swing bridge
Statistics so far:-
2158.63 Miles, 1243 Locks, 120 Swing Bridges, 82 Lift Bridges, 36 Tunnels