Provisioning, Part One

Do you remember galoshes? No, neither, it seems, does anyone else – except Capt. and Mrs Virginia who were in search of a pair of waterproof overshoes for the Captain on his boating activities. We spent a good portion of Friday scouring various country supply stores, huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ stores, and the like. Some came close but had nothing large enough whilst others simply raised a questioning eyebrow. Wellington boots are apparently a bad idea because, if one does have the misfortune to fall in, they tend to fill with water and drag one under. This is not a particular issue where a 3-feet deep canal is concerned but it can be a very dangerous solution on the River Thames, which is where we are hoping to head. Capt. Virginia finished up with some (supposedly waterproof) Gortex walking boots.

The rest of the day was spent buying wine, food, gin, food, wine, food and wine. We wandered out of a well known local supermarket with a shopping cart rattling about 20 bottles of wine against each other and muttering, “that should get us through the first few locks”. 🙂

“Doing the Thames Ring”, a circular route involving the Grand Union Canal, Oxford Canal and River Thames, is less than straightforward. The canal sections should be simple enough, apart from trying to find a mooring in the crowded stretches of Oxford and London, but the Thames is tidal at London which makes re-entering/leaving (depending upon direction) the Grand Union Canal time dependent. Since there is no quick way back once aboard a canal boat, timing is critical – one needs to get through the lock on a specific day or risk delivering the boat back late. How to win friends and influence people! One is advised to contact the Thames lock lock-keeper at Brentford 24 hours beforehand.

Our Captain found the tide tables and some lock times but not all was clear so he tried calling the lock-keeper’s number. A maintenance man answered claiming ignorance. We double checked the number, found it to be correct and were left hoping that the lack of enlightenment was due to our being a little late in the day and that the man in the know had left.

I hope someone is in the know. We’ll try again tomorrow.

Posted in 2014 The Thames Ring

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