Tuesday 11 October 2016

Beneath the surface

I've been down the weed-hatch occasionally this summer, but mostly just-in-case. I can't remember having to clear anything serious. Until today. I was manoeuvring to get into the second lock at Stone (coming down), went into reverse briefly – and felt it! Into forward – yes, definitely something there, and clearly something that would prevent us getting out of the lock should we enter it. We thought it good practice to deal with it immediately.

It turned out to be a large woven nylon bag or sack of some sort, complete with zipper. Fortunately I'd resisted the temptation to do anything violent with the throttle in an attempt to dislodge it – I'd had the feeling from the start that would only make things worse. In the event it took only a few minutes to pull into the side, lift the deck, get down the hatch and pull the offending object clear. We didn't even have to cope with anyone else wanting to use the lock while we were marooned on its bollards. There was a CRT disposal point just below the lock, so it all ended well. But it's not always that way…!

Yesterday I found myself in one of those situations I had in mind when I blogged about the BCF sticker on our boat a few weeks ago. As we joined a small queue at Stoke top lock, I did a manoeuvre that I thought was perfectly reasonable. Unfortunately, someone it affected slightly didn't agree, so I was subjected to a certain amount of abuse. I naturally thought this was unreasonable, but it was clear that I could have avoided the whole situation by doing something different. So I spent most of the rest of the day examining my feelings about being reprimanded for (probably) being in the wrong. Cruising long sections of canal with no locks and little going on doesn't provide the distraction to take your mind off such things. And being the person I am, introspection is the name of the game. There's a lot going on beneath the surface, that most others aren't going to see. But if something is dragged up to foul the propeller, it's as well to clear it up ASAP.

It's just not very nice getting down the personal weed-hatch!


  1. It happened to me the other day whilst driving with abose, horn and lots of interesting had signs..... The road was narrow so I just stopped and challenged her. Spent an hour or so wondering if I did the right thing.

    1. Ah, the blessing / curse of the tender conscience!