Monday, 6 December 2010

Slow locking!

It took me over two hours to get through two close-together locks this morning! I needed water and knowing things are going to get cold again, thought I'd better try and move today. The first hour was spent breaking up the couple of hundred yards of ice up to the first lock, losing splintering bits of my long boat pole in the process. I managed to get one gate open but got wedged in as the boat was forced to take the lock at an angle. Had to free up the second gate in the end. The same for coming out the lock, having to open both gates because of the quantity of ice behind each open gate. Hard work, but fun too!
Then it was on to the water point which was frozen. It was next to the BW office at Apsley so I went to ask if anyone minded me defrosting the pipes with boiling water. I called upstairs where I eventually made myself heard over the male shouting and laughter going on up there. Calling "Hi, anyone there?" (stupid question, I know), I wasn't too happy to hear some bloke shout down "No, but we've ordered a stripper". So I just set to, to have a go at the tap myself but two BW guys then appeared and at first just looked and said 'yeah, it's frozen, sorry'. I insisted a bit and then they went and boiled water for me (which I was happy to do myself) and defrosted the tap - wonderful! I was grateful, although my licence does cover the use of water points and some basic assistance with keeping them functioning would seem to be a reasonable expectation if BW people happen to be on the spot.
They went back inside and I could see several guys watching me breaking the ice with my boat pole to be able to get through the next lock (no mooring places available where I was). Embarrassingly, it took me ages, when I just wanted to make a dignified exit. I see the sexism wasn't consistent enough to actually offer help to the 'little lady'! Or maybe I just frightened the hell out of them with my big boat pole and vigorous smashing of ice - ha!
Aaaanyway, I'm still in the same town but in an ice-free stretch, with lovely hot-water for my shower. Mmmmm...


grey wolf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
grey wolf said...

The delights of narrow boating in the British winter?Take care in this weather.

Anonymous said...

Hi Wolfie, thanks for your kind comment.
Yes, it's quite hard work, the icy locks are very dodgy and I'm looking decidedly weatherbeaten these days but I still think it's an amazing way to live!

Jo (Coalwoman) said...

Hi Carrie.

Great read, it made me giggle.
It does make you wonder sometimes if some of the BW workers actually do any work. it was also very sexist their remark. But what can we expect from men hahaha.
I bet they do not know how to use a kettle to thaw taps, they only know how to use a kettle to make cups of tea lol.
Keep smiling xx

Neil said...

Glad you persisted and were able to take water.

It's many years since I hired a boat on the canals, and never in the ice and snow, but I do recall a BW work boat bearing the advice to boaters, written in the grime,


Sorry you came across an unhelpful bunch, hope that is not typical?

Good luck in the next batch of freezing weather!

Anonymous said...

Hi Neil. Fortunately, the majority of BW people I come across are exteremely helpful, friendly and enjoy a chat. In fact, I expect each of those guys at Apsley would be charming and helpful individualy.