Monday, 21 May 2018

Spending a couple of days at Filance

It's been both a pleasant and a productive day here at Filance. First thing this morning we went shopping again, this time using the road which runs down from the Cross Keys, Filance Lane. It's not much longer than yesterday's route and is a good deal easier with the wheelie basket. The towpath here is basic grass with a rut down the middle, not very friendly for wheels.

We got a good load from the Co-op and duly headed back the way we came. After coffee, we had a call from Dave Miller of Cabincare, checking where we were. He arranged to come straight over and was with us just after eleven. He's very efficient and soon had the side hatches and Houdinis measured up. He quoted a bit over £500 for four flyscreens in cassettes fitted to the existing frames.

This being much what we'd anticipated, we agreed the deal with him and he went off to check his stock of framing. A little later he rang to confirm that he had enough stock to do them all straightaway and will be back tomorrow afternoon to fit them. His stuff has a good reputation for quality so we're looking forward to seeing them in place. We certainly can't complain about the level of service!

This afternoon, we took a walk down to Penkridge lock to dump rubbish and recycling. There were several boats heading up or stopped on the water point and we did a bit of huffling as the chance presented itself. On the way back, we stopped to help a woman with Filance lock bottom gates. Once open, her husband motored into the lock but stopped when most of the way in.

The pounds are still very low, so I thought he'd grounded on the bottom cill, but no, he was boating with his fenders down and the large ones at the front had jammed. There followed a bit of rocking and revving and he finally managed to back out enough to lift the fenders, after which all went smoothly.

I honestly, truly, really don't know why so many people boat along with their fenders dangling. It's not hard to arrange to take them up, one way or another, they really don't provide any extra protection to the rubbing strakes as they swing to and fro and there's always the risk of them jamming in a lock or other narrows.

If the boat had been going down the lock, it could have got really serious, with the boat suspended and canted over in the chamber, making it very hard to refloat without swamping it. In any event, sooner or later a fender gets ripped off and then lurks under water with its rope waiting to wrap itself round someone's prop.

Sorry, rant over...

So, we'll stay here tomorrow – expect just a short blog but hopefully some photos of the new flyscreens – and then head for Deptmore on Wednesday and Tixall on Thursday, staying there for the Bank Holiday weekend, I expect.


Jo said...

You may see Bill & Jo at Tixall. They left Mercia today and are heading that way! We go down Atherstone tomorrow - Peter & Mel coming to lockwheel 👍👍

KevinTOO said...

There is a word in your text I never ever imagined you would type Bruce!
I hasten to add that I had to Google it as it was not in my knowledge... huffling really?
I'm not criticising by any means, but I am giggling just a little ;)

Bruce in Sanity said...

Well, well, not at all what you think! Huffling is the old boatman's word for helping out at a lock. In the carrying days, long lock flights often had hufflers hanging around who would assist the boatman in exchange for a few coppers.

Goodness knows where the disgusting uses originate!