Thursday, 22 May 2014

21 & 22 May OMG. What a day. Yesterday was better. Should probably start there. Warmest day so far. Left the mooring about 9.00 am. Lost count how many locks we did. The Stratford canal is very heavily locked and they are not always well maintained, however it was a fine days cruising. We eventually moored for the night at Wilmcote, the home of Mary Arden, who was Shakespear's mother. We strolled up to the village to have a nose at the house. It is a fine Tudor farmhouse which would certainly not comply with modern building regs. So, on to today. Started we'll, weather a bit cloudy but OK since we were planning to cover the 3 Miles and 16 locks into Stratford basin. All was going well until we exited the 14th lock of the day. There was a big clonk and the engine stopped! It takes a lot to stop a big old Gardner 2LW in its tracks so it was with some apprehension that the Captain delved into the weed hatch. The prop. Was locked solid. Nothing obvious stopping it turning. My expert claimed there must be something wedged between the prop. And the Skeg which supports the rudder at the bottom of the boat. I was assured there was no alternative but to go in. Not me of course, there are some advantages to being first mate. After 20 mins. Up to his chest alongside, the captain admitted defeat. After a well needed shower there was no alternative but to call out canal and river rescue, our fourth emergency service. Luckily a very cheerful man turned up just over an hour later. After some head scratching he agreed with our diagnosis, and also our remedy. He of course had the advantage of a divers suit, minus the bronze helmet with a window! With the help of a metal bar a big hammer he soon had us on our way. Turned out it was a piece of wood no more than 6 x 2 inches. Still, it took a lot of hammering to extract it. By this time the rain had started and we did the last two locks and the entry into Bancroft basin giving a good impression of two drowned rats! Nothing for it but to hot foot it to Wetherspoons to post this blog and to partake in the curry club. Well, it is Thursday.

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