We left Hinkley wharf on Thursday morning to return our daughter, Emma, to her car in Brinklow. The Captain reversed Oakapple through the bridge to turn her at the entrance to the arm and we were on our way. The sun was shining and it was a pleasant cruise all the way to Hawksbury junction where we found a mooring just past the stop lock.
If you are at the junction a visit to 'The Greyhound' is a must so off we went to see what ales were on offer. A couple of pints and a chip butty later we were back on board ready to put our feet up.
Yesterday things didn't go so well. It was fine until we were aproaching Stretton Stop, the home of Rose Narrowboats. The canal narrows here where they used to guage the old working boats to calculate the tolls. As we entered the narrows there was a clonking from under the stern and the engine stopped! We drifted out and tied up alongside the hire boats at the yard. A quick look down the weed hatch confirmed that the prop. was solid.
Bearing in mind a similar experience last year the Captain phoned 'River & Canal Rescue' of which we are a member.
He then popped into the yard office to explain what was happening. To say that they were unhelpful would be to understate the case. He was told, "we don't let RCR on our site", and "you'll have to pull your boat through the bridge and moor the other side". Pretty poor since it was probably rubbish from the yard which had jammed the prop.
Still, we did just that, and while I walked to Brinklow with Emma to fetch her car, Captain waited for the RCR man to arrive. He was there within two hours, friendly, cheerful, and even willing to encourage his 'lad' to put on the diving suit and get into the water. As on the previous occasion, a chunk of wood had jammed between the prop and the skeg. With Oakapple being fairly deep it is not possible to reach the bottom of the prop through the weed hatch unless you have arms like a chimpanzee. Twenty mins. later the obstruction had been cleared and we were ready to be on our way, after saying our farewell to our guest. All that was left was to cruise through the cutting to all Oaks Wood where we spent the night.