Hanwell Bottom Lock to Teddington Lock Cut
After breakfast we pushed off through the sediment and left it all to bubble away. Any slight movement of the boat last night set it off again, taking quite sometime to calm down. Osterley Lock was surprisingly clear of rubbish, land by it had been tidied up and fruit trees planted. Most of the way down the locks the Hanwell and Norwood Green Orchard Trail Group have been busy planting trees. In the field by the bottom lock we’d seen 4ft high plum trees recently planted. By Osterley Lock there were another 12 new trees, the fruit will be for the picking, when it grows, by anyone.
Moorings were a plenty by the hospital in Brentford, but we carried on to the services, quickly putting a second load of washing on, so that we could fill fully with water before leaving. We now only had the gauging lock to do before we’d have a wait for the tide and Lock Keeper at Thames Lock. So we decided to move down. Access to work the locks is from a bridge that crosses them with a locked gate to get to the panel. Luckily I’d seen a C&RT chap having difficulty locking the gate, I also had difficulty. Eventually through the gate I could fill a lock and bring Lillian down only to have difficulty in locking the gate again! Grrr!!
We moored just before the lock landing, had lunch, sorted out the weed hatch and got the anchor out from the locker and attached it to the T stud on the bow. This made us wonder where we would put the anchor on NB Oleanna? We then set off to have a look at the river. Two geese were standing on the river bed just outside the lock along with numerous moored boats, so we guessed it was low tide. By the time we’d walked round for an hour the mud banks had gone and the geese were floating again. NB Whistler joined us to wait for the Lock Keeper who was due to arrive at 5.30pm.
Holding onto ropes in locks wasn’t my favourite thing before my accident, now even less. I really don’t want to be rushed as I am constantly aware of where the rope is and where I’d rather it was. The Lockie of course wasn’t aware of any of this and was very quick off the mark with the sluices. All was fine, but I really would rather have taken a couple more minutes, Mick is also wary of when to do things at the helm, at least on the Thames locks you have to turn your engine off.
Out onto the Tidal Thames, new water, new river for us and Tilly. It was a little bit bouncy but other than that not much different really, the stove was nice and warm, don’t know what the fuss was about, other than my biscuits had run out! We followed NB Whistler out, the wind was quite strong and blowing up waves. I’d left the cratch open to make the next lock easier for me, but we decided it would be better off closed deflecting any water.
Obviously in an area of deprivation we passed small unkempt house after house! Syon House with it’s deaf lion, Kew Gardens. At Richmond there is a lock and weir. The weir is raised 2 hours before high tide and lowered again 2 hours after. This helps keep the river upstream at half tide level the rest of the time. Whilst it is open you can just navigate straight through as if it was a bridge, other times you have to use the lock. We sailed straight through and on towards the hillside that is Richmond. I’ve worked at The Orange Tree Theatre numerous times and not realised the whole place was on quite a hill.
Marble Hill House, Ham House, Eel Pie Island (with it’s not so lavish properties) then round the last bend and Teddington Lock came into view. Traffic lights guided us to the Launch Lock where a couple more narrowboats could have fitted alongside NB Whister and Lillian. All roped up, engine off we rose onto the non-tidal Thames. The Lockie said to come back in the morning to pay for our license and our overnight mooring. There is a really long mooring here, but with 12 large cruisers waiting for the mornings tide we breasted up before looking to see if there was space further up. One gap just large enough, so we moved on. Chilly and windswept we were glad of the stove and a tuna lasagne in the oven.
5 locks, 8.52 miles, 1 empty pooh tank, 1 full water tank, 1 long wait, 1 windy transit, 1 blown bucket, 2 chatters of parakeets, 1 feline visitor, 1 cat fight through a porthole whilst Line of Duty was concluding!