We stopped for an early lunch alongside the River Gade above Lock 71. We were hungry, it's true. We often don't have breakfast. But Grace had been experiencing an unusual vibration in the engine, and I needed to get down the weed hatch to inspect the propellor, the number one suspect. Which is what I did while Grace prepared brunch. And indeed, the vibration had been caused by a great deal of plastic that had wrapped itself around the propellor and its shaft. I removed it within minutes. No harm done.
It was only the third time in almost five years that we'd had a fouled prop. Ours is a fairly standard model, though slightly larger than normal. There is another type called and Axiom, which claims to be more efficient than the standard. And so it may be. But everyone we know who has an Axiom prop suffers far more than us from plastic bags, weed, items of apparel and all sorts of other rubbish which can be found in our inland waters. One boat with which we've travelled in the past needed their prop de-fouled most days.
There are brand new gates at King's Langley Lock. Pristine. Perfect. They still smell of the coal-tar preservative with which they were treated during construction. But the top gates have no paddles, and, with ground paddles only, the huge chamber fills extremely slowly. It's a strange omission, and I wish I knew why they did it.
Nash Mills Lock has a water tap to one side of it, but below the top gate. The first time we went through this lock, we had to wait for some time before entering it, because a hire-boat was having its tank filled whilst still in the chamber! I tweeted a photo of the tap, and commented that it was a strange place for it to be located.
|All that noisy busyness in the distance! The A41.|
We had hoped to meet Louise again when we got to Nash Mills, this time to visit her flat, but it was early afternoon when we got there, and Louise was at work, and we didn't really want to wait several hours, only to find that she wasn't around that evening. And contacting her was out of the question, Lou's a teacher.
So we carried on to Hemel Hempstead, stopping at the same spot as the one we'd used on our way south. Boxmoor Locks in the Two Waters area.
Next to a noisy, busy town, this spot offers a tranquil, attractive mooring.