Monday, May 09, 2016

Next stop, Sawbridgeworth (cruise retrospective)

Saturday, 8th April. We awoke to cold, dismal rain. But our biggest concern today, though still not major, was the deadness of our inverter. Having been through a stage of working intermittently, it is now just dead. An ex-inverter. So we have no way of charging our laptops, and their batteries are now flat. My smartphone would make that situation easier, were it not for the fact that I've run out of data, and it's not been topped up automatically as it should have been. The only way to remedy that is to visit the Giffgaff website. But I can't. So we have no access to email, Twitter or Facebook, nor to Blogger. And I can do no photo or video work. Sigh. I hate it that I am so tied in to these things, but I can't get away from it. I know that there are two urgent FB messages that I need to reply to. And I'm awaiting an email from someone who's interested in featuring this blog in their magazine (or something. I didn't get round to finishing reading their comment on the blog before the battery gave up!)

"Rain before 7, fine before 10". We moved on, past lots more dead and collapsed trees - all of them willow, it would seem. Many were in danger of falling across the river. Or rather, boats are in danger of them falling across. The river was very winding, and narrow, Oxford-like. It was a Saturday, and there were canoeists, walkers, cyclists, joggers and anglers in large numbers. As yesterday, we met no boats.

On our approach to Harlow, coming around a bend, Grace and I were astonished to see a huge hoarding promoting It wouldn't have been a bad idea, had it not been so flipping cold! It was only as we completed the bend that the whole of the advert fully revealed itself.

The locks are fascinating. There is no standard configuration. The only thing they all have in common is the 13 foot width. Everything else is variable. Locking crews should always carry a windlass and the BW key on this river. And bear in mind that it is the accepted norm to leave both gates open as you leave through them.

We'd had it in mind to overnight at Hallingbury Marina, again to enjoy the benefits of 230v electricity, but our 2003 edition of Nicholson is no longer correct in saying that they offer overnight moorings, so we moved on to Sawbridgeworth Lock, and tied up there for the night.

After lunch, we walked into the town to buy food, and strolled around, sightseeing. Nicholson says that this is "an attractive town". It may have been in 2003. These are the highlights!

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