On Wednesday Karen dropped Matt at Gatwick for his fourth year of medical studies in Hradek Kralove in Czech Republic. As no children at home we decided to have a week on the boat.
Karen went to work in Crewe for the day and Buddy and I drove to Roydon. We pottered around all afternoon taking in a long walk and painting the front deck. Buddy was very interested in the sheep, cows and turkeys. The church was unusual as it wasn’t walled in and it was next to a house that didn’t quite seem finished. We met plenty of boaters and their dogs for Buddy to play with. We met one guy who was a friend of a boater we knew when we were moored down in Newbury.
On Friday Karen WFB and I fitted the mobile broadband receiver permanently. Tim Garland (a sail and hood maker) fitted our cratch cover. We now have an extra room!
In the evening we went for a cruise for a couple of miles passing through Roydon lock on the way. We really hadn’t realised how pretty Essex could be.
We moored at a lovely quiet and sunny spot by Hunsdon Mead and sat on the towpath for the evening.
Saturday promised to be yet another hot day so we started early so we could get to Bishops Stortford which was 14 miles and 12 locks away. Nearly all the locks have, or once had, mills next to them, hence the names.
The river and countryside was really quiet and pretty even though we went through places like Harlow. It was very tight and narrow in places especially for a 70’ narrow boat.
Bishop’s Stortford wasn’t as quaint as we thought it sounded but still had some interesting old buildings. Bishop’s Stortford is the furthest North we can travel on the River Stort so we had to turn round. We stopped for a pump out - right opposite the Michelin starred ‘Chicken Corner’.
The River Stort at Bishop’s Stortford.
We decided to turn round and head South to Sawbridgeworth. On the way Karen walked a couple of miles with a guy who had two spaniels who were desperate to play so all three dogs got plenty of exercise.
Buddy had his first accident, misjudging the gap to the bank and fell in the river. He was a bit shocked but at least we found out he could swim. He went in again, deliberately, with the two spaniels.
We went under one of the lowest bridges we have come across.
We also stopped at a quiet spot so Karen could do some logging.
In the evening we moored at Rushy Mead. This was the first time we needed to use a gangplank since we had Buddy. We put two down to give him confidence but it didn’t help. Karen had to drag him off and once he realised it was safe he was happily running on and off the boat.
As it promised to be yet another hot day we took it slowly. We christened the washing machine and confirmed it had no leaks.
We went for a walk round Sawbridgeworth, a very pleasant town. We then cruised through a couple of locks and moored out in the middle of the country between Sawbridgeworth and Harlow. Buddy seems to have really settled in and makes friends easily.
We sat on the towpath for late afternoon reading and drinks. A family cycled past at one point and one of the young lads lost control and fell in the river. He was stung by nettles and wet through so was shocked rather than hurt. It took his mother ages to calm him down. Fortunately it wasn’t one of us or Buddy who had made him lose concentration.
All in all we have taken some big steps forward on the ‘Jobs to be done before we move aboard’ list over the last few days:
- Washing machine installed and working
- Cratch cover fitted
- Broadband receiver installed and working