An excerpt from Wind in the Willows

Nice? It's the ONLY thing, said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING - absolute nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing, he went on dreamily: messing - about - in - boats; messing----'
From 'Wind in the Willows' by Kenneth Grahame.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Return from Little Venice

We stayed on at Little Venice as I needed to go to Stoke Bruerne and Stonghold, Winging It and Leo No2 had decided to join St Pancras Cruising Club Thames barrier cruise on the Saturday.  The weather on the Wednesday was awful and the forecast for Saturday was much the same so we had a quick towpath conference and decided that discretion was the better part of valour, sent our apologies to Andrew Phasey, and headed for Bulls Bridge and the Hanwell flight.

We had a good trip and on arrival at Teddington Winging It and Leo No2 went back to the Lock office to purchase a Wey Transit licence.  The issuer said to me that he wanted me 'off the river' that evening. I replied that would be a challenge as it was now 16:00, Thames Lock (River Wey) closed at 18:00 and it was 3 to 4 hours cruising to the Wey.  Well, he said, be above Sunbury tonight.  I paid my £10 for the transit licence and left.  I was not impressed with the level of customer service from the Lock Keeper.  My view of the transit licence is that it is a licence to travel from Teddington to the Wey (or the Wey to Teddington) and that we should try and complete the transit as quickly as practicable.  The tides dictate if you can make the Wey or not and, single handing down Hanwell, the tidal trip to Teddington and then to be requested (it was a bit more than that) to keep going for another couple of hours is perhaps not sensible.

I rang the EA Helpline and received very good help from the person who answered the phone.  I was advised that a Wey Transit was valid for 24 hours - that seemed sensible to me so we spent th night at Hampton Court.  We wondered if the Lock Keepers at Molesey and Sunbury would question our licences on the Saturday morning but they did not.

I expect some boaters have been 'taking the michael' and making extended transits - that's not in the spirit of the agreement but I think an overnight stay on the way up or down the Thames, if the tide times dictate, is within the spirit of the agreement.

Once back on the Wey we decided to join the Byfleet Boat Club's 'Commodore's BBQ' at Warren Farm and enjoyed a lovely evening in good company despite the weather.

A small setback this afternoon; the blanking plate on the back of my Morso Squirrel started to fall out.  There was a sheared bolt which we couldn't get out so I have order a new plate from TLC and in the meantime I'll have to rely on the central heating.

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