London, Cornwall and the Kennet & Avon Canal
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Part One - Dawn & Dusk
Part Two - London
Part Three - Cornwall
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Mon. July 24th, 2006

Kennet and Avon

Warm and sticky sticky sticky

Coffee and Breakfast Orders We were a little better organized this morning and were all assembled on the bow and mooring spot when coffee was delivered and breakfast orders taken. Shaun and Jonathan switch off doing galley duty it seems.

We opted for a later breakfast again so we could get up to Pewsey Wharf and take on water. Bill was also getting off here for an appointment, and would meet back up with us at Devizes.

Pewsey Wharf It was still really crowded at the wharf so we lashed up to another boat and the crew took care of the tanks while we had breakfast. Once we'd finished everything up we headed off for the long pound to Devizes. Shaun started off steering for a bit, and since we were singling it, we had plenty of chance to ease the boredom by giving him a hard time. He just takes it so well.

Full English Breakfast There were no locks on this stretch, so no places to hop off so we just sat back and watched the scenery go by. Marge took over for a bit and had Shaun go down to deal with lunch. Poor Marge was on the tiller for most of the day after that. However our rarebit stuffed peppers were excellent for having all that attention paid to them in the galley.

She pointed out the Alton Barnes White Horse when we got to Honeystreet, and we found a place to get off and stretch our legs on the path for a bit there. Carissa must have walked half way to Devizes before she finally climbed back on board. She's much more of a walker than us I think.

Alton Barnes White Horse We got to Devizes between 15:30 and 16:00 but were having a tough time finding a place to moor. They were closing some locks in the area above us (which we had just missed getting trapped by) and that had started boats piling up a bit. We popped off at the wharf to go explore the town and the K&A Canal museum and planned to walk down and find them a little further down when they'd found a place to tie up.

Bought stuff at the Kennet & Avon shop, went thru the museum there, and wandered thru the town a bit. Things were starting to close down, and it was just so hot that we started back to the boat. Dawn & Dusk had found a spot at lock 44 right at the top of the Caen Hill flight. The views were great, the news was not. There had been a lightning strike at one of the pumping stations, so they were closing the flight for 2 days due to water shortages. The padlocks were going on the lock gates while we watched.

Lady Bridge Our solution was a pair of bolt cutters, but Marge, whirlwind problem solving whiz that she is, had come up with an alternative (and much more legal) plan for us. Since we had wanted to see Bath when we arrived on Weds., she'd worked a deal with British Waterways and they'd subsidize a portion of the fare to get us to Bath the next morning instead, so it wouldn't break the bank. Then when we got home in the evening we'd see if there were any updates on the lock status, and we could maybe head down Weds. morning, get as far as we could, and then catch a taxi to meet our train in Bath.

Everyone was so beat from the long day we talked it over and decided that while we were disappointed at not getting to do the flight the next morning, and perhaps not at all, it sounded like a good plan. A better plan was we'd try to talk the crew into letting us take them out to dinner somewhere since we were all near exhaustion. Marge again beat us to the punch and found a place that could fit all of us. (We huddled together and were planning on trying to snag the tab, but Bill beat us to it before we even had a chance to offer.)

Disappointed at Caen Hill Bill arrived with their son, Phil, just as we were going to meet the taxis.
It took 2 taxis and Bills van to get us there since we now numbered 10. 5 of us, 5 of the crew. Jonathan, Carissa and us shared a taxi over to the Barge Inn in Seend. We were lucky and got a great driver, who noticed a lack of British accents as Jonathan is from South Africa, and we're from San Francisco. He had a good time talking to all of us about where we were from that he forgot to set his meter running and luckily, since there were 2 taxis, was able to get the fare from the second one which had Adri, Matt and Margery.

They weren't as lucky with the driver as he kept turning up the radio every time they started to converse among themselves. We ended up with him on the way home, and yes, he was no fun at all.

Bill had asked Phil to help out as it turns out Shaun was off to London the next evening to visit his friend. Phil has worked the boats before and could help out since Jonathan was trying to single hand crew duties and he'd not been on the boats as long. They came later in Bills van since there was some trouble over locking up.

Len had the beef tournedos which were quite good.
The special I'd decided on was wiped from the menu just as I spotted it, so I went with the Steak and Kidney pie, as did Marge. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything to write home about. Carissa finally got to try the Pimms, which Melissa had recommended as a good summer drink when it was hot. We all had to admit it was tasty.

Dinner at Seend After a lovely meal we all piled back into taxis and drove back to the boats.
We were able to convince the boys to hang out a little bit after dinner, playing on the computer and chit chatting. Adri suggested, and we all seconded, that since Shaun was in London a part of the time we were he should ring us up and we'd get together there. Adri wasn't certain of her phone number, so we gave him mine (and it turned out to be a fortunate thing the next day). We hung out for a bit longer and finally couldn't stay awake any longer so we went off to bed and Shaun safely locked us up for the night. And best of all, Len was finally able to get the 3/4 inch splinter of pine needle out of his foot after a week of trying to coax it out.

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