Now, should that be big-bottom wetting? Or big bottom-wetting?
As Sue has taken to calling NP XL ”Tubby”, I think I’ll settle on big-bottom wetting…
Whichever, we’re here outside Bridgewater Boats on the Grand Union near Watford, eagerly anticipating the great event.
We set off from our mooring near Hunton Bridge on Friday, aiming to finish up close to Bridgewater Basin.
An unusual narrowboat modification, weld a VW Tauran on the back-end!
Not sure if the wheel is used for steering, if so I hope it’s got a sunroof, ‘cause there’s no way to see from the drivers seat!
The two Hunton Bridge Locks were not far away, and we were lucky to have them both in our favour.
The bottom is particularly attractive…
Chocolate-box setting at Hunton Bridge Bottom Lock
This whole stretch of canal is pleasant, with the canal and the River Gade sometimes sharing a course, sometimes alongside each other.
Pinned to a balance beam at Lady Capel’s Lock
I think we know this boat, it has a large picture of the fabulous Marilyn Monroe (aka Norma Jeane Mortenson) on the side.
Not sure of the origin of the name Lady Capel, given to lock, wharf and bridge along here. It could be a corruption of Lady Chapel, a place of worship dedicated to Our Lady, the Virgin Mary. I can’t find any any reference to a church or chapel on the canal here, but it’s the most likely suggestion. The modern word chapel has it’s roots in Medieval Latin, Cappella.
No Problem coming through Grove Bridge
The ornamental bridge was ordered to be constructed by the 4th Earl of Essex, as part of the agreement to allow the navigation to cross his estate.
By a happy coincidence, his name was William Anne Holles Capell. (Odd second name, but we are talking aristocracy here!) There’s the Capel connection!
He had two wives, Frances and Harriet, and two female children, Elizabeth and Frances, any of which the bridge, lock and wharf could be named after. He died in 1799, shortly after the canal was constructed.
Cassiobury Park Bottom Lock, Ex BW Banstead going up
Originally built for the GUCC and paired with butty Balham, she was one of Harland and Wolfe’s boats from Woolwich, launched in 1936.
Us in the same lock
The canal is very shallow between the two Cassiobury Park Locks and Iron Bridge Lock. I got us well “stemmed up” while giving a couple of work boats the main channel. A bit of to-ing and fro-ing got us off again.
Just before we ran aground…
Sue and Vic leave Iron Bridge Lock, the last for the day
We pulled in just above Cassio Bridge Lock, intending to hang around here until the arrival of Tubby. But once again it’s shallow, made worse by inconsiderate boaters who can’t be bothered to shut lock gates or drop paddles. All day Saturday we alternated between level and leaning, and on Sunday morning we woke with a considerable list to the left.
The pull-cord for the bathroom light acts as a plumb-bob!
With a bit of judicious shuffling we could get both boats on the next pound down, opposite the basin, so we dropped down Cassio Bridge Lock…
(Whoops, still compensating for that lean!)
…and headed for a mooring still breasted up.
I explained to Sue that it would be a good idea, as she’s got to get used to steering a wide beam!
We’ve plenty of water beneath us here, but above us is the line from Watford Railway Station, and a favourite roost for the local pigeon population! Still, at least we’re level!
Sue has toddled off to Collingwood Boats again today, she’ll have some news to impart here, later, I expect.
Locks 7, miles 3