We have been here a few days now – wood stocks are being slowly re-supplied by the builders donating pallets that they get deliveries with – so were OK there for a while. Anna’s happily keeping them sweet with coffee and bacon sarnies – so its always good to be friendly with the temporary neighbours..
The area manager for EA came round to check on us and give us some very welcome news (to their credit – their customer service is very good). They know that the 14 boats all stuck at the east street 24hr mooring cant go anywhere, and will not be asking any to move or charging any boat for being here whilst the boards are red (so that’s a bonus!) – and are making arrangements for us all ( as unlike us, some have been here for 4 weeks now!) as they are not expecting to take the red boards down for at least another week, maybe two depending on the weather..
So they have arranged to open up the shower and toilet room that the lock keeper has access to week-daily from Friday (10am to 4:30pm) – on a “leave it as you find it” agreement, so I expect that it will be left spotless as one slight error on this and were all stuffed! (especially us as the toilet tank has been 2 weeks now without being emptied and will be full very soon!). They have also arranged with the council for a large bin to be delivered road side next to the moorings so that the boats can get rid of their rubbish – and have also arranged with the pub were moored next to that the boaters can use their toilets “out of lock hours” when the lockies facilities are closed as he is off duty. So its looking like a pint and a pee will be on the cards soon!
So all credit to the Environment Agency – nice one guys, very much appreciated (another reason why I’m glad we have a Gold Licence on EMMELINE, CRT and EA canal/river usage all paid for in the annual licence! – as some of the boats here have temporary EA ones – so they can go from the K&A to the Oxford, or the GU to wherever via the Thames.. which have no doubt run out by now!)
Tonight there is going to be a lot more rain – all the way through tomorrow – so the river levels that are just being maintained by the fully open weir will start to rise.. Time to check the ropes again.. and again.. and again..
But.. below the lock (which I don’t care about at the moment.. not trying to go that way – and yes.. we did come from that way) are rising still.. to the point where the lock landing is totally underwater now (when we arrived, it was a foot over) – now you cant even see it and the water is reaching the life rings that are normally at shoulder “grabbing” height! (so that’s why I have seen the odd one floating down river.. the levels have lifted it off the mounting and set it on its way!)
This lock is supposed to be a 6′ 2″ difference between the upper and lower levels.. today.. its 4ft and with the gates open – its nearly 1/2 full already! – which means the downstream river is at least 2ft higher than it should be.. I hope all those boats we passed, using pins in the bank are OK.. I personally would not want to pin out on a rising river with this flow (i guess that’s why most sturdy trees have a boat tied to it!).. one bit of dodgy earth, the pin comes loose and your adrift at 3AM! (Its bad enough when that happens on a canal due to a boat going past too fast.. on a river I don’t want to even consider it)
Where we are moored, there is about a foot of room currently before the river tops the towpath and floods the houses and roads next to it (which are all below water level!), but I cant see anyone breaking out the sand bags yet.. so I guess we wont get to that bad a situation – but it could be an interesting if still tense few days after tonight and tomorrows rain..