The Grove (and a most unusual boat)

Again the weather was disappointing today but, looking on the bright side, it didn't rain and it was a bank holiday Monday! We got to the first lock today to discover the blue boat from yesterday leaving their mooring below the lock with another crew. The often tricky swing bridge by the Three Horseshoes Inn was easy today because last night a water leak had closed the road. In some respects I was a little disappointed not to cause minor traffic delays by operating the bridge - it is usually a "rat run".

We also met Mike Askin with his Royalty Class working boat Victoria. Mike was going north to Etruria; a long journey single handed. We passed Mike a few years ago just along this stretch but that time we were each going the other direction. I just had to compliment Mike on his You Tube channel which is full of great canal-related videos.

NB Victoria near Winkwell

We followed other boats going south and met other boats going north all day. It was quite busy. This included NB Morpheus which our friends Bob and Helen Westlake have a part share in - it's a small world. 

Eventually we joined up with the blue boat again for the locks near Apsley where they stopped. It turns out the boat is called Otter and it will be moored in Apsley Marina for a year. We stopped near Nash Mills for lunch and then continued south passing under the M25. At this point you feel that London is approaching.

Passing under the M25 near Kings Langley

Near Hunton Bridge Locks we passed what must rate as perhaps the most unusual boat modification. A VW Touran welded to the stern of a boat. Maggie fantasized that perhaps the boat is steered from the car driving seat, but maybe she's right I suppose it makes a change from the stern canopies that in recent years have become common on narrow-boats. Could the crew perhaps use the windscreen wipers and indicators?

VW Touran - narrow-boat version

Through the last three locks of the day we followed a broken-down boat being breasted-up backwards. They made slow going. We might meet them again tomorrow because we didn't pass them.

Breasted-up pair entering lock

We moored up for the night near The Grove luxury golf and country club. It appears that this year the British Masters tournament is being played here. In the past The Grove has often hosted the England Football Team ahead of important tournaments.