Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Sunday Stroll: a shady lane and barge boats

While Robin was feverishly working to finish the final pages of her book, I walked down to the Malt Shovel pub to check out the canal that runs next to it. A day or so ago, I was looking at the neighborhood on Google Maps and noticed barge boats on the canal. So I went to check it out.

I passed a shady lane that looked surprsingly rural. It turned out to be a beautiful, narrow road to guest cottages, big estates, new luxury homes, streams with ducks, and fields with horses.

A lovely Sunday morning, don't you think, Mr. Ed?

Returning from the shady lane, I doubled back towards the Malt Shovel, peered over the bridge wall and saw them - "Houston, we have barges!"

A barge approaches a canal lock. Out of view and to the right is the Malt Shovel and a Tea House. We'll check out the Tea House later for dinner.

When you approach the lock, your girl friend hops out, onto the bank, uses a crank to unlock the gate, and then pulls or pushes on the gate just enough to let water pour into the lower lock. It's heavy.

Ever wonder what the guy in the boat is doing while his sweetheart is cranking and pulling and pushing? Shoulda' known.

A successful negotiation of the lock. Not unlike the Panama Canal.

The bargers head up the canal full-speed, 4 mph. You're encouraged to keep it closer to 2 or 3 mph, but these kids are obviously wild and crazy thrill-seekers.

You can rent barges by the week, minimum of three days, I think. Available to sleep four or six people. Dogs allowed. It's on the list. Need volunteers to share boat.