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3rd March 2011

Up early (well-ish) in the morning and off to Caggy's. Get my back end a bit too close to the silted up exit of the port on my way out, and I'm sure something's around the prop as my wake's a mess and the handling becomes a bit sluggish to say the least. Still, I'm not going down the weed hatch in these temperatures, so I limp on. Blasts of reverse, like the goggles , do naa-thing. When I get to the mainline, I swing out wide and take the left gauge lock, as rumour has it the right is silted up and full of nast and I'm struggling enough as it is. There's a boat coming up behind and I wonder if they're thinking, "look at that idiot going through the wrong side!". But my insecurities are assuaged when they alter course and do the same thing. However, they're steadily gaining on my a I swirl up the silt with my carrier bag collection, so I pull over and let them past on the straight heading up to the engine arm. Some BW boys are doing a bit of fishing under a bridge and they seem to have caught a fine collection of shopping trolleys. Well done, chaps! That's the last boat I see for the morning and I trundle the rest of the way in solitude as my erstwhile pursuers dwindle into the distance. Coming out of Telford's cut and joing the old level, I'm now exposed to the crosswinds and instantly regret my inadequate attire. Fortunately, there's another gauge lock which allows me to dash below and retrieve a cagoul. A bit warmer, but not much. I finally arrive at Caggy's around 12:30pm, but they're just extracting the previous incumbent from the dry dock so I park outside and watch the proceeding, glad to be out the wind. When the dock is clear they ask me to reverse her in (Yikes!), which is a bit daunting given the narrowness of the entry, and the number of boats, their boats, in the dock. Happily the Cat is behaving himself today and goes exactly where I want him. Phew! Once he's in the dock, I get the bike out, and give Ralph some fleeting instructions on what needs doing. I then nip below to get my bag (sandwiches & c.), and when I re-emerge the boatyard is deserted. Like an episode of the Clangers, everyone has precipitately disappeared beneath their bin-lids, and I am lefft to say goodbyes to thin air. < /br> Notably, the journey back to Hockley by bike takes half an hour, one-sixth of the journey time there. I need to fit pedals to the boat.

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