Sunday, 2 November 2014

Cleaning up the Grand Union Canal; and a surprise visit

On a warm Friday last month Jan and I volunteered to help on a Clean-up Day on the GU between Fenny Stratford and Linslade. Never having taken part in anything like this before, I didn't know what to expect. We'd printed out the safety instructions and taken old clothing. I'd taken my steel-capped boots and was prepared to get dirty.

After a car shuffle, which involved another volunteer and I driving our cars to the Globe Inn at Linslade and being returned to Fenny Stratford in a CRT van, we were ready for the off.

Jan and I were asked to stand in the mud at the bottom of a "pan", a work boat which was breasted up to nb Brown Trout, Athina and Jonathan's boat. The first job was to get through Fenny Lock.

Once through the lock we were able to start the clean-up. Our task was to concentrate on the offside, clearing as much rubbish as we could find. Bridge holes were a good place to find countless cans, bottles and bags. Here Athina is about to net something, while Jan, in hard hat, is wielding a litter picker.

Other implements at our disposal included kebs and grappling irons. On this trawl behind the boat I've picked up a plastic bag. Not terribly exciting!

Did I mention the mud in the boat? It was sloppy and unavoidable.

More exciting things I grappled from the bottom of the cut included a supermarket trolley, the orange colour gives away the source of this one; a cylindrical net (for trapping crayfish?) ...

... and a huge umbrella. This was at the bottom of one of the Three Locks.

As well as these "big ticket" items we collected several bags of assorted detritus. Perhaps the strangest find was a tomato plant in its pot - complete with ripe tomatoes. The white goods in the picture above is a cooker retrieved from the towpath before we set off.

We enjoyed the day, and it was a pity we didn't have time to stay on for the meal in the pub afterwards. I had realised that I had forgotten to bring a spare pair of trousers with me, so we called in at Primark in Bletchley for something a bit more presentable.


That was 17th October. This is 2nd November, and a rare thing happened today. Living in Norfolk, as we do, we seldom get visitors as we are not on the way to anywhere. But this afternoon Jan happened to look at Facebook and discovered that the Tidys were very near and wondering if they could call in.

It was lovely to see Andy and Helen, it was just a bit weird that it was not in a boaty context!

1 comment:

Andrew Tidy said...

It was great to see you guys!