Wednesday, June 27, 2007
You Can't Go In There !
Oh Yes, we CAN! But only just, as there were only one or two inches to spare – this is why we had to strip 'Zindagi' right down as low as possible. This bridge (at Fleet in Hampshire) is allegedly only 5'9" high (minimum), but we got through OK – the lowest bridge we have been under yet, though there were two earlier ones at 5'10". We even took out the tiller pin in case it snagged and snapped.
What about this, then? This is way too low to get under, but it is an electrically-operated lift bridge, so Dave just hopped off with our trusty British Waterways key and operated the controls. Such a quiet country road that we were not expecting to stop any traffic, but there was one car waiting by the time we were through.
But there is a limit! Not far from the lift bridge, we reached the present limit of navigation of the Basingstoke Canal, near the ruins of Odiham (King John's) Castle and marked by a line of floats – and ducks! A few hundred yards along the increasingly overgrown canal is the eastern portal of Greywell Tunnel, which collapsed in the 1930s and now has an important population of bats.
After much searching, Dave found the other end of the tunnel, almost invisible in the undergrowth but protected by a barrier. Although the canal is still visible there, it is many years since any boats went along it and no restoration seems likely.
Somewhere else we may not be able to go is the Thames! We phoned the Lower Thames Office on Wednesday and they told us that the recent heavy rain (which has not affected us too much) means that the yellow boards are out again, with every prospect of moving to 'red boards' very soon. Maybe we shall find ourselves waiting at Shepperton when we leave the Basingstoke and the River Wey next week. A minor setback – nothing compared to the floods elsewhere!