Time Warp

The locks are not grouped at all in the Wey, but one every few miles. At the time of our Wisley garden visit we were moored right beside a lock. Shane took his chance to work a lock by casting off the front and walking away leaving me to get the boat switched on and ready to go. There were a few moored boats and fishermen so I approached expecting it all to be open for me on arrival. In fact a boat was in the lock and going out the other end. Shane was not as far ahead in getting it ready than I expected and I was riding the outflow for quite a while beside the fishermen. Shane did get some help from another man opening gates at each end.

At the next lock I hopped out thinking this should be easier than holding the rope in the turbulent water. There were some men at the lock and they warned me they had just finished painting and one was indeed pressing the lid on a tin as we spoke. I asked what parts were wet, and was told the white and the yellow. I was wearing black trousers and the parts of the gates with most leverage are the white ends. The yellow is the post right at the back we had been advised to rope up to in a lock. The men said I could use that post as long as I didn’t mind paint all over the rope and they would have to come back and paint it again. The chains that I usually ignore at the end of the gate arm were now essential. One of the men was good enough to do the other side for me. I find it harder pulling on the chains as you can’t lean on it. Not such good timing to offer to do the lock after all. The water was extra turbulent for Shane mind you as he was further forward in the lock and I thought may be I had the better job even with the paint.

When I got back on I noticed some items fallen over inside the boat, and later the bins drawer wasn’t opening and closing smoothly. Shane said this was due to the boat tipping while he was waiting outside the lock with the boat roped to the bank, and not when he was in it. He has taken the whole drawer apart in the hope of finding which part got warped but no joy. He has managed to get it all together again and it does still work thankfully.

We got moored after the fourth lock of the day. In the morning I had a short walk and saw we were next to a nature reserve. I liked this bench and commended the artist for using his artistic licence to create a jam packed array of large close up wildlife while preserving modern reality in the rural idyll with the inclusion of a pylon.

We aimed for a short trip into Guildford that day. We arrived in Guildford and there were town centre moorings but Shane felt the shade from nearby buildings would be an issue. There was a lock in the middle of the town with a lot of foot traffic and some German gongoozlers. Looking for a mooring meant keeping going to The Meadows, which also were full of trees but at last we got an open spot.

We went to explore the town and headed for the castle which had attractive grounds on the way up and lots of Italians in the way down. Reading the extensive history boards was a good way to cool down.

Castle Gardens
Entrance and gardens at Guildford castle

At the top of the tower there was a cage and Shane had a throwback to the 1980s by revisiting the experience of being behind the Iron Curtain.

Shane behind the iron chain curtain at the top of the castle.

We went in search of ice cream and a bike lock (for the folding bike).and were successful in both endeavours. The lock was very small and actually said on it that it would not prevent anyone stealing your bike (many don’t) but he expects it will be a deterrent to joy riders.

In the meantime we also saw buildings we had read about at the castle and outside the oldest building, the guild hall there was a modern musician playing an electric 5 string violin and accepting cashless payments with a tap of a credit card as well as coins.

We found the building set up as a home for the elderly by the archbishop George Abbot still used for its original purpose today. Donations could be put in a metal box, dated from the 1600s or by scanning a qr code. A timelord may retire here, (Guildford or Gallifrey), but when? Just along the road a statue of George Abbot preaching had Jehovah’s Witnesses behind it.

Home for the Elderly from 1600s t the present day

On the way back to the boat I was cast back half a century by the sight of a lone woman with a large rucksack hitch hiking. I haven’t seen anyone thumbing a lift for decades. I used to like it when my dad picked up hitchhikers. She looked like she was reliving her youth with a smile and a jaunty thumb and no notice to anywhere in particular, just looking forward to having an adventure.

We had another trip back in time at the steam fair. We saw working steam boats; a 1960s model of the railway and wharf; an original cargo barge that was built at Dapdune wharf and worked on the Wey from early 1900s to the 1960s. We could go inside and explore the small living quarters and large hold. There were model remote control steam boats, but with actual working steam engines in them. The power was gas and steam and the remote control was for the rudder. The book shop and tearoom were handy in the thunder shower too.

Today we met three of the steam boats (full sized) coming the other way at a bridge obscured by bushes. They peeped their steam whistles as a warning. Shane reversed hard. It would never do to bump into these amazing little boats.