Way Down Now

The Wey continues to be navigable as far as Godalming for us. The river continues under a very low bridge and so perhaps canoes can carry on but not us. It isn’t a silver propeller location but it is the furthest south point of the canal network, and that is an end in itself. Someone told us the supermarket came right to the canal so that is always a boon when you are running out of beer and tinned tomatoes.

I thought we were on a straight run (as straight as a river goes) to the end and was surprised when driving to see diverging waterways. Shane said I was going right at the junction and pointed left. I hadn’t expected a junction and his directions were unclear and I couldn’t read the sign. The sign is big but the writing is small. Shane was pointing to the sign but that wasn’t helping much. The sight of boats moored in the branch is additional false lure. It wasn’t possible for the driver to read the sign from 18 metres away which is the boat length, so you would already be committed to a direction by the time it was legible. The moored boats are not the right way, nor the Wey at all.

Junction sign: which way to go

Another sign I did notice was the water level on approach to a low bridge. This time it did appear early enough to take action. Shane was perched up high and I didn’t think he would fit if we only got just over 2metres clearance. He said he was fine, but he did have to get off the perch and I had to bend over too. I was worried he would be too busy waving to the toddlers to get down in time.

Another attraction of Godalming was that Shane thought we could get electric hook up there. We arrived at the wharf and started to fill up with water while I searched for the electric point. There was no sign of any office or electric plug in. Back at the water point I asked someone who said she had a special arrangement with the national trust to get electricity from a shed (she ran a mobile cafe) “but there’s no hook up here – it’s back in the dark ages” – quite appropriate for a national trust property I suppose. We were happy to settle for an ordinary patch of grassy bank in stead.

A man on the towpath we had seen had mentioned a band playing at the bandstand on Sunday afternoons so we went to the park but had just missed the music and saw them packing up. I don’t have a clue what kind of music it was. We weren’t having much success. We had a quick explore of the park and headed back. I was keen to finish a hat I was knitting for a friend and get it sent while I was near a post office. I was pleased to finish it. Sunday was not the day to post it.

Cotton chemo lace edged hat

The next day we went to the post office, and Shane got directed to a charity shop (Samaritans) that would take electrical goods. He checked they would accept speakers and meanwhile I had found out that they had lots of knitting needles. Not all of them had sizes in and when knitting the hat I had found gaps in my size range and knitting needle shops are hard to come by. He returned to the boat and came back with the speakers to donate and my knitting needle guage so I could find the sizes I wanted. The lady in the shop was pleased to have a happy customer. We were very happy customers at the bakery shop and little shop selling a delicious array of treats including ice cream. Success all round. We ate lunch in the park and watched boxers sparring in the band stand. Not the performance we expected. We mused around the theme that boxers normally do rounds in a ring which is square. An octagonal space was further confusion.

I had a supermarket sweep but failed to find olives. I had rung Shane from the checkout queue so he could move the boat into position next to the car park. I mentioned to the cashier that I had not found olives and he asked an assistant to fetch me a jar. Thank you Megan! She was back with them just as he was putting through the last item. I can recommend Godalming for a good range of shops and friendly people in them. We had been told there were plenty antique shops which were not what we needed but I liked the antique buildings from “the dark ages”

On the way out we the had jaunty chats with people at a lock and coming down is a lot easier though getting back on the boat involved using the ladder in the deep lock. I hoped the water level hadn’t gone up too far as I was again driving towards the low bridge. This time Shane went to the other end to get a picture while I ducked way down again. The danger sign seems to be the dodgiest bit! And the junction was a non event.

Going under the bridge watch out for the danger sign.