NarrowBoat Ezri – Back Along The Bank 

Yesterday I found myslef back in Todmorden and Hebden Bridge, don’t worry I haven’t taken leave of my senses and dragged Ezri all the way back up there. It was just day trip, with my Uncle Andrew and my dad.

The frist stop on the drive was Todmorden, Having walked to Todmorden from Littleborough lots of times by the canal path it was a bit weird trying to find a parking space, but in the end we did (free in both meanings) just behind the bus station in indoor market. 

From there is was a simple walk to the Guillotine lock and Services were almost a year ago now Ezri and me stopped on the day for her frist over heating, the last time I was here on my own, I walked all the way from Littleborough and back just because I could. But this time I just at the canal side just watching the world go by and waiting for my Uncle and Dad as they explored the antique shops.

When I was writing my Littleborough Chronicles I talked about the two Fiberglass boats which join me in the quay, one with a fully working outboard motor and other not so much, well when they left the quay one of them went north and the other back down towards Rochdale.

Being only the second group of ‘boat people’ I spent more that a few days with I hopped I would find out what had happend to them, and on the frist try after winter as tried to get out of Littleborough I saw one and yesterday tucked neatly away I saw the other.

We headed to Hebden Bridge next, not very far up the road on the way we past Stubbing Wharf now the last time I was here with dad both here and Hebden were still trying to clean up after the flooding.

 As the car when down the road I was able to see the Stubbing Wharf was reopen but not how bad the canal banking was, is only happened when we turned the bend and I saw the locks were I got aoaked to the bone as I brought Ezri down to Littleborough, there was metal railing around a towpath and heavy Earth moving equipment down by the bank, so even if I had wanted to walking the path would been pointless.

Now Hebden looks to be half way back on its feet many of the shops are once again open but   with echos of the floods, a handful of shops are still shut and the even one of the book shops showing a water mark in there window. Finding a parking space was a little more troublesome this time however, Not only are they are small  (That dad would never been able to park his car) but unlike Todmorden they are not free.

Like Todmorden Canal runs through the centre of town so it’s quite easy to find, In fact most of the paths lead you there. I walked over to the lock gate and just stood, looking into the water.

Now I know went though this lock, I had to, to Ezri get were I did, I can tell you about the locks before and after yet I have no memory of this one. Even when I sat down on the rope tie, which one of the things I when was single handed, Still nothing no memory of the act I just know I did it.

Walking the towpath a little bit I did see a new morring sign, you have look carefully becauase not only is set back someone has surrounded by putting pot plants across it, when you do see it, it reads 24 hours, the morrings aren’t rings or the lovely Anchor barrier but in fact are bollards black shiny bollards which didn’t really work but look good I guess.

When I have another look at the signage on the lock it became more evidence that the floods were still causing major disruption.

Now want I found some want of a disappointment was that if Hebden is trying to get back on its feet why only 24 hours Hebden is big place with many places to spend money, there’s even a laundrette. 

Say you are comming from Sowerby there are nine locks all in one shot even before you get Hebden morrings now after doing all that your going to need something to eat be it the middle of the afternoon or later, so you tie up walk to nearest place eat, pay and leave  without much though to rest of the place. You get back to your boat and the next your off again.

But with Stoppages and major Civil engineering works further upstream. The only way you can go is back down to Sowerby 

My Uncle Andrew, my Dad and myslef walked around for good three hours and still didn’t see everything. So it feels little off. 

On the way back we stopped at Grandma Pollard’s chip shop in Wallsden for something to eat​, so it really did feel as if I had never left.

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Narrowboat Ezri – Leaving Littleborough – Part Three

The last part of leaving Littleborough, Tuesday morning me and Dad returned to Ezri and much our relief Ezri was now floating and had this time she’d stayed locked in place.
I ran my checks and Ezri’s engine kicked in first time, but after the last few days, I was in little hurry to move off so when I handed over both my lock keys to my dad I drop the smaller into the canal. (the small handcuff one)
I am did my best to find it but all got for my trouble as two bruised ribs and a very wet jumper.
There was no way I was leaving Ezri there so even without the the key we headed off, we got to the lock and Dad said I should call CRT again, which I did only to get my location wrong. I did my best to call them back but it didn’t help. So after half an hour I called Portland Basin and asked if they had any handcuff keys and thankfully they did.
I knew without a handcuff there was no hope of getting Ezri out of Rochdale, so giving up trying to call CRT  back we locked and walked back to the car an other half a hour and then headed to Portland Basin, around trip of an hour taking directions from my phones sat nav.
The very second I stepped though the door at Portland Basin my phone rang which was CRT and I did my best to explain what the past days had been like.
Dad was able to buy two keys, and we set off once again.
Getting back to Ezri my phone rang again, once again it was CRT I told them of what had happened, and now that I had a handcuff key I should be Ok.
By now it was half past eleven and a job that should have taken a hour was now three hours long.
Switching Ezri’s engine I found out that she didn’t sound to well, she would move but some what slowly but moving was better that standing still.
We did the locks and were off, Me and Ezri headed down the canal and Dad went back to the car.
Ezri did all asked of her and when past under the motorway I gave out a cheer because everything after the Sandbrook was new and it felt such a relief be out of the hell that was/is the center of Rochdale.
But just after Castleton the wheels feel off again you see there were two more locks, Dad had parked the car at the Sandbrook but when he walked away the only path he could find just kept putting back in the car park so he did the only thing he knew which was take the car to were Ezri and were heading to.
I didn’t waited I carried on with the lock only to find it was drum lock which meant to had to turn it one way to open the lock gates and then another way to shut them, which would had been fine but it took he so long to work out I was getting more and more pissed off.
Four days to move this far not a happy bunny, and when I did get back on Ezri and try to move her out I found out I had open both lock gates.
So off I got once again damaging my ribs again, to open the gate which didn’t at first what move I hate drum gates, but in the end we were though and as tied Ezri open so I could shut the lock, Dad came around the bend.
He had walked from the car to meet me, by this time it was three o’clock we both hadn’t eaten and Ezri was starting to run slow, we made though the next two locks and even under the motorway again, but then the last lock.
The water when in but try as we couldn’t get the gates didn’t open, so we waited and waited in the end once again I rang CRT who thankful turned up, and in seconds saw one of the paddle had been left open

So here and now I would like to say a huge thank to evey one of the amazing Canal and River Trust people both on the ground and in the offices that help me and Ezri out that day.

Ezri and I made it to safe harbor and so far so good, her engine will need to be looked at once we get down to Portland Basin and few other things to but all in all things are looking good.

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Narrowboat Ezri – Leaving Littleborough – Part Two

Two weeks pass as Ezri and I sat Wharf above Bent house, and I called the Canal and River and told once again about not have water to carry on, I was asked to send my email again which I did but the only thing that happened was I got was a renewal form for Ezri’s licence which I brought over the phone, and was told as long as I moved Ezri next year I would get a full 12 months.

As I was making my plan to move Ezri I found out about Droylsden Marina, and Portland Basin on the Ashton canal which I mentioning them now as one of them I will come back to in the next post.

The rain came and filled in the missing water, over the past days so I made sure that there was water under Ezri for the journey and made sure that nothing floating in the canal, I would be even bring some water down the hill with me. You see once you leave Littleborough that part of the canal is all one level, until the two locks in the center of Rochdale,  then all down hill after that.

I knew from the last time I couldn’t stop at Little Clegg bridge No 54a or any were a long there as the bank as fallen in so the plan was with the help of my dad, brother and sister in law, (Katie who had never seen Ezri in real life) we could make it the other side of Rochdale, a matter of seven locks and one swing bridge.

Me and Ezri had done half of the trip before but everything after the sand broke would be new.

Saturday the 30 Apr was the perfect day, a little rain was comming but we would be done even before it started, We started off well Ezri in fact I think she was showing off she made the arch out the wharf in one move, and sat in the first lock waiting peacefully.

Two lock in and Ezri was amazing, the best she ever was, when got to the last of the Littleborough, Dad and Joel left, Me, Katie and Ezri to make the trip to the swing bridge, as they would be moving the car to just before there Smithy bridge railway station.

Ezri did all asked of her but is was very slow going as the bank had come down into the water a little and the rain had started up. I coundn’t even tie up and help the bridge So Dad and Joel had to deal with that, after the bridge they walked down next to us just to make sure of any other problems.

And so happy they did because just after this Ezri was beached.

 We had water all the way to Coppy Bridge No.57 until it all vanished and beached Me, Katie and Ezri in the middle of the canal going back didn’t help even trying to shake her didn’t she just sat there stuck, I threw Dad and Joel the ropes but even with help we’re were unable to pull in to the bank, so I rang the Canal and River Trust number then the emergency number I was told that they would refill the water level

So Ezri could be refloated but that would take 24 hours, We were in the middle of the canal so when the water came Ezri would just float off and become a danger not only that Katie cound’nt stay on Ezri as she work the following day  I asked them to send help so we could get the bank and make Ezri safe.

And they did a very helpful man came  but as I waited I was told by walks that someone had once again opened the paddles on the lock gates Moss Upper and Moss Lower No. 49/50 the two locks in the center of Rochdale.

Even with the help of the man from CRT we were able to get Ezri to side of the bank and Katie safely on dry land but Ezri became unstable and uninhabitable, as she was leaning to one side and any kind movement inside would pull her mooring pins out.
I had on other chose but to remove my all personal belongings and leave her, and wait for the water levels to return.

Leaving Ezri was hard I walk away from her before but I always know want I comming back but the area she was in… Calling it a war zone would be bringing it up a few levels.

So Me and Dad arranged to meet up on Sunday 1st May and the wonderful CRT man could help me on my journey but once we got there it very clear more water had been taken because over night once again the paddles had been vandalised letting more water out even the CRT man was shocked by the damage.

In a way I was lucky the only damage was some had pull out Ezri mooring pins and had moved from the side of the bank into middle of the canal stuck once again, but this time very bottom of the canal, still unstable and uninhabitable

We pulled her back to the side and walked away, and hoped that the water would have been resorted and I can leave this section of the Rochdale canal as it has be clear the people around the area don’t want any kind boating done.    

We didn’t leave it there because me and dad came back to Ezri later that evening and made sure her pins were still in place and we even when to check the lock gates. I made sure the paddles were down and the lock were shut, My told me later the ones he checked had been pad locked together.

Happy with what we had seen we went home.

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Narrowboat Ezri – Leaving Littleborough – Part One

Well I writing again and this time its huge post, So it going to be in three parts.

Before I start with moving tale, We have to go back a little and talk about the winter flood and being on winter moorings.

I had winter Mooring permit for Lock 47 which end 29th February but on 27th December the Canal and River Trust place a navigation closure notice for Sowerby Bridge to Summit dew to the wide spread flooding of the whole area and the centre of Littleborough which also stopped me returning to Ezri for three days.

The Canal and River Trust did an amazing job to put the canal back together but each time they did more problems were found, and in fact the restrictions are still in place from boxing day. Added to which they found a huge hole at Summit so had drain it before work could even start. So to save what little water was left they shut the whole section, from the Summit to just before lock 48 when mean shut they came with pad locks and everything.

Now here were things get a little messy, I am a continuous Cruiser which means I have 14 days in any one place, which meant when my winter permit ran out I would have to move and simple task. So I planed to move down into Rochdale and on the 13th March, I tried to move Ezri from Littleborough Higher Lock No. 47 to just after Little Clegg bridge No 54a about a one hour cruiser two locks and a small swing bridge.

I was able to move her thought Littleborough Lower Lock No. 48 without any problem but when I tried to moor up safely, just after the swing bridge I found it impossible to do so because of the low water levels exposing the rocks and the bricks at the side of the bank dew to the flooding.

Knowing the rules I did try and continue my journey onwards in Rochdale and beyond but I was prevented from doing so because the water in the middle canal became to shallow to navigate without damaging my boat.

So with my dads help we had to return to Littleborough. But not to Lock 47 as before but just before lock 48 just outside Littleborough just behind another narrowboat which been there for sometime I had to work the following day but on my return and found the water under Ezri and the other boat was very low in fact we were both leaning sideways.

I walked down the towpath find the whole length from Lock 48 to Rochdale was at this level, and because the water at the Summit Lock has been remove for repair. and a new navigation closure has been add from lock 36 to lock 45. I did the only thing I could and email CRT and tell them of my problem. I got a automated response but nothing more.

So I asked around about the low level of water and was informed by the amazing Rochdale Canal Volunteer Bob Furnell
(who help me work all the locks down from the summit on my first day)  that vandals had been opening the paddles on both lock gates Moss Upper and Moss Lower No 49/50 in the centre of Rochdale, using the same lock key anyone can buy over the internet and despite Mr Furnell best efforts he’s been unable to stop the vandals.

I waited until the water was back at safe level and move Ezri into the Wharf above Bent house lock so if the water is removed again Ezri will not get damaged and out of the way.

Two weeks when by and the water levels kept going down heading into Rochdale and the pad locks remained on the lock gates traping Narrow Boat Hannah between three locks

Then I got a letter from the CRT licensing telling me that I could only have six months because I had not been moving, so I sent the email again but this time to two other people, and again no response. So not wanting Ezri to be taken out of the water or another other kind action I bought a six-month licence.

And made a plan to move Ezri into Castleton, knowing there was no way I could stop just after the swing Bridge as I had tried to before.

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Narrowboat Ezri – The Littleborough Chronicles – The Refit- Colouring The World

I have the whole left hand side of Ezri painted out, from behind her fire place down past the two windows. And with the smaller paint brush I was able to paint around, though and a little over the plate rack which I stuck so I would had to brake it to take it down. So after the paint was dry and because the paint was water base I was able wipe away the extra, but I will go over it again once all the painting is done.
Now we come to the inside of the cupboard even with the lights it was still to dark to use at night, so I gave that a coat of blue and being careful not paint the blackboard.
The painting takes time not because I am slow but because it hard to reach inside the cupboard, as I did this my dad fixed the bathroom cupboard so when I open its not going to fall apart, not only did he do that but I finally got him to take down the wood doors which has made Ezri look bigger, has given me a lot more room and space to put up more lights.

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We come back to the bilge pump once again, it make it work all that needs to happen is we wire it up but the pump would just run and run, so just like the one in the shower a switch is needed only this time a waterproof one, not only that but the pump has to flat on Ezri’s hull to work in the right way, finding some thing to attach the pump to will take a little time and it has to done before the wiring takes place.
Now if I am going to paint Ezri’s cabin I may as well paint out the shower room, as Dad had been working in the room he said that if got another brush and bathroom paint he would paint out the shower room.

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Like I said before painting takes time, I have found that most of the area needs a least two coats, not only that but with two people working in Ezri I have to be careful were I paint as my dad needs to be able to move around without getting full of blue, yet having said that he has painted himself a few times.
To change the subject at the back of my mind is want happens next I know at the end of the month I will have to move but as things are I don’t have the option to retrace Ezri journey back to Hebden so it looks as if forward it only way to go.

Narrowboat Ezri – The Littleborough Chronicles – Luckily Me

Some people say it a pain to work on boxing day, but all I can say it that I thankful for it, because as I worked the Manchester City football match the bad weather closed in on Littlebrough, and the rain poured down so much so the main street flooded.

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As I was working I didn’t know totally was going on, so it was only when I was able to use my phone and see for myself did I see how bad things really were.
Ok the canal is on a higher point of the town, but it has been know to over flow.
Work ended around six o’clock so I was in no fit state to head to Ezri, and be sides want could I have done the whole road was shut and the emergency units would be dealing with evacuating people from there water filled homes or building makeshift defensive barriers.
The worst that could happed would be Ezri slipping her morinngs and be flowing free, or stuck on the bank or towpath.
So I sat at my dad’s and watched the news reports and found out that whole of north west was under water starting in Hebden Bridge and all the way down into the center of both Rochdale and Manchester and even here in bury.

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The only thing is all I could was wait, Ezri is a Narrowboat she’s made to float, there people who have lost there homes and businesses even so maybe a lot more.
I waited until Monday, and me and dad made the trip, we made it out of bury and into Rochdale and all the water had been pumped away so we carried on, still unsure want we would find.
And when got there the only thing that gave any hint that something had been wrong was the broken traffic lights, at the bottom of the road.
As for Ezri she remind untouched, she looked a little scruffy but so would you if you had been stood out in the rain for a few days, stepping inside everything was were I had left it even the small wood block in the door, her engine started first time and she still had power.
After checking all this I got to do something cool which was give Ezri her name, unlike most boats Ezri dosen’t have her name on her side, but now thanks to my sister in law Kaite who had Ezri’s name printed up. Ezri has her name on a sign it maybe a little thing but it means a whole lot

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Even the canal around her was clam Ok 90% of the moor land mud is flowing down it but all in I am very luckily, if I had not changed my mind a few weeks ago and had still been running the canal, I would have stuck in the floods both Hebden Bridge and Todmorden.
All I can do it hope that the people of Littleborough are as luckily as I have been.

Narrowboat Ezri – The Littlebrough Chronicles – A lazy day or Just once more around the block

Yesterday was all fixing things and making plans, Me and my dad put the engine cover in place and put one metal trims in place so it won’t split like the last, you may say well that sticks out or that the wrong colour well I don’t care, first if I sat down slow chipped away at the cover it would take hour I don’t own any power tool is not work of art it fits and looks right second colour will Ezri is steel and been out in all weather the cover is new and so is the paint.

So we have today which started after I had made a breakfast listening to a few new podcasts after that I went for a small walk to Hollingsworth lake about 30/40 minutes walk from were Ezri is, I done it before but in the rain and on a Sunday, I didn’t walk all the way around this time, Just took a few photos and walked back into town.

Half way back remembered I was running low on pop (soda for friends in US) but I didn’t have my bag with me, but I when anyway, which turned out a little mistake on my part two bottles, small pot of mustard and a four pack of muffins later I was back at Ezri.

I finished the rewrite on new Alec book but more of that soon, then when for another smaller walk only to the bridge before the turning point, that over into a little path which took under the train, and onto the main road, were I had walked down and back up well I was Walsden.

That I call lazy day as I didn’t really have a plan just stayed in 50 minutes walking distance of Ezri, but I do have to be on my toes soon, because the guy who next to Ezri has moved his boat down to the water point which is right but he then stayed on that side of the bank, which is  private land, so he may back up any day or worse, tell who asked him to move that he can’t because I here, (you can get three boat in this space) which opens another mess.

Yes I know I have here in this spot two weeks and a few days but I not doing anyone/anything harm, and if I was to move there are three places I could be and still be able to get to work in less than three hour (time 1h 45m) if wanted a winter mooring it would cost £9.50 per meter per month and that would just were I came back to by the lock gate at the bottom.

The other place Todmorden is just a bad around £10, on the main canal but here I can get around and be out of the way and be safe fixing Ezri up for the winter,  both of which I have to qualify if even to begin with so sod that

Sorry this turned into a little bit of a rant, but lazy days are like that to much time to think about stuff, the next blog post is going to be about the history of the canals, Ezri and traveled in getting here, a more in depth look at the journey to.

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Narrowboat Ezri – The Littlebrough Chronicles – Raindrops keep Failing or In Llama Land

Ok so yesterday I went for a walk, the idea being I would take photos of all the things I missed on the way here then write about then, starting with smaller places and then a walk back into Rochdale, I wanted to start with Hebden Bridge as I only spent 12 hours there and it would nice have another look around.
So off I went following to path back up the way I have traveled all that time ago, the summit is the easy bit I have walked it many times, it really a big hill heading up to the  Yorkshire and Lancashire boarder again a trip of around 30 minutes (it took me and Ezri two days but that’s because of the lock and I stopped at the top of the summit)
The next place is the village of Walsden as you talk under the small road bridge you will see the past in the very stone its self

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The horse rope used to pull the old working boats something people walk past everyday without seeing, most of old factory have been pulled down or now house so I carried on walking into the town of Todmorden the place were I left Ezri when she had been over heating,
There are six step lock on the way which gave me one hell of headache when I had to travel up then  but just before town and after the locks there a strange little place on the other side of the bank

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It looks like an old loading point I know the staircase is new but the rest of it is old there little doorway so people must have used them of something, I keep thinking must have been driving Ezri with my eyes shut to miss something like that.
Todmorden itself is a little market old town which dose it best to keep everyone happy trying to stay old world but with one foot in the future where else could you see the boardway show avenue Q one night and folk dancing the next.
Now the hard part Hebden Bridge it was a simple job of following the path so knew were to go.
I past Eastwood but Clint wasn’t in so I went back to taking photos

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When reached here which just before a place called Charlestown and the sky when black the rain clouds came rolling over, this lock was the last one one did on the way to Littlebrough when I got so wet I had change my clothes three times in one day, so you can guess I was unsure if I should carry but I did, and want happened next the rain came not just rain but hale

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I  couldn’t help but laugh the same lock the same weather fate is funny that way, only this time I didn’t have anywhere to change so I turned around and started the walk back, the rain did stop in fact it stopped that much that the sun came out and dried me a bit,
On the way back though Walsden I did see a funny thing a first I though it was a hay bale but it was to close to the water then it move and it was only 200 yards away from it I could tell it was a Llama just one standing a little field all on its own

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The rain but a end to my walk but it didn’t put an end to me seeing the strange and unsual.
 

Narrowboat Ezri – The Littlebrough Chronicles – All The Trimmings

Monday is my first real day back at Ezri, and she has company two fiberglass 20 feet boats one with working engine the other without.
I don’t know how long they have been here, but both guys are very friendly so that’s something, they have both come from Manchester one boat pulling the other. There is talk of one them moving in the next few days but who knows if they do.
Well back to the point of this post, I am setting everything up for winter all the little jobs that need doing, I making sure that they get done, I don’t want the snow and the cold weather beating though Ezri’s door,
The job I can do on my own is paint the sliver trim around the windows, may of the boats I have seen have brass, What I have is a tin of gold paint which work very well I have done one side and Ezri’s tiller now she looks a little better.
But the other main job is her engine bay cover, simply put its a sheet of wood which covers the engine crawl space, the one that sit there now is no better than fire wood, split, cracked and feels as if it will give way any second.
Talking this problem over with my uncle Andrew he asked for the size and the type of wood and in less that 24 hours I have a sheet which fits the space, I have paint so it will match Ezri but want I also have are metal strips which will run the length of the wood so its not split, I am going to paint the trim so it will all marry up and make Ezri look fancy.
And if the sunshine holds the next and last job will be painting Ezri’s name on her but that will require a very steady hand, marine paint and letter stencils

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Narrowboat Ezri – The Littleborough chronicles – In Quay

I did say I would post a new video showing Ezri moving from the bank side to the quay but I only remembered half way though the lock and then worked out I forgot the right camera phone, so my apologies for that,
So I try and talk about the move in detail,
After fixing up the draught excluders dad and me begin to untie Ezri, I took the center rope off first as I would need to use it for the lock tie, then the back which made Ezri’s tail move up (the bit were I stand if want to be technical) so I ran a long her side and Dad got in front pulling up the rope as he came.
I had Ezri running but let her drift a little then slowly moved her forward, it was an odd feeling just a light touch and we were racing.
Ezri hadn’t moved for about five weeks but there was no  problems or trouble she knew even before be I asked.
Taking on water was so simple to I didn’t even have to use my own pipe ten minutes and we were fill, a few seconds push of power and we were mooring up at the bottom of the lock, two wraps and Ezri was tied
Dad waited with her as worked the lock water out gate open, all muscle memory no rush no fuss.
I untied Ezri and dad walked to lock he did say just tell him want to do and he would do, but I was relaying on my memory and Ezri on to show me to way so it was little hard explain want I wanted, he do shut the lock gate behid Ezri so that was a help

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Rope in hand I climbed the ladder tied Ezri up and worked the paddles, the left one as you come up has no latch so you have hold it in place, but only opening one gate makes things a little harder so I walked around and opened the other paddle as always Ezri bounced about a little, dad did think she was going catch on the side as I walked around I showed him as just push her back and it was here at this I remembered the video I was meant to do.
I took a photo of Ezri when she reached the top then waited, Dad opened the gate and Ezri sailed though just tapping the right gate just to make sure I was paying attention,
The next part was a little bit more difficult putting Ezri tail in to the old quay, Dad pushed her tail out so really all I had to was swing but the flow of water made want to go backwards into the lock, pushing hard I made her move right but she did touch the round end of the lock but one more push and she was moving backwards into the quay Dad pulled her close and we tied up.
The metal mushrooms are just that little to far a part to use Ezri is only 35foot there is even room for another boat next Ezri, so I using my pins still and so far I feel a lot safer and ready for the bad weather. 

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