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Sleep well at Winkwell

Hurray! It’s another bank holiday weekend and as usual, the weather’s going to be unsettled. We awoke to an early morning downpour at around seven o’clock but by the time we had had the statutory cup of tea followed by coffee, the sun was out and it all looked good. We untied and left Hunton Bridge before making the short trip to Kings Langley, where, as we ascended the village lock, we got talking to the crew of a widebeam who had just arrived and waited to take our place in the lock chamber. The boat, and the one behind which arrived a few minutes later, were community boats and today they were carrying members of an addiction group called The Living Room. We crossed over and then moored up above the lock before walking up to the village.

Kings Langley was once home to the Ovaltine factory which from the railway still looks as it did all of those decades ago. From the canalside all that is visible is new housing development and just the top of what would once have been the top of the factory. The big question being, are the people who live there known as Kings Langleyites or simply Ovaltineys?

As Pearson’s guide promises, the main street through the village is lovely, small shops immaculately kept. We wandered along both sides of the road before carrying out some research at The Rose & Crown where we had a light lunch and a couple of drinks. This wasn’t the only research of the day as earlier, on our walk to the village, we had wandered through the local churchyard, yet another episode of ‘Suzy’s Boneyard Tour of Britain’. The heavens opened while we were eating in the Rose & Crown but by the time we were ready to leave, the sun was shining once again.

After reaching our temporary mooring we set off once again and continued our long climb into the Chilterns. The sky darkened but the rain came to nothing as we passed through Apsley, although we did hear thunder rumbling in the distance. We saw a cricket match in progress as we skirted around Hemel Hempstead and shortly after the heavens opened again for a short sharp burst. It soon stopped and we carried on until we reached Winkwell, where after passing through the swing bridge, we tied on the visitor moorings which are only a short walk from the Three Horseshoes which is yet another research facility. It’s a wonder anything ever got delivered by canal in the past with so many distractions for the boaters of old!