We are enjoying having visitors – and visitor visitors, who enjoyed a sunny afternoon. After Heather had walked her parents along the tow path back to their car, she and I went for a walk before dark in the other direction, the clouds darkened and we had rain coats. We were thinking about turning back when there was a flash. Good idea to have the coats but Heather did not want to take her phone torch out as it got darker, walking into the heavy rain, never mind intermittent lightning illuminated the path.
Such a contrast from earlier in the day when the sun illuminated halos around the chaps.
Today it was warm and sunny again and we had a race on to reach the next set of timed entry locks before lunchtime or we wouldn’t get through. Heather looked out for evidence of medieval villages in the fields. The autumn berries were beautiful. Between stints as driver, Shane made bread and we made it in time for the locks and the bread was ready in time for lunch. Heather carved up an apple from her parents’ garden for afters.
Only two locks were affected by the time restrictions and so we had hot rolls once through those, then headed off to the rest of the Napton flight. We were surprised to find a sign saying we might have to wait for 30 minutes and that the towpath was closed. Benny backed up Bartimaeus. The workers did not hold us up for that long after all, waving us through the dredging works.
There were two barges and two diggers involved with a mix of land and water machinery. A land digger used its scoop to hold a boat to the side as we went passed. Once through the locking crew could leap off and crack on with the rest of the flight. We saw the dredged sludge being sprayed out on land and later we saw some creatures that enjoyed a bit sludgy mud.
With Shane working the locks ahead getting them ready and Heather and I working each side we got through quickly without exhausting ourselves and had a leisurely stroll between. At the foot we stopped for water and met a fine set of ducks and a sole cygnet who was fending well for itself with bold foraging.
This was not a picky cygnet having lettuce, pepper, beans, apple and banana and when Heather brought out the last of her mother’s apple cake for us it popped its head back up and looked keen. We polished off the cake and let it have the last crumbs.
Once we had moored we had a quick walk up the hill to the Windmill where we saw a bird on the sail. In the fading light it was hard to see but the bird app recognised the cries of the woodpecker followed by the tapping, like it was cracking into the windmill. Heather managed to zoom in. She had hoped in the morning to see a green woodpecker, but we had not expected a great spotted woodpecker.
We finished off with different downhill route from the Mill and then mucked in to help Heather make her lovely curry.