Having failed to fill up our water tank yesterday, we tried to work out our options for today. We needed to be within easy reach of a train station as Bryn was joining us. His train out of Birmingham was after sunset, so that reduced the number of reasonable options considerably. We were also running out of bread, milk and a few other essentials, so a shopping trip was required.
In the end we concluded that taking the boat back to the middle of Droitwich Spa was the best option.
It was a surprisingly difficult manoeuvre reversing back a few boat lengths under one bridge before turning back on ourselves under the other. We set off in bright sunshine, but there was a touch of frost on the sides of the first locks.
There is a surprising amount and mixture of canal hardware in this mile or so – eight locks, three swing bridges and a tunnel. At the first lock flight, Clare had difficulty getting the windlass off the spigot when she’d wound the paddles up. I was very concerned seeing her letting go and looking closely at what was happening. In the end the side pound had equalised before she’d taken it off, so she simply wound it down again and could then pull on the windlass without any fear of anything moving unexpectedly.
I was getting chilly, so I worked the next set of locks. Clare was cold by the time we reached the river so we swapped over again. That meant she had the pleasure of trying to move the three swing bridges in Vines Park. This time she had a working key for the padlocks, but the heavy bridges leaning against the hasp took some effort to shift.
We got back to Netherwich Basin and moored up to get some water. We had some lunch while we were waiting for the water to fill and then emptied the recycling. Afterwards we moved back through two of the swing bridges to our preferred mooring in the park.
I was pleased to see the cygnets still coming to see if we had anything for them.
We went to meet Bryn at the station later. He’s joining us on the boat for a while. He hadn’t seen Bartimaeus yet, and we hadn’t seen him since we came on board. It’s great to see him, and he’ll be very useful on the lock flights ahead.