Between a Lock and a Pig Place

I’m back on Barti, and as seems to be a pattern from past visits, bad weather followed me. After the last few days being lovely and sunny, we were met with drizzly morning rain as we set off to do some morning shopping at a now-open supermarket. After picking up the essentials (including bread, eggs, and two kinds of chocolate biscuits) we cast off and headed along the canal. Our plan is to make a short round trip, trundling down the canal before turning back to Banbury so I can catch a train to my home and workplace (Scotland will always be my true home, though).

Soon after setting off we had some locking to do. There was an interesting contrast of locks, some very old lock gates had their wood rotted to the point that you could look right through the handle. Others were clearly new, still bearing notes for the workmen noting which side was the front.

End of a lock gate which has rotted through
Old lock gate in need of replacement

Back on board, I took the tiller for a bit. The weather took that as a challenge and the wind picked up, trying to push me into the side of the canal even as I steered through narrowing parts of the canal that used to be bridges. After some frustration, I put Bartimaeus back under Shane’s more experienced guidance and just enjoyed the ride.

After a lunch stop, we continued onward towards the Pig Place – a canalside farm shop. Sadly, no shopping to be done since it was closed, but we did see pigs. We cruised onward, and had another animal encounter with some cute wee lambs grazing by the side of a lock. This lock was an unusual one, going down only about 30 centimetres rather than the usual many-meter-deep locks we’d been encountering the rest of the day.

Lambs grazing next to a lock
Lambs by the lock

The lock also had an indicator to warn us if it was safe to proceed in the direction we had come from. It was in amber, and we didn’t want to be stuck on this side, so we made it our goal to turn around as soon as we could. Shortly after that, we found a winding hole cunningly disguised as a marina. At first it looked to just be a space for a boat to park, but a sign clarified that it was for turning. So we turned there and headed back the way we came. We passed the pig place a second time before mooring for the night.

While dinner was cooking Shane and I put our heads together on improving a little project of mine – a python program to let you split a bill equitably rather than equally (that is, proportionally to the wealth of everyone present). I’d coded it a while ago, but Shane had pointed out ways it could be fairer. After some changing up of the code, headache inducing efforts to work out if it was better now, and more coding, I finally managed to make it fairer by a fraction of a penny. The only question remaining was, was it worth it? And if it was worth it, to whom?

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