Just as we were about to get out of bed this morning, we heard a boat go past.  So now we knew the rest of the Audlem Locks would all be set against us – drat!  We had breakfast and got ready.  I walked ahead, turned the lock and came back to cast off.  As I was doing so I could hear the tinkle of the paddles on the lock behind, just around the corner, being worked.  If we’d waited any longer we’d have been behind another boat too.

I enjoyed working this flight as quickly as I could.  As soon as I’d set one lock emptying, I’d run to the next and set it filling, then run back again to let the boat out, close up behind and run on again to open the next lock.  I was also crossing the tail gates with one open repeatedly.  It wasn’t long before the hat, gloves, coat and fleece came off – T-shirt for me in December!

Crossing the Tail Gates is Much Quicker than Walking Around the Lock

At one of the locks, a passer-by commented that it looked like hard work.  I said I was enjoying the work-out.  “Cheaper than the gym” she replied, but I don’t think she’d factored in the price of a boat.

We reached Audlem by 11am.  In the lock in the village, Clare got out and went shopping.  I took the boat out of the lock and on to the water point.  I had just put the hose away when Clare came back laden.  This is the sort of efficiency that usually requires more crew!

We set off again to finish the last two locks as the sun came out, surprisingly warm for December.

Bartimaeus in Sunshine
Clare and Bartimaeus Leaving Audlem in December Sunshine

At the side of these locks there are a number of small brick buildings, all with chimneys.  Presumably these were for lock-keepers in days gone by.  The last one seems to be an allotment shed now.

We drove on to the Hack Green Locks and worked through those too.  After lunch, we set off  on a short walk to view another building.  It is in the grounds of Hack Farm, itself an interesting building.

Hack Farm
Hack Farm House

Our destination was the Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker.  The bunker is worth a visit, but we were both saddened by the effort that goes in to such lunacy.  Building a command system in the hope that ‘government’ would survive a nuclear war is as incomprehensible to me as planning to use weapons of mass destruction.