Dedicated Follower of Fashion

Shane and I are not fashionistas, far from it. It did cross my mind that I had received more compliments than usual, that perhaps wearing a deep neckline in a deep lock might have been provocative. Still it was very sunny so strappy tops were just the thing. 

We do like to follow the birds and often they follow us, swans especially, or pop across whenever they get the chance. A swan and 4cygnets came to the open side hatch the other day and I cut up the heel of wholemeal loaf and Shane fed them carefully, watching his fingers. Mainly the cygnets were crowding and feeding and they were less inclined to stick their necks so far in to the hatch. It was still wise to take care. As we came to the end of the chunks, I tipped the crumbs off the chopping board and they landed on the adult. Whether for the nibbling or to achieve clean feathers, it ate them up, showing off it’s flexible neck to reach them. A cygnet ate some of the crumbs off the parent too.

We had a couple of unstaffed locks to go through and at each of them I got help from the friend of another boater. We had been warned the second lock was very difficult but we managed fine. It was deep and turbulent though so the drivers were being vigilant in their rope holding. The little boat was otherwise vulnerable in with us. He did not treat us warily however, they were both as helpful and grateful for any help from us, as could be. I tried to get a picture while it filled and to catch the Romany flag fluttering.

The next day we headed through Sawley lock. I was prepared to get off but the lock was staffed. There were two women lock keeping. One was ready with a pole for me to hook my rope over so she could put it round the bollard for me and then handed it back, while the other spoke to Shane and set the lock working with the push button controls. She came over to speak to me. We had a quick chat about our direction of travel and where we had set off from. Then she surprised me by asking me what I thought of my sandals as she was thinking of getting a similar pair. They are the new ones I bought in Northampton and I had to confess that they were probably a cheap imitation of the ones she was considering, but we nonetheless discussed the practical features we both liked of the toe-covered, adjustable sandal, for an active life.

We arrived at the marina for the diesel polishing. We had just roped up and I saw a cat basking in the sun, which then made its way along the wall and stepped aboard. Shane leapt over and stepped on the bow to move it off, but in stead of being scared off, it slipped into the bedroom and walked through. Shane isn’t really a catwalk person, but he was a close follower of this one! He clapped and ‘cat called’ all the way through till the cat had gone right out the other end! It didn’t seem bothered.

The polishing wasn’t taking place until the next day. We had found the WiFi rather flakey and I went to see if we could use the marina WiFi and if the office would give us a code. When the lady in the office had noted our payment dates in her folder and was dealt with payment, she asked “And are you the knitter?” I said yes and she said how much she liked my top! I had on my recently finished summer top. I told her it was easier to make than it looks and it was a cleverly planned pattern. She knits a little and crochets so we chatted a bit about that too.

In the morning, we watched with interest the setting up of the diesel pumping and cleaning equipment. Vernon was happy to explain and discuss it all. Shane preferred not to be next to the running motor so we went out for a walk and to the heritage centre.

The diesel polishing in action and Shane in matching attire to the red diesel

We were kindly allowed in though it is usually only open at the weekend. I liked the display of wooden soled shoes and leather leg protectors and the horse trappings for a smartly attired boat horse on display as well as boat working people in their working and best clothes.

There was a large stove, on which lay a toy cat that looked very like the one Shane had chased through the boat. A large number of artifacts, pictures and information was crammed into the small space and as well as the ancient artifacts and information about the canals at the time of their major contribution to industry, they had some more recent photos of local life, such as the gala float parade.

The centre volunteer talked about attending steam conventions with their vintage van and the boat events to which they took their working boat to show it off. The boat was going to be 100 years old and there was going to be some additional celebrations and events around that and it was having a spruce up and repaint in readiness. Outside a signwriter was repainting the company name in the original style. The volunteer was happy to do ordinary painting but left the lettering to the professionals. The artist was under an awning, whether to protect her from the heat or the new paint from drying too fast or rain, I don’t know.

Signwriter at work on exhibition work boat, Dove

We went for lunch in the pub garden. It was sunny and windy and the shades were flapping. It reminded me of a holiday in Fuerteventura and the gardens had suitable plants too. I had ordered a Spanish beer and found my glass and Shane’s outfit coordinated with our parasol. Shane had only a half pint as he had some (slow) driving to do afterwards.