The forecast for the day was showery, so it was a little disappointing during breakfast to see that the sky was gray and there was continuous light rain. We enjoyed watching the black fluffy balls of moorhen chicks chasing their parents on the other side of the canal. The rain had just stopped when an increased flow of water in the canal alerted us to the boat we’d seen yesterday coming up through the lock behind us. We decided to set off behind them and pair up in the locks.
I let Clare off at the lock, and followed the other boat in when the time came. The driver was slow, cautious and extremely competent. I kept my distance at the first lock, but with subsequent ones I was able to come in close behind knowing she would be safely out of the way as I came alongside.
We settled in to a pattern of the other boat leaving and arriving at each lock first, Clare hopping off to share the work of locking as soon as we arrived behind them. At one lock Clare realised she didn’t have her windlass. She had left it at the previous lock and suggested we could get it on the way back. I was having none of that – I tied the boat up and ran back (half a mile) to fetch it. By the time I had returned, Clare had offered to let the other boat go on without us, but been told to bring the boat in herself. I was back in time to help with the locking, wielding the retrieved windlass.
Our locking partner had often shown minor impatience, but he took the recovery of the windlass in good part. He commented to me that it was a particularly expensive one – he even quoted the price. When Clare mentioned it was her birthday present he told her it was “a bit cheap” – priceless!
It was quite late for lunch when our partners declared they were stopping, and we decided to stop for our lunch too. Before we found a spot to moor, we saw signs to the Bennerley Viaduct so after lunch we went to look at it. We found signs to a viewing point which turned out to be the bridge over the perpendicular railway line.
The view from the viaduct was over the flat bottomed Erewash Valley. On one side was a rural landscape, the other was a post industrial hotch-potch of scrub and concrete.
There were poppies growing in the banks that made the access ramp to the viaduct, and large amounts of sweet-smelling multi-coloured clover.
On the way back we came across a family of geese. Both parents decided that we were too close to their goslings and gave us a serious hissing.
There were various tidy-ups needed on board, including cutting my hair. I left the clippers on board in February – I had thought I’d get a chance to use them before now. Clare even had a go at trimming the bit of beard that has been moved behind my right ear. A family of swans came to see if we had anything for them. It turns out they like sweet potato peelings if we rip them up small enough.