Fields Of Gold

It was forecast to be hot for a couple of days and the sheep ( and more distant black cows), knew it. As I had seen boats come the other way I thought the locks would be set our way, so not too exhausting so I opted to work them.


Sheep in the shade

It soon became apparent that leaky locks meant they although most looked ready for us, they didn’t open and still needed the paddles wound. But it didn’t take long, thought it was still pretty hot work. Shane was watching me at one and offering to do the other side as he thought I was being unusually cautious on the gate while crossing it. When on the gate, I had realised my sun cream and sweat mix made the windlass handle slippy and I was thinking harder than usual about not dropping it, as well as not getting oil on my clothes and not falling in. From then on I used a different grip on the windlass and felt more secure.

As I approached one lock I saw a bird scuttling in a field of barley. I tried to follow it to get a better look, but no joy. I then had an earworm of the Sting song, thought there is an exceptionally good version by Eva Cassidy.


Small track in the barley where the bird disappeared

We were done before lunchtime and Shane went to the shop for bread. We planned to try getting to a marina for a pump out and diesel. It was tucked away and Shane, thankfully, did the  manoeuvre into a very narrow space. At first I had thought it was below a hanging boat which I didn’t fancy but I was wrong it was just beside us, and on trestles.

Shane helping with the pump out procedure.

Shane reversed out and I asked him to go far enough back to get a good look at the group of cygnets on an island in the marina. We thought the cob was going to chase us away but in fact they all came in to the water and followed us out of the marina.  The cygnets often like to swim with one leg over their back.

Swan and cygnets “nested” in the marina
Swimming alongside.

We greet and chat to people along the way quite often, especially at locks, but we had no helpers on the locks today and this mermaid was not chatty.

Rope mermaid on a Dutch style barge.

Shane often likes me to be besided him when driving. I was a bit torn as it is very pretty, but also I have been avoiding doing the sewing up on the cardigan I had been knitting. Sewing up is not my favourite part. I thought I would sew in a few ends and brought the needle and unfinished piece out . I had only done a couple when my plan was scuppered by arriving at a tunnel. I felt my way in to the cabin in the dark to put the needle back in its magnetic holder so I wouldn’t lose it. It was nice and cool in the tunnel though and a very straight one where the light at the end was actually visible.


Emerging from the Saddington Tunnel

It was a pretty stretch again today with lots of wild roses and thick rush beds. We saw a tiny bird high of a tree and it was singing so Shane used the app and it identified it as a reed bunting.

 There were plent of fields of cattle and wheat and buttercups too. One field had its fence over the water. By the end of the afternoon I was beginning to feel a bit headachy with the heat and cooled myself with water, but not from the canal. Those sheep had the right idea in the morning.

A watery bit of field – handy on a hot day
Buttercup field

We moored up near to Foxton Locks which are well known. While I was cooking tea, a couple passed saying something smelt good, (that would be the garlic) I said it was mushroom risotto and he asked if it was for 4. We didn’t see them again though. 

We had a walk up tothe locks to see them and it is obviously an attraction of its own with a museum and two pubs. We read some of the history information boards that were dotted about. On our return  walk past the flight I saw a large bird with a flash of yellow down its back. We saw it a few times and got a better look. It was a green woodpecker. It was very striking with bright green, a red head and yellow back and I didn’t expect to see it flitting around the grass rather than up trees but on looking it up they are often seen on lawns – always learning. It was lovely to see it.

We had another striking sight as the sun went down turning green fields gold on our return to the boat. I wasn’t the only one “glowing” in the sun today.