Having anticipated locks, we decided discretion was the greater part of valour yesterday and moored up after only 3 locks and saved the bulk of the locks for today. While it was a longish flight they were close together. I opted to work them, as I didn’t fancy controlling the boat in the wind and started out in a raincoat and rapidly over heated and dispensed with it and the scarf. Besides to cross over and work both sides, I had to cross the gates, which often had a gate paddle in the middle, with a large oily cog protruding. The walking ledge is not very wide so avoiding getting any trailing or flapping items in them needs care.
Other than the gate crossing, the locks are fairly easy to work. There was quite s bit of variety as we went up. At one lock, I had a chat with a another woman about the glamorous pumpkin in her boat ( a painted face, more femme fatale than jagged toothed grimace) and foraging for fungi, then at others a wagtail, or butterfly would be my company. At one, a stick jammed in the gate, preventing me free from closing it; at another a canal and river trust worker, finishing his break, helped with me the gates. At some sunshine, at another rain, at another both, plus a rainbow.
At one, a dog appeared through a stile and started to run across the gate shelf of double gates, while I was already opening it, then got frightened by the gap, but it was a narrow space for turning safely – it was probably used to crossing them when no one was there and the gate is a reliable bridge for a wee westie then. I didn’t know if I should shut it to let it run over but worried I might trap a paw as it stepped. I slowly finished opening it, with the terrier balancing nervously on the moving gate and then it ran back off again, when it was close to land, rather than 6 foot above water, then ran back into the field and to safety. A couple came along as we were leaving the lock, with westie now safely on a lead.
At the top the weather deteriorated but what a delightful surprise, at the top lock- just in time for lunch! I found there was a stall with an honesty cash box and some paypal instructions and an array of tray bakes; pies and pasties in a fridge, and bags with scones ( with a tub of cream and jam). There was also a freezer with ice cream – not today thanks.
After getting into dry clothes, I had my pork pie with a salad and Shane had his Cornish pasty, just as it was. Very tasty!
We had the scones and cream for pudding as we thought the other baking would keep longer.
But we weren’t the only hungry ones. Before leaving the lock, a pair of swans had appeared and were in the way as Shane was driving out, they moved aside but stayed around while we moored and appeared to follow us from end to end, of the boat wherever they saw us. Eventually, Shane brought some lettuce, the discarded limp outer leaves from my salad preparation, to the hatch.
As the weather was still unreliable, we moved a little way but decided not to attempt the next flight of locks today.
Shane set about investigating a snib for the back door, that is awkward to move. He correctly deduced that it had an extra mechanism inside it that seemed to be jamming, Unfortunately, as he was probing, a tiny spring and ball bearing ejected themselves suddenly and vanished in different directions in the kitchen. He found the ball bearing on the worktop and concluded it was rusty and useless. Despite us both searching under the white goods, all over the floor, lifting mats, and in his nearby open toolbox, the spring is still lost. Luckily it turned out the bolt moves much more smoothly without them – the snib action is much improved.
We had a walk into the nearby village and found a book “recycling stall”. Shane had a search, but didn’t find anything he wanted, but liked the idea anyway. I was delighted to find a knitting patterns book entitled ” Rugged Knits 24 practical projects for everyday living”.
As we walked back to the boat, the sun was setting and reflecting off the water and entrancing murmerations swirling above us.