Going Back

I’m back on Bartimaeus for a while. I arrived last night to discover that there’s no heating. To keep warm, Shane had bought some small plug-in heaters and we made sure to leave the oven open after using it. Sadly, one of the heaters kept turning itself off, but we stayed warm enough. Did make me wish I’d brought my slippers though.

As an unusual start to the day, a closed lock meant that we had to do the first mile or so in reverse until we found a turning point. Before we could even get to that, Shane slipped and got his feet dunked in the canal, so starting the boat was paused until he changed socks, shoes, and trousers. Despite the slip, we started off the day in good spirits as we reversed up the canal.

Shane reversing up the canal
Back we go!

Once Shane had turned the boat around, we began heading through a flight of locks. Windlass in hand we worked our way up the flight. The weather had turned rainy (bad weather seems to follow me whenever I visit Barti) but I was well prepared for the weather with waterproofs and worked away at the locks, sometimes walking between them and sometimes hopping aboard between locks if they were far apart or the towpath was too muddy, and it was extremely muddy in places.

A very dark-feathered mallard by the side of the canal
Waterfowl near the water point

We eventually stopped to get some lunch in ourselves and water in the boat. Just at the water point were some swans and ducks, including one mallard with unusually dark feathers. Other bird sightings over the course of the day included a cormorant on electric wires, and kites flying around very much like they were tied to a string. Perhaps that’s where the name comes from.

The afternoon brought more locking. The canal’s levels were high, with some locks having waterfalls over the top of their gates. We encountered a wide boat going the other way to us just after a junction, he’ll be going a different route to the one we’d just covered since the locks we’d been through were narrow ones. Carrying on, I hopped off to open an already half-open swing bridge. I got it open, but found it wouldn’t shut; it got stuck halfway, just like we found it! Luckily, a walker on the towpath lent me a hand in closing it before crossing the bridge. As the day continued, we went from going up to going down locks, making progress which put us ahead of schedule on our way towards the marina where Bartimaeus will spend the winter.