Hello, Goodbye

We moored in the same spot as we had before near Tom O’ The Wood. I was sorry to see the Idle Woman poem I had listened to before here, by winding a handle, was not working any more. Shane had tried to listen when we went for lunch in the pub. The goats continued to amuse and we were moored by some pretty flowers. The lady feeding the goats waved to us as we pulled up.

Ahead of us were the famous Hatton locks and a tunnel. We didn’t go for the cafe this time at the top of the locks, considering it may be busy for Mother’s Day and it was a bit early for lunch. We found a large number of people at the top lock magnet fishing and they helped get it ready for us. The boat that had been following us thought they were part of our crew and that they were in luck having so many helpers! I had to let them down by saying there were only two of us, but we were both happy to share the locks and the load. Tanya wasn’t afraid of the hard work of locking and I was happy to avoid it as I had remembered some of the locks being very heavy. They looked well seasoned travellers with a very traditional boat, but in fact were less than half way through a two year project of living on a boat. John preferred me to go in first and we hoped it was easier for me to give him space to come in with the bow thruster. Sometimes it worked like a dream and other times one or other of us would not get the timing as perfect and the dance had a little stepping on toes but we were both apologetic and entirely forgiving of each other when misjudgements occurred. We made good time. At the stop for lunch, I looked and saw I had a happy mother’s Day message from Bryn and Tanya remarked that she had 50% too. (I had 100% later on!)

Tanya drove for the last couple of locks and then Shane felt he could just walk to the centre leaving me to drive in. Tanya pulled in to pick up John and we parted company. I look forward to seeing them again, as they are going roughly our way. For now we were going separate ways at the junction.

View back up the close together Hatton locks from inside one, around half way down

Just as I approached the Saltisford centre a boat emerged from the junction, I didn’t know if it would turn towards me and I hung back so I had to e to manoeuvre before going into the entrance. Then recognised them as a boat I had seen moored at Saltisford before and might therefore be going in. He did indeed turn in and waved his thanks to me for waiting for them. I was in no hurry as I had to follow them in and the Saltisford arm is crowded and has signs up saying to go dead slow. The delay gave Tanya time to catch me up. John was at the front to be lookout at the sharp turn and they both gave a wave as they made the turn and as I was heading into the arm entrance. Shane joined me as I reached a narrow point, crossing a boat and stepping on the bow and stayed at the front to guide me in the winding spot, and we got smoothly into position.

We were ahead of schedule and so had a day in Warwick. I woke this morning to hear a “chook chook” repeatedly very nearby. I peeped through the curtains, in time to see a moorhen leave the boat. After breakfast I sat outside knitting and listening for birds. Moorhens didn’t appear but lots of others did. A magpie was also there and might have been what made the goldfinch so noisy, but it is dropped off the bottom of the screen. Over the last few days we have seen a few birds of prey: kestrel and buzzards and other birds can be very agitated by their presence.

We went into town but rather than going for the trendy modern Warwick Kitchen, for lunch we headed for the much more traditional Thomas Oken Tea room and chose items that have been popular for decades, macaroni cheese and ploughman’s lunch. The tea choice is extensive. I love the tea accessories and today the drinks came with miniature packs of love hearts in the saucers.

Ploughman’s lunch and macaroni cheese.

Behind Shane, there were two people at a table. They seemed quiet as they ate, then I noticed they were signing to each other. Two other people came down and joined them and started a very animated conversation. Shane had been doing an equalisation charge to help the condition of the batteries and was attempting conversation about it when I had to say that I was distracted as though there was a massive music video screen behind him (actually even more so) because of the lively signed conversation. One of the servers came over and chatted with one of them with a little sign and then another server came over and signed at speed. I was amazed at how well they both were communicating with them. They left and it went quiet! We had a chat with one of the serving staff about how they were regulars and then as we commented to the other server at the till about the added entertainment and I observed she was a fluent signer and she said they were the deaf club and that she used to be a teacher of the deaf. They have a great meeting place to hang out in there. The cakes are amazing and many people take them away in boxes.

It seemed too nice a day to hide in a museum though there are a few we have not explored and in stead we went around the parks. Warwick Castle is impressive but is not on high ground so blends into the park scenery rather than looming over it. It’s a big difference from hilly Edinburgh, with its castle atop a rock. Tomorrow we should see Edinburgh castle as we head back there in the morning. 

Blossoming trees in St Nicholas Park with Warwick castle peeping through in the background