Let’s Spend The Night Together

After my exertions of the double locks alone, Shane was up for the locks the next day and I was happy to let him. There was one double lock and then I was to drive round the junction to get water. The water was quite hidden but we spotted it just in time. Then I had to reverse back to the junction as we were heading down the Aylesbury Arm. This was a big change as the locks are single width. After months of double locks, they suddenly looked tiny. The first one was a staircase lock and Shane went to operate it.

Snug in the first half of the staircase lock

The first lock did seem very small but the second in the staircase felt very deep. The bridge seemed both low and narrow. But it all went smoothly. 

Inside the second chamber of the staircase lock.

It was a tight squeeze and I was gratified that I didn’t bump or scrape. Obviously some people had.

Looking back through the bridge arch after coming through the lock.

A bridge with a chunk out: that wasn’t me.

A bridge as low and narrow as that is likely to be bumped. Most narrow bridges are not quite that tight.

Shane was enjoying the locks being narrow enough to hop across the boat to get to the other side, by jumping on the roof when the boat had dropped.

I was also enjoying the autums berries and was surprised to see a yew tree, more often at home in a church yard rather than a canal.

Yew tree

The original plan was to get to the end of the arm to pick Bryn up in Aylesbury but Shane had noticed some work going on the last lock. We had to decide where we could turn round if we couldn’t get through the next lock. We got to the winding hole and moored up. Shane cycled ahead and decided we could probably get through the next lock and turn at the boat club where we would be nearer the station.

We were looking forward to Bryn coming but during the evening an issue occurred. The heating went off unexpectedly. Bryn has a history of arriving just as the weather got cold. Heather had slept in the kitchen area but used a blanket in addition to the duvet. The saloon area is bigger and a single person is likely to get cold. She gets up early so easy access to the kettle was a benefit so she chose the bigger space.

We intended offering Bryn our bedroom where he had been warmer last time as it is a smaller space, but without heating it would be a different story. It is much warmer with two in a bed. We were warm enough in the bedroom, though I kept my socks on and slept well. Shane didn’t sleep well, not because he was very cold but because he was planning who to call and what to do about the heating. First thing in the morning I could hear him on the phone.

We set off of along to the lock. It was bright and sunny and we were not cold. The engine made a funny noise and Shane concluded it was the belt snapping that transferred the charge from the diesel engine to the hybrid marine. Now we weren’t charging electric, just as we had decided we might be buying an electric heater in Aylesbury.

I got out to work the one lock and found it locked so we couldn’t proceed to the turning point. So now we would have to reverse back a mile and a half to the winding hole. This is more easily done on electric but we would be reluctant to use too much up. At least we had got moored in the sun. The man moored behind offered us a fan heater but we said we would try in town. He said to give him a knock if we needed anything.

Shane had tried a few calls about getting the heating fixed but with no result. One might manage in a fortnight, others just said no they couldn’t help. We hot footed it to Aylesbury and found a shop with two mini heaters and the man gave us over 25% off if we bought both. Things were looking up. We found a nice cafe for lunch and Shane had spotted a post box topper for me to photo graph.

Multi coloured crocheted poppies post box topper

I was enjoying the musician busking in the square too and pleased to see he had a tap to donate option as I had no cash. He was a good guitarist playing a variety of covers. Not far away we passed another musical tribute, but not by a musician, by a sculptor.

A further tribute in bronze was round the corner. Shane still had a lot on his mind – too many things, it’s enough to drive a lad insane – so he wanted to get back promptly to have a go at sorting them but paused to pose briefly.

Ronnie Barker immortalised in bronze in dungarees with Shane trying to relax

Back at Bartimaeus the little heaters were unboxed and found better than he had expected. Then he donned his boiler suit and went to look in the engine and confirmed that the belt was indeed broken. We had a spare and he had remembered instructions from last time and he was triumphant in fixing it.

Broken belt replaced

Things were steadily improving. I planned to use the oven for dinner to increase the warmth in the saloon. We walked back to Aylesbury towards the setting sun and the evening didn’t feel too cold but the sky was clear.

We were just warm enough in the evening in the saloon and the bedroom was warming nicely, being small. Bryn will let us know how it goes. Shane has gone to bed tired from not sleeping well last night, so we shall see how well we all sleep and whether we are warm enough. It is certainly cooling with the heaters off.