Lock ‘n’ Robin

Today was my second time waking up aboard Bartimaeus. As I’ve learned, a lot of things aboard Bartimaeus are multi-function, and this bed was no different; it converts from the dining chairs and table, and the chairs are also storage boxes for the duvet, pillow, and sheet. This morning I woke to a pretty sight out the starboard window – snow. 

A snowy fence out of the starboard window.
A light dusting of morning snow

Our plan today was to start off slow, not setting off early so Shane used the time to make dough for bread that would later be lunch. This was welcome as it was a cold and windy day. Soon enough though it was time to face the weather and tackle some locks. So me and Clare grabbed windlasses while Shane drove. The snow had mostly melted by now, but it was far from warm. Still, locking leaves little opportunity to get cold.

We had a series of three locks to tackle, then a short gap before one more lock which Shane said was the last, then the actual last lock. On the second last lock (i.e. the second “last lock” (i.e. the latter last lock) ) one paddle wasn’t working, and the other very stiff. Without a paddle to open I crossed over and combined strength with Clare to open the stiff one.

Clare and Bryn opening a lock paddle together
Double the strength! (With a non-photogenic squint into the sun from me)

Through the power of teamwork and some skilled driving on Shane’s part we made it through the locks and moored in time for lunch, freshly baked bread rolls with cheese. The mooring itself was surprisingly eventful as I had a robin perch on the boat, then flit closer to me, then briefly stand on my foot, and hop onto the rope, over by Shane before finally flying away.

Robin by Shane's foot
Missed the chance to photograph it on my shoe, so here it is next to Shane’s.

Having a robin on my foot was a first, the second bird-related first in two days after I managed to spot a kingfisher for the first time yesterday, flying in front of the boat. And then managed to spot a second kingfisher later that day, flitting into a tree.

Back to today, we took a trip to a nearby supermarket, spotting places along the way where trees had fallen into the road and then been cut up and moved recently. The wind chill was quite strong so I made use of the mask I’d brought with me, putting it on early to keep the wind off my face on the journey. 

With shopping done, our evening destination was a pub we had docked just next to – for me the pub lunch (or tea) is a staple of canal boating. With the sun having set before we headed there, we got a nice look at the pub’s light display, though a lack of light on the towpath meant I couldn’t see the puddles. At least that confirmed my shoes were waterproof.



Pub lights at night
Lights in the pub’s allegedly outdoor section.

When we booked seats online, the website described the area of pub we sat in as outdoors, but I wouldn’t have called it that. It had a roof and walls in the form of a transparent tent of sorts. That kept out the wind, and warm air pumped in kept us cosy enough, I even managed to get the seat next to the heater. After some swithering, I chose to disregard the fact that I’m trying to reduce the meat in my diet, and order a burger.

Burger, fries and mayo
I was so hungry I had already taken a bite before remembering I might want a photo for the blog

The meal was pricey but nicey. And a combination of the day’s exercise on my part and not-huge portions for Clare and Shane meant we ended up ordering dessert. We got two helpings of baked cookie dough, one I ate and the other split between Clare and Shane. While waiting, there was some discussion on what it meant to be baked cookie dough, surely that’s just a cookie! When it arrived it turned out to be a large helping of cookie dough baked enough to turn the top into a crust, but leave the interior very gooey and doughy, so true to the name.