Misty Blue

Yesterday there was a frost over everywhere above water. Leaves and feathers were frosted above the water line but not below. We waited for the frost to go before driving. 


Frosty rope yesterday
Frosted feather floating by yesterday

Today was similar. It was a misty start but the sun was out and the water was moving freely. At breakfast I saw a kingfisher fly off from the water having made a splosh that attracted my attention and it’s colours were unmistakable, though it was such a brief moment. I couldn’t see where it went, but we were encouraged by seeing one again, as it has been a while. 

We set off with the sun out and the mist burning off. In the still air and sunshine it didn’ t really feel too cold, though the grass was still frosty.


Just a little mist showing above the water

 I got off to work Weston Lock. Shane has now found that there is another one named Weston Lock, confusingly further along the Trent. I got off to work it. It looked almost but not quite ready. I opened a paddle but it seemed to be slow. I looked at the other gate. It did look like the paddles were shut. I waited a bit but still it seemed to be not filling. I went down the other end and it was leaking a lot and I double checked the paddles. I returned to the business end and the gate was still not opening and then Shane called out that there was a ground paddle. Rookie error! I haven’t done ground paddles for a while, with having a bad back and doing more driving at locks, or Bryn doing them too so that he was working ahead and I only reached the lock after those ones were open and the other end are gate paddles. The lock gate arms on this lock were metal and, of course, frosted. This lock had a handy bridge, but less handily the gate arms block it, when open, so when there is only one person locking, they have to climb over it to get to the other side and open the other gate. The frost stuck to my gloves and melted on my trousers, but no bother as I had my longjohns on and was warm enough. 

Going along in the sunshine, we were enjoying our surroundings and we got another good view of a kingfisher later in the morning.


Later there was another lock and Shane worked it. He remembered that very many years ago, on a holiday with a group of friends, the boat we were on got “cilled” at this lock. There is a ledge below the gate and if the back of the the boat is near the gate, the rudder (or even more of the boat) can be caught. A boat can be seriously damaged and needed to be lifted from the lock if the cill is large and the locking crew do not quickly stop the emptying of the lock. I will save the driver’s blushes by not naming him, though he nobly offered to pay for our deposit. But when we had to call the engineer out, he simply put the rudder back in its housing and we did not lose our deposit. Nothing damaged, apart from pride! Having already made one rookie error, I had better pay attention driving in this lock.


Keeping well forward of the cill (not visible but marked on the stone by white paint)



Cill is a small ledge on this lock

Shane was also taking care, because despite the sunshine, it was still frosty around the lock and slipping is particularly hazardous there. He stepped carefully and, unusually, used the handrail when crossing the bridge.

Shane holding the bridge rails when crossing over

We had an efficient stop for water, recycling/ rubbish disposal and a farm shop visit where we bought à “traditional pastie” for Shane, a ” Staffordshire egg” for me and 20 kilos of potatoes. We won’t starve, but there is no room for them in the kitchen.

Coming back from the shop, wearing a different coat ( one without oil stains like my ” locking coat”, I  remembered that I hadn’ t seen my  phone case for a while. I have two (one used to be for a work phone both knitted by me) and so I wasn’t worried about losing it, and anyway I would happily knit another. But I have recently taken to going to a shop carrying my phone with a credit card in the case, in my coat pocket, rather than carry my handbag. There has been no unexpected spends from it, but cancelling a credit card is and pain and we also are not sure how to arrange delivery of a new one. Shane asked which phone case it was and I told him it was the blue one and he felt like he had seen it recently, but wasn’t sure where. He started driving off and I started to search all the coat, trouser and fleece pockets, all the cupboards and storage spaces, under steps, in shopping bags, down the back of the seats with a torch….

Then I heard a very strange noise. We had noticed that some parts of the canal did have some ice forming and Shane was turning at one such place, and the noise was the splintering of ice against the metal.


The cracking of the canal

We moored up. The towpath is not frozen and was pretty muddy so a walk was not appealing. We both started on the search for the card, rechecking all the places, emptying boxes and bags, feeling the lining of a coat, then Shane shouted “found it!” It was on the floor below where all the coats hang. What a relief!