Northward Again

Last week’s very hot days have given way to windy cooler days again.  We moored at Sawley and went looking for the nearby shop.  Unfortunately the only route to it was along a very busy road with a pavement that changed sides with no assistance for pedestrians.  When some supplies ran out the following day we moved on rather than repeating the ordeal of reaching the village.

We returned to Trent Lock again at around lunch time.  I had remembered the tea shop had looked interesting, so we went there.  While we were waiting for our food to come I recognised the model on the window sill.  We had seen the full-size Raymond, the last wooden working narrowboat, at Braunston and we have just finished a jar of jam which was sold in aid of Friends of Raymond.

Raymond.  A model of a narrowboat called Raymond sits in the window of a tea shop.  The wall of the butty - the living quarters at the stern of the boat - has been hinged down to reveal the detail inside.
Model of Raymond

Our slow drift north continued the following day.  As we approached a boat with a huge flag flying from its tiller, Clare thought it was larger than the guidelines suggest a flag should be on that size of boat.  If so, it seemed very appropriate for an anarchist flag to be breaking them.

Anarchy flag.  A large black flag with a red capital A in a circle is flying from the tiller of a narrowboat.  The flag is as high as the cabin sides.
Are There Rules on Flag Sizes?

We continued to Beeston and after filling the water tank were pleased to find a single vacant mooring.  Clare was driving and nearly got caught out by the slight current in this bit of canal.  Just putting the nose against the bank and then sorting everything later doesn’t work so well if there is a flow from the stern.  Once the boat is diagonal in the flow the stern is pushed away from the bank.  With moored boats all around we had to work quite hard to keep control.   Repeatedly switching the direction of both the propellor and tiller, and some judicious tugs on the rope from me, got us safely moored.

Attenborough Nature Reserve.  A large lake is fringed with greenery.  The sky is filled with grey clouds.  A church spire pokes above the trees on the far side of the lake.
Attenborough Nature Reserve

We went for a walk around the Attenborough Nature Reserve.  The reserve is named after the nearby village, but has also made connections with the naturalist who hails from Leicester, not very far away.  There was only a small amount of interesting bird life visible on the way to the visitor centre where we stopped for refreshment.

The lake in front of the cafe had a floating island that seemed to have terns on it.  One tern had caught a fish and was calling and repeatedly flying towards the island before being chased by another tern, perhaps trying to take the fish.  Three grebes diving in the lake appeared to be a couple and an interloper.  Periodic altercations and chases would be followed by conspicuous pairing.

As we got back to Beeston Lock I noticed a narrowboat approaching from upstream.  There are windlasses welded on to these lock gates, so we decided to assist.  The lock has a very small drop, so takes no time to operate.  Having helped them through we caught their ropes (second time for one of them unfortunately) at a handy mooring spot a boat length or two from Bartimaeus.  That saved them the difficult mooring we’d had.

Today we came in to Nottingham again.  I had another Poste Restante item to collect at the Post Office.  On the way back we spotted a baby moorhen being fed by a parent.

Moorhen and chick.  A moorhen is on a slimy waterside surface.  It is beak to beak with a fluffy chick, presumably feeding it.
Feeding Time for Baby Moorhen

Nye had helpfully sent a spare part for my saddle on the tandem.  When we had been out last week, I had noticed that the nose tensioning bolt was on the point of collapse.

Broken nose.  The nose of a Brooks B17 saddle has a tensioning bolt.  Seen from the underside, the bolt has a significant crack across it.
Brooks B17 Saddle with Cracked Tension Bolt

I know from experience that the bike remains rideable, but uncomfortable after these bolts break.  I had intended to bring a spare from Edinburgh, but forgot.  It didn’t take me long to get the bolt in to almost the right place.  There is a knack to getting the bolt right in to the end.  I have found that putting the saddle over a kitchen chair and pressing down on both ends can force the leather up in the middle and allow the bolt to slip home, but we have no kitchen chairs on board.  We like as many things as possible to be multi-purpose on board.  It turns out that the tiller has a second function – saddle tension boat fitter.