Older And Wiser

Yesterday it was warm enough to be coatless. I started the today with one less layer but soon found it a cold day and needed to add a layer and a hat. Shane had set about driving but said he wanted to do some locking as he hadn’t really done any yesterday, and I hadn’t done any driving, so I was needing to be well enough dressed for that. I got gloves on but they were soon off as I approached a lock that looked like there was a few folk at it. Shane signalled that there was a boat coming out towards me, so I got the boat to the side and roped it up. All the ropes were wet and over the other side so that was why the gloves were off. I had realised as well as boat crews going in both directions, one of the ‘people’ was a cover over the paddle mechanism on side and another was a fisherman who had set up right by the lock and not a boater.

Bartimaeus waiting by the lock bollards. Shane chatting to a crew member for the boat in the lock and a fisherman

He had two rods on the go and then I saw him leaping into action and getting his net. He reeled both in and one had a catch! While waiting I could watch him cutting away the hook. The fish looked long with quite a bony head like a pike, but not quite. The woman with the other boat was coming down to get on it was very excited and calling to the driver to look and the fisherman was holding it up for them to see. As the fisherman was holding it up, I asked what it was; “a sander” he said.

Sander held up for admiring audience

There were a lot of boats about today and this caused quite a stir at times wondering where there would be space and what was happening ahead. Shane had told me another solo boat, with a crew of two had said they would wait for us, and buddy up, but they weren’t waiting outside the next lock. Obviously when it is busy you have to go with the flow and not hold things up. We caught up with them a couple of locks later. Dave was happy to chat and he wanted to not rush things as he had had a heart attack a few months ago. We agreed that you have to make the most of the time you have. Mostly I was concentrating on driving and the boats but was briefly diverted by the sign at pub we passed. The name and picture didn’t at first seem connected and dinosaurs aren’t usually on pubs. At least they had chosen one that liked to be by water.

🦕 dining area in the grounds of the Blue Lias pub

While the locks varied with what was coming at us and how we had to manoeuvre, mainly because of other boats, we managed to dance around each other nicely. The hire season has started and a lot of the boats had inexperienced drivers, one even called to us as he was coming out of the lock “Sorry, we’re newbies!” Dave and I took it gently and soon knew to trust how it would work out. Shane and Jenny seemed to be getting along well too.

At one point as I was driving in from the side, I saw Shane waving his arms and thought he was worried that I might be going to bump so was making a frantic gesture to take evasive action. He wasn’t watching me at all though, it was just a cloud of flies in front of his face. The day was warming up.

At the top of the flight they headed away advising us of where the good moorings were ahead. We ended up moored right next to them. The sun was out. Shane opened the side hatch and the washing was hung up outside.

We went for a walk and a search for milk, unlikely in a small village on a Sunday but there was a store on Shane’s map and it was sunny. We found the place on the map and there was a closed takeaway, though we could smell cooking. Nearby there was a railing and plaque and I went to see what monument it might be.

The Boulder and the Pump

The pump was a relic from an earlier time when there was no mains water. Stockton did not get water until the 1950s and had several pumps. The boulder was deposited during the ice age and was identified by the local vicar who was a keen geologist, presumably not a creationist then.

I had seen a Post Office Lane and wondered if there may be a shop there. There was, but it was also closed. I was still pleased to have found it and got to see some unusual self referential yarn bombing, though the wise owl is an added extra.

Crocheted piller box pillar box topper. What a hoot!

The nearby school caught my eye. There was a cute garden but it was the large red sign I noticed. It may be an ichthyasaur but it was an odd school logo. It reminded me of the sander we had seen this morning, but much older!

There seem to be a fossil theme going on locally. Shane has done some research and the Blue Lias pub is named after a local clay which had fossils in it.

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