Reasons To Be Cheerful, Pt 3

Last night we headed out to the village to find a post box  and saw some of the nearby boats were highly decorated with lights and window displays and one had a Christmas tree on the tiller. I wonder if they can drive like that, aren’t moving their boat for a while, or have to dismantle it to travel. In the village there were some impressive light displays and an enormous inflatable Santa. We need to put a bit more effort into decorations, when we have time.

Yesterday was a little lower in bird sightings (perhaps we were too busy locking to notice) though we did still see a kingfisher and at night we heard two different owl calls.

We woke to a misty start. I went to take a photo and stepped out to try to get a picture, discovering that it was frosty on the bow locker as I did so. Luckily my slippers aren’t actually slippy. As I was trying to get the mist on the water picture, I moved back to let a runner go past, and he called out, “It’ll be like this every morning for the next 3 months!” In the end Shane got a better picture from the boat, but it seems I have lots of opportunities to perfect the technique.

 

Mist through the bridge
Shane’s picture of mist in the morning

It was already sunny and it was not long before there was no frost or mist. There was no shortage of treats for the naturalist. The birds were out in force, robins in seasonal abundance and we saw a  couple of interesting aerial displays with a kestrel and crow squabbling with each other in the air and a kingfisher doing some acrobatic flight.  The sunlight picked out the profile of a running rabbit beautifully and there were two squirrels snuggling together on a branch.

Ducks are a daily occurrence but there was an exceptionally large group on the approach to one bridge. I thought I might get a good mallard drake head as normally I don’t get too close. But even in a crowd they were quite skittish and fled the water.

Not close enough
Too close for comfort

They didn’t flee from the family group feeding them though. The little girl’s attention was diverted from the ducks as we approached. People often point out the boat to their children but today we heard the a cry of ” Look Santa’s coming! He’s waving to you!” Anglers are not always that pleased by the approach of a boat as they have to take their lines in, but today we got a jolly smile from one who had rummaged in his bag for his camera when he saw us and took a photo of Santa driving away.

Despite the lovely weather, we only saw one other boat moving today. Typically we met it round a bend at a very narrow point. Both drivers stopped and tried waving the other through. We ended up in the reeds trying to give them a clear route through and they negotiated the narrow space with some difficulty and said apologetically that he couldn’t really see with the sun in his eyes. Couldn’t have been in a more awkward spot!

 I had enjoyed the bridges on the Macclesfield canal before and today was so bright that they were superbly reflected.

Reflected bridge is clearer
Reflected bridges

A leisurely sunny cruise in the morning took us to the main event of the day. After lunch we had the Bosely locks to cover. We were hoping to do them in 2 hours so we were well clear of sunset, plus we still hadn’t achieved a pump out and the next pump out was at the top of the locks. [News flash! Shane has received a phonecall from CRT thanking him for alerting them to the non-functional pump out facility and asking if there was anything they could do.] We have done these twice before and the weather today was much better than last time we were going in this direction when it was lashing rain and windy – Shane asked me to drive because he was far too cold – in August!

We started with Shane working locks and me driving. When we were a few locks in, a group of people, on a walk, stopped to watch and exchanged some chat with Shane, complimenting his fitness and my driving and wishing us luck in getting through in  2 hours. Shane went to get the next lock ready while this one was filling and one of them said to me, “Oh he’s run off now! Where has he gone?” I said that he was just getting the next one ready for me to drive in and she asked if these gates, at this lock, would now just ‘open automatically’.   ” Haha! No, none of it is automatic!” I said and got out to open the gates and drive on. We met them again later when they were returning on their walk and they remarked on us having swapped places. Everyone we met today seemed to be in good spirits. We were pleased at how smoothly the flight was going. The locks seemed to alternate between full and empty so a lot just leak, but it meant they weren’t all against us. Reaching the last lock, in good time gave us spare minutes to faff around in the very awkward to reach pump out facility- it is much easier to approach from the other direction. Still, it worked and that was the other main goal of the day achieved.

Shane has been very gratified to read the graphs of the voltages and amps which allow him to see the peaks of generating and the troughs of switching on the kettle and making toast, scrambled eggs and mushrooms for lunch. Using this he has decided we did the flight in just over one and a half hours. Now we are three days ahead of schedule, so we had better give ourselves a break.

 

 

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