Repeat Visit

Yesterday’s weather turned out just as forecast.  The air temperature was markedly lower than last week, and there were strong winds and heavy downpours including some hailstones.  Neither of us found the enthusiasm to go very far, and it was only after dinner that I suggested we have a short walk.  We walked down the offside path alongside the Stoke Bruerne Lock Flight.

By the time we reached the bottom lock it was already after sunset and getting dark and cold.  Nevertheless we had done some useful reconnaissance to help us with our planning.  We’d come this way again very soon.

Today was forecast to be a better day.  The air was still cold with a north wind, and there were still some sharp showers, but there was blue sky and sunshine too.  I phoned the boatyard to see if there was any news on the work we want them to do.  Unfortunately Gary wasn’t available so that was inconclusive.

We were on our second day at a mooring with a sign saying the limit was 2 days.  Our kitchen supplies were running low and the shops in the area ahead of us are fairly sparse.  We decided to conserve supplies in the very short term by going out for lunch.  The Canal Museum Cafe was a possibility until we discovered that it wasn’t open on Mondays or Tuesdays.  We went across the canal for a repeat visit to the Boat Inn and had an enjoyable lunch there.

I concluded the easiest way to resolve the supply problem was to make a repeat visit to the shop in Blisworth.  It was less than three miles along what looked like a quiet country road.  As I cycled up the hill out of the village I was delighted to see that there were diversion signs telling motorists that the road was one of my favourite sorts: closed!  Just before I reached Blisworth I came across a chimney at the side of the road.

Tunnel chimney.  A brick chimney rises out of a small ridge in an empty field.  The small trees in the hedgerow behind are dwarfed by the structure.  The sky behind is bright with some small dark clouds.
Evidence of a Tunnel Below

One reason I had taken the road for the repeat visit to the shop in Blisworth was because there is no towpath.  Most of the canal between the two villages is in the tunnel.  This chimney was for the northernmost ventilation shaft.  I remember being at the bottom of it two days ago because of the torrent of water pouring out from the bottom – that was when I asked Clare to get my raincoat.  I bet it is still very wet down there, but no such problem for me today.

I got back to Bartimaeus just as another boat was approaching.  I could see they were getting windlasses ready, so I suggested we would come through the first locks with them.  I handed Clare the groceries and set about getting ready to go.  It was only a dozen boat lengths to the locks but we still managed to get there without holding them up.

Once the first lock was running I went on to set the second one up.  I had the gates open before their boat arrived, and closed again behind Clare before their crew had walked from the first lock.  It turned out they were also looking to moor up in the next stretch, the only long pound in the flight.  Clare said they should go first to get first dibs on mooring spots.  Their skipper said we should moor up alongside them if we needed to.  I had already had a sneak preview on my way back from the shop, so I knew that wouldn’t be needed, but we thanked them for the offer.

I directed Clare to a spot which would get a little of the evening sun on our panels, and full sun in the morning.  Clare pointed me to a boat moored up a few boats behind us.  We met Cousin Hebe and her crew when we crossed the Ribble Link and again near Rugby a year later.  Nobody seemed to be aboard today – but perhaps we will meet again in the coming days.

Cousin Hebe.  A traditional style narrowboat moored against a grassy towpath.
Cousin Hebe Moored Nearby

The sky behind started to look threatening again so we retreated inside before the repeat visit of another sharp shower.

Threatening sky.  Dark clouds fill the sky above the trees either side of the canal.  Rain is falling in the distance, and it is coming towards us,
The Next Shower Approaching

The view around the bend in the canal at the front of the boat is very pleasing.  As the shower receded the light was particularly good, enhanced by the stub of a rainbow.

View from the bow. The still water of the canal is bounded by the far bank receding in to the distance. The bank is lined with trees, from which the stub of a rainbow is rising.
Bow Rainbow and Rain
WordPress Cookie Notice by Real Cookie Banner