Organising the sleeping arrangements last night took longer than usual. We used a new arrangement of the cabin furniture so that Benny had the sofa bed and Heather used the dinette in cross-bed mode – the first time its been slept in that way. We’ll be slicker at it tonight, especially since all the required bedding is now stowed to hand.
Benny was chilly in the night, but Heather was too hot. So on average it was fine, but some additional tweaks may be required. We passed a tiny boat today that is perhaps what Benny needs. With its stove on it must get pretty warm in there! I’ve tried to get a photo as we’ve passed several times, but get the timing right is tricky with a boat this short.
By the time we’d all had breakfast, the rain went off and the sun came out – perfect timing. Now that it was dry, I put Benny’s rucsac in the bow locker out of the way. Less than ten seconds later he asked where it was as he thought he’d left something in it – perfect comedy timing. He fished it out but failed to find what he was looking for. A few minutes later he remembered he’d moved them to the cupboard in the cabin.
We headed up through Cropredy and the locks to the north. Most of the driving today was done by Heather and Benny. They are both experienced boaters, so can be left to get on with it. I like driving too, but I won’t miss it for a few days even if they do all the driving. I was amused by the humorous addition to a CRT notice on a piece of broken lock gear.
By the time we’d done the group of three locks it was time for lunch so we moored up for that. Heather had been in touch with her parents who were planning to come and meet up with us later in the day. We agreed to meet them at or near a bridge half way up the Claydon Locks before 3pm. Bartimaeus was rising in the lock before the bridge as our extra visitors stepped on to to the towpath – perfect timing.
Heather drove through the rest of the flight with her new co-drivers. With a crew of three on the bank all the locks were ready and our timing through them was excellent. We passed a lock-keeper who told us he was going to padlock the bottom lock (now behind us). He also said that he had chained up the top lock to stop anyone else coming down. The flight is only open between 9.30 and 4pm, and last entrance is 3pm. It seemed a little prompt for both ends to be closed – but since we were already in the flight we didn’t need his timing to be perfect.
Another lock-keeper overtook us as we headed towards the top lock. He removed the chain from the gates in time to let Bartimaeus drive in, and then locked them again behind us. As we came out of the lock we saw that the sign was already on the gate. As we left the lock, he also fitted locks to the paddles to stop anyone wasting water overnight.
We moored up just above the locks for afternoon tea. Heather’s Mum provided us with delicious apple cake, made with apples from her own garden. Heather escorted her parents back along the towpath to their car as a few spots of rain were falling – perfect timing.