Friday, 25 September 2020

Bad swans

Monday 21st September; Perdiswell Park to Commandery

It was grey and chilly to start with.  While I took Meg to the park with the early runners and golfers, Dave prepped for more painting.

Now is that masking tape on straight?

During the morning, he painted the dark grey outline on the port side, repaired a split  water hose connection and refilled the stern tube with grease.  I emptied out one of the under-seat lockers in the dinette, measured the lengths of the spare ropes and put it all back neatly (at last, it was a right mess).  During the morning the sun came out, and with the sun came another welcome sight – reed-cutters!  Though it’s not here they are needed most urgently.  They work in pairs – the cutter –

which appears to have paddle-wheel steering, perhaps to keep the draft as shallow as possible -

and the scooper who follows behind. He seemed to make a couple of passes, and dumped the cut bits on the offside.  The question is, how far up the canal will they go?


We had an early lunch and moved on.  It certainly is shallow along here; a hire boat had run aground trying to moor up, and although they came free as we passed they must have drifted straight back into the silt. By the time we realised it was too late to go back and help. (We were a good hundred yards past them when I noticed - this photo is zoomed in!)

At Bilford Top Lock there is a promotional-type notice which got my pedant’s hackles rising.  Do they really mean we are welcome to sell bikes along the towpath? 

Or do they mean pedal? You may think it doesn’t matter, language changes all the time, but peddle and pedal have two totally different meanings!  Grrr.

There are new notices at Bilford and Gregory’s Mill locks exhorting us not to let the swans into the locks.

But above Bilford bottom, there was the family of three that we saw on our last trip, waiting for the boat that was coming up to open the gate for them.  I rhought I'd better tempt them away with some flapjack – apart from the sugar it’s quite a healthy swan snack I imagine.  I got them far enough away for that boat to get out of the lock and Dave to get in, and by the time the flapjack was gone – with Meg weeping beside me, desperate for her share and oblivious to the hisses from the swans – he was closing the gate.  Too late, the feathery miscreants realised they had been duped.

Then it was down to bridge 5 and the mooring for Asda.  It’s not my favourite supermarket but needs must.  Dave popped into Wickes too.  Then down we went to the Commandery moorings where we spent the night.

6 locks, 2½  miles