Tuesday 26th August
Having dodged most of the rain on our way up from the South-West, we arrived at Calcutt in warm dry weather, much to our relief. The plan was to do some jobs today before setting off for Stratford in the morning. So I left Dave getting on with them and went off for a nice walk with Meg – it’s a hard life!
The first job was to replace the water pump. It failed while we were in London - luckily we had a spare – and was was still under guarantee. The replacement finally arrived in the last couple of weeks, and as the spare could well be as old as the boat - 13 years - he thought it best to get the new one fitted straight away. Once that was done, he replaced the water filter in the galley, then touched up below the gunwales on the port side.
Finally he drilled out the final hole in the floor under the fridge. We had been having awful trouble in the hot weather, as the fridge can’t cope unless the batteries are well over half full. He drilled 2 holes out a few weeks ago, which made a huge difference, and now the cooler weather is on the way the job’s finished!
Here’s our neighbour on the pontoon – the Jam Butty!
The first Gold Star is because poor Dave’s got a rotten cold, but didn’t take to his bed with man flu!
Wednesday 27th August
We set off around 10 and made for Stockton Locks. Lovely weather, warm enough for shorts. There was a single-hander a couple of locks ahead, but he showed no sign of wanting to wait for us. Luckily, as we left the top lock, we spotted a boat approaching behind us so we waited in the second lock and were soon joined by NB Compton.
We soon got a good system going, locking ahead (closing up for the single-hander several times), though the gates are heavy and some of the paddle gear very stiff. I had a couple of good photos of their synchronised lock entry and exit, or thought I had, but my camera is playing up and they didn’t seem to record.
We made good time and were able to moor at Long Itchington for lunch. After a swift trip to the little shop for some tissues – Dave is still suffering with his cold – we continued to Bascote locks, where we were able to cross with a boat coming up in the staircase. By the time we cleared the bottom lock we were quite tired, so moored up soon afterwards in a lovely quiet spot.
In spite of still feeling under the weather with his cold, Dave fitted a new tap in the galley. The hot tap on the old one was hardly working at all, so we have been getting washing-up water in saucepans from the bathroom. The new one is much neater, with a better water flow from both taps, and the swivel on the spout actually works which the old one didn’t. So a second gold star for Dave.
14 locks, 5 and a half miles