Monday 1st and Tuesday 2nd September
Apart from the dustbin lorry calling at the Red Lion at 5.30 am we had a quiet night. After two boats passed us going north, we thought we’d move into the basin before the trip boats started manoeuvring, and moored next to this gentleman! (Actually it was just starting to rain – I took this the following day).
We didn’t fancy going sightseeing in the rain so Dave went shopping while I went off for a long run down along the Avon and got very wet. After lunch the sun came out and the tables were turned – Dave and Meg went off for a good long walk while I cleaned the inside of the boat and went to the launderette! as well as reading the paper in the sunshine and watching the enormous bubbles blown by the vendors over in the park area.
By 7pm we were walking over to the theatre to see The Two Gentlemen of Verona. The tickets cost an arm and a leg but when they only have returns available you get what you can! Great seats though. We thoroughly enjoyed the play, and when we got back to the boat afterwards discovered that the couple on ‘Aleone’ next door had also been there, so had an enjoyable ten minutes discussion of the play, then boating, as you do ….
We slept extremely well and were surprised how quiet the basin was overnight. Tuesday was glorious and Meg spent some time taking in the adulation of the passers-by and checking out old Will (shame about the lamp-post).
We lingered over breakfast, then I did a bit of shopping and we dithered over whether to stay another night – in the end we left about 11.30, keen to get out in the country again (and needing to empty cassettes quite soon too). We did like the basin though with all its bustle.
The first three locks were as hard as before, and at the fourth we were held up by a boat coming down which got wedged as it came out of the lock. We managed to haul it back into the lock, then the skipper wielded his quant pole to poke around behind the gate and winkled out a couple of bits of wood that had prevented the gate opening properly.
We took on fuel and water at Valley Cruisers and emptied the cassettes. If you stop here, watch out for the mooring “rings” – they are mooring pins jammed in behind tyres, and if they are not properly positioned they will remove a strip of your blacking very efficiently!
We had a short stop for lunch below Wilmcote locks. They are hard work, and after a couple I thought I’d get the long throw windlass to make winding the ground paddles easier. Big mistake! I forgot that the paddle stands are angled, so with a long handle you can just get your knuckles past the stand – but not the rest of your hand and I ended up losing an inch of skin from the back of it. (The photo was actually taken on the Lapworth flight, but it serves as an illustration).
Suitably patched up I got back out there. We didn’t meet anyone apart from a few walkers. We have seen few boats today.
The sun was getting a bit low as we crossed the Edstone aqueduct, causing a good shadow, though it’s not so impressive in the photo. You can just see Dave waving.
We stopped a little way past Wootton Wawen, which was in deep shade – but just past the bridge and winding hole we got a lovely spot which kept the sun till it sank. A couple of weeks ago we would have grabbed the shady spot instead.
17 locks 8 and a half miles