Sunday 29th March
Well it was pretty wet from the word go. We left Salt at 9.30, later than we’d hoped as we’d missed an hour’s sleep with the clocks going forward. The aim was to to get to Aston Marina before the forecast strong winds arrived. I took this photo just before we left – you can see it’s raining from the surface of the water – not especially heavy but very steady.
Luckily there was no wind and we had the complete raingear on so we just got on with it. The Anglo-Welsh that had moored the other side of the bridge had long gone. As we approached Sandon Lock we could see activity in the lock tail, but had to get quite close before we could see what was going on in the gloom. It was Spey, re-attaching the towline to Betelgeuse which had just come down. There were several crew, not all suitably dressed for the weather – those jeans must have been getting pretty uncomfortable.
They were using a long towline. Dave had been tucked in to the side but Spey pulled him out as it passed, then Betelgeuse was suddenly caught by the strong bywash. The steerer worked hard but couldn’t prevent a collision, though fortunately it was only a gentle biff. I took this photo after they had straightened up.
Above Sandon Lock, CRT has placed a notice on the shelter for the stop planks. Maybe they are being just a little over-cautious? You’d have to be very unlucky to trip over!
Propped up at one end against a pile of debris was this lonely little zebra. A child somewhere must be missing it. I hope it gets reunited with its small owner.
We were just a few hundred yards from the marina when the wind started to tease us, but luckily not enough to make mooring difficult. It didn’t take Dave long to get the paperwork done in the office, but the weather was worsening all the time and the wind was quite strong as we moved to our designated mooring. We expected that we’d have to go in bow first but as Dave lined Chuffed up the wind caught us and blew the bow so far round he changed his mind, and though needing plenty of revs got Chuffed lined up for a silky smooth mooring without touching either the pontoon or the boat next to us. Class. And five minutes later there was a violent hailstorm and we were rocked about by the wind in spite of being sheltered between two boats.
We dashed to the bistro for Sunday lunch, luckily close by, trying not to get too wet. But by the middle of the afternoon, though we were still buffeted by the wind, the rain had gone so we walked towards Stone to gauge how long it would take Dave to get to the station tomorrow.
4 miles and 1 lock
Monday 31st March
Dave was off to the station by 8.30, in sunshine, to travel back to Calcutt and pick up the car. In between cleaning and packing I took Meg off for a walk, and as we walked back down the pontoon I chatted for a while to another couple of moorers about the Bridgwater canal, which we hope to visit before the summer. Then Terry and Monica Darlington, whose boat Phyllis May II is moored a few boats along, walked up. We got chatting about dogs, as you do – anyway Meg was treating Terry to a full frontal cuddle, preventing him getting past. Not many people get that (though we do discourage it generally). They didn’t have Jess (their whippet) with them, so no playing for Meg. Dave was back soon after lunch and we managed to pack up the car before the rain started again. I got pretty wet securing the pram cover though, and then we had a tedious journey home in the rain. This time we spotted the aqueduct over the M5, which someone blogged about recently, though no boats were crossing at the time.
I got rather behind with the blog this trip. Yesterday was Good Friday and Dave made a yummy batch of Hot Cross Buns.
We are at home now for a few weeks for various appointments, and to get the garden sorted out (I hope).