Friday 1st April
There we were lying in bed soon after 7 wondering whether to get up and be the ones to bag the empty locks, when we heard the engine of the boat behind and the rattle of their mooring chains. So we had another 15 minutes in the warm. Somewhat later Dave went up to set the first two locks and by 8.30 we were entering the first. The frost had gone but it wasn’t half cold.
Yesterday’s blue sky was nowhere to be seen and the wind was icy. We were expecting a quiet ascent but at the third lock suddenly there was a boat! with another behind them! But they hadn’t hadn’t started in the dark – they had moored half-way down the flight, luckily without problems. At lock 32 new bottom gates had been fitted, and the offisde coping stones had all been replaced.
My tea mug is on the lock beam. Dave did sterling service as tea boy and flapjack provider this morning. A bit further on was one of those flat work boats with what looked like a new lock gate. I can’t recall having seen any upcoming stoppage notices for this flight though.
Although I had to discard my top fleece and thermal long johns I never really got warm in spite of locking ahead by foot and by bike. We passed seven or eight boats coming down – I lost count – many of them Black Princes making for Stoke Wharf tomorrow. So there was a bit less work than we had anticipated. We were looking out for visitors; daughter Jen and partner Will were dropping in on their way home from a walking holiday but we were already on our last lock before they made it! We moored in the long pound between the top two locks at 12.30, four hours after setting off; not too bad. But so cold. So we had soup for lunch before walking them back to their car at Tardebigge Church.
The church has an interesting tower/spire which only has 3 bells in it. Inside the organist was practising Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor.
The graveyard is large and has some interesting memorials and family plots.
We took the footpath back to the canal and when we got back to the boat Dave went down the engine hole to try and fix the Mikuni which has not been working. He cleaned everything up, noting that we need a new washer, and it worked – till he went to check it and discovered the engine hole full of exhaust fumes as the hose had split. So we ventilated everything then took Meg for a walk down to the reservoir, which was a bleak place this afternoon and no mistake.
In the centre of the picture you can see a fisherman’s trolley, and to the left and down a bit is the top of his brollytent. Several more were setting up further round. I hope they have remembered their Thermos flasks and winter woollies. On the way back we noticed this old sluice gear. I think it was from the reservoir to the canal.
We lit the fire when we got back. We’re all pretty tired now and glad to be relaxing in the warm.
Two and a bit miles, 29 locks, 4 hours.