Thursday 13th, Friday 14th April; Calcutt to Flecknoe
We drove up on Thursday and stayed in the marina overnight as there are some jobs to be done needing shore power before we set off. Meg enjoyed her well-deserved walk along the towpath after her perfectly patient behaviour on the long drive up. As we crossed the canal at the top lock we saw that all the Calcutt hire fleet was out – the ‘Carry on Barging’ effect perhaps?
Tim Garland had fitted the new cratch cover which looks very smart – a great improvement on the much-repaired old one, which had been wearing through in a couple of places.
On Friday it was cold and raining – well it is the start of the Easter weekend, after all. But it was only a light shower which didn’t really matter. Dave had brought the pressure washer to clean the gunwales and down to the waterline so Meg and I left him to it and went off for a walk. The gunwales looked a right mess afterwards, and he spent the rest of the morning with the wire brush and then the red oxide paint. He also blasted the algae from the rear fender. When we left the boat last time, we put a little salt on the persistent little clump of grass whose roots had gone too deep to pull out. That did the trick, is non-toxic to water-life in the tiny amount used and the fender looks nearly new.
We left the marina after lunch – just as the rain started again - and straight away joined the queue for the Calcutt locks. But the rain didn’t last, and it wasn’t long before we were on our way up, joined by a single-hander on his way to London where he is anticipating living aboard in Hackney ….. anyway he seemed like a nice chap. I was a bit worried about his dreadlocks which reached halfway down his thighs and could be a bit dangerous when he is winding paddle gear – I will mention it if we see him again.
The canal was busy, it being the start of the Easter weekend. A couple of cheerful young men worked us up the top lock - there were eight others to look after their Napton hire boat! But most of the Calcutt boats were now back at base, and we passed three others on our short trip as far as Flecknoe where we tied up near the farm. Many of the fields round here are bright with the yellow of oilseed rape.
The lowering clouds held their rain until later just as Dave and Meg got back from their walk. At the farm there was some sort of compressor working on and off until 8 – they seemed to still be cleaning their lorries.
3 and a half miles, three locks