Sunday, 11 May 2014

Dogs - dead and sleeping

I am honoured. Lisa has insisted I write a blog post. So I have chosen to describe the day after doing the 29 locks that make up the Caen Hill flight. Just to tell you dear Reader that I was in seventh heaven. Twenty-nine locks in two and a quarter miles. The next morning our resident meteorologist, after preparing breakfast for the wife and crew told us the weather looked dodgy after lunch and if we wanted to get to Bradford on Avon by Sunday we needed to shake a leg, got us up and dressed and ready for locking duty pronto. Lisa was dismayed to learn there were 8 locks between us and Bradford and that we need to do at least 7 of them to get to Semington were we had moved the car to the day before.  I was thrilled. Seven more locks before I departed. After saying goodbye to our lock companions, Tony and Patsy, we set off on foot as the first swing bridge was in sight. Lisa undid the chain, showing remarkable flexibility after yesterday. Bad boat hair was very evident too. 

At the first lock I suggested we use the beams to do a few yoga exercises while waiting for it to fill. We were doing very nicely until the impatient Helmsman tooted at us to get a move on and open the gates. 

At the next lock I suggested the 'dead dog' pose. Now I have no idea if such a pose exists but I thought it might prove entertaining. I think the photograph says it all. 

Lisa by now was beginning to appreciate the K and A. This section below the Caen Hill flight becomes quite beautiful with hedge lined fields and yellowed stone houses, some reasonable moorings and more water points. 'Almost like the South Oxford' she was heard to say at one point. Praise indeed. 

Our timing was perfect. We had just entered the seventh lock at Semington when the rain started. I have to confess I dived inside to ring my mother.....and left Lisa working the lock with a couple who had seen us coming and waited to share the lock with us. Semington is where the old Wiltshire and Berkshire canal used to be and there are plans to build a new canal. The Duchess of Cornwall lifted a sod of turf four years ago to mark the start of the project. It appears to be the only bit of digging done so far. Maybe they should ask her back to do a bit more. 

The wind was blowing a gale and after a lazy lunch in the cratch with the rain pelting down a plan was hatched to use the wonderful BMW to get to Bradford on Avon to have a bit of a sneak preview. Also to check out the marina were What a Lark would be moored for a few days whilst Lisa and David returned home briefly to update wardrobes and play golf and other such nonsense. 

Having parked the car we directed David into the nearest supermarket with a shopping list and headed for a nice shop selling boaty clothes. Such a rookie. We emerged triumphantly clutching new fleeces and a fetching purple waterproof boat coat for Lisa. We decided that the 14th Century Tythe Barn would be on our list to visit tomorrow along with the award winning tea shop next to the town bridge with its waitresses dressed in French maids outfits. We checked out the Wharf and potential parking spots for the trusty BMW before deciding to head back to the boat for a gin and tonic. Sadly the lack of tonic meant we quickly moved onto other alcoholic beverages to accompany a pasta and chorizo concoction with courgettes. And a wonderful fruit salad. And two bars of chocolate.  Whilst Lisa and I wrote journals and blogposts and messed around with laptops - I am also Lisa’s technical support helpline as well as part-time crew - David collapsed on the sofa. Keeping two women happy is obviously exhausting. 


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