It was raining before dawn, then a window of dryish weather, then more rain without the gaps sort of rain. It was decided by the committee (David) that we would make a dash for it in the dryish bit and get the Napton Flight done. Its a flight of nine locks, nice dinky narrow locks, all in beautiful countryside and for the most part a lovely views.
Except that, today visibility was nil.
|Grey grey and more grey.|
As I filled the top lock a group of Duke of Edinburgh Award students appeared out of the gloom. For those of you in non Common Wealth countries the D of E takes place each year for young people to enter. Its not a race but a personal development scheme mostly organised by schools. As we had sat in the sun yesterday several groups had come past. Unmistakable all young, all laden with rucksacks carrying all they will need for the two or three days out hiking. Unusually these students groups all had teachers accompanying them. That was the first thing I asked the teacher, why he was here? But it turns out to be a school policy (They were from Rugby School) that they are accompanied on the practice walk but next year they are out in the wilds of Wales doing it alone.
The teacher asked the students whether they wanted to help me or walk on.... They was a unanimous reply of help with the lock!
The teacher then said what's your name?
"Lisa sir" I replied, (That just came out automatically),
"Right then boys listen to what Lisa says and do it"
Makes you feel all important.
So they all ran to the beam and started to push (The lock wasn't full yet so a quick physics lesson here. Actually I dropped physics at school after my exam netted me an 8% result in the summer exam.
Anyway as WaL crept in, they all exclaimed how nice she was and the teacher asked if we had any luxuries on board?
What do you call a luxury? says I
Well, ablutions, have you got a toilet? I love these questions!
Do you mean a toilet or a bucket in the corner? I asked
(He visibly shuddered)
Oh a toilet that flushes he said
Oh yes, and a shower! And a washing machine TV and 5ft bed, Oh Reader you should have seen their shocked and stunned faces.... But no wifi I expect?
Oh yes of course we have wifi says I...
Blimey I would like like to go on a boat like this for a holiday says the teacher.
These buffalo here are dull creatures, they refuse to look at the camera, they just continue to saunter around with their noses in the air not looking a the camera.
David is a past master at all games involving cows, he tried his usual tricks but clearly cows don't speak the same language as buffalos.
Some boaters get very narked about the beautiful "Leaf Soup" at this time of the year, just because it goes around their props and blocks it, I am not one of those and I love the colours and patterns of it.
|Minor ice rink.|
So then who's bright idea was it to use shiny bricks to lay here without "Raised step" only those two at the far end and in the wrong place to start pushing hard against the beam. I raised this point last year on the K&A with two CART workers and they were clueless, they weren't boaters and had no idea until I pointed out to them what was needed.
|This are the reddest Elder l have seen, they'll be gone very soon.|
We got to the bottom in a very quick time, so nice when boats are coming towards you and it halves the work. We went along the South Oxford to Bridge 102 and got moored up well in time before the heavens opened again. A nice snuggly afternoon relaxing reading and drinking tea. David was to have fetched the car but the rain put him off. Suddenly an almighty bang and a hirer freshly out of the Napton Hire Base just a few miles from here hit us, well to be generous a glancing blow, I had jumped a mile and opened the side hatch to find and most apologetic woman who was mortified.
No one died.
Supper was chorizo & courgette pasta.