We left Penkridge and stopped briefly at the service point there as it was empty. We talk a lot about service points together, David hates stopping, he says I am obsessed with rubbish disposal and we have plenty of water to last till Tuesday week. I have a slightly differing viewpoint, I like to fill the tanks regularly so I have enough water to wash my clothes and hair on demand, he has no hair and happily would wear the same filthy trousers, he is a farmer don't forget... So as Penkridge was empty we stopped and I turned a blind ear to his mutterings.
It was one of those days when you spot boaters from a distance, coiling ropes, attaching the tiller arm and banging mooring hooks, then they spot you coming and swear silently to themselves while glaring at you and saying Good Morning through gritted teeth. I guess most people had heard the forecast, disbelieved it and got moving early, but not quite early enough.
I say all this but there are only about seven locks and we had to turn them too.
Later as we got nearer to Gailey and the top of the pound (To non boaty Readers, this means that you've got to the top of the hill and now its lock free cruising till you go down the other side. In some cases its many many miles).
So I did the driving today and David went up and did the locks.
Somewhere or other, he went off and instead of emptying the lock signalled to me a boat was coming... No great shakes but I did pull over and tie up instead of hovering for ten mins.
Nothing happened, besides David and many others watching the boat enter the lock except it didn't.... Well eventually and I mean after an age, the boat crept in, I thought it must have broken down. It had a large crew, whom all stood staring too at it, I knew that if it had broken down David could do nothing to aid them.
Turns out it was a hire boat with eight ladies of a certain age, I think they might have been Guiders, which is worked with Girl Guides, as I have done in the past.
Not immediately but at considerable length the paddles went slowly up and I thought I could see steam coming out of David's ears from where I was.
This boat had done the Black Country Ring and were heading back to Great Hayward so in the past week had done about 60 locks.... The helm hadn't been proficient enough to get the boat in the lock from the lock landing, hadn't or couldn't get the nose pushed out, then had insisted on not having the paddles raised because the front button of the boat touching the bottom gates. They finally exited at a worms pace!
About 25 mins later I brought WaL into the lock another crew of the boat behind them asked me if I had enjoyed my sleep as it had been so long. This boat had had to follow them down three locks and she said they might pull over and have coffee.
Oh how we all laughed....
I disappeared inside at Gailey, to go and do my yoga but I did see the service point occupied ahem!
We toyed with the idea of pulling over, but in the event carried on. David wanted to get through Wolverhampton. So it was an easy run, not many boats about and those who were turned off up the Shroppie.
I like the green corridor that is Wolverhampton, the water is very clear and on a previous trip had seen a Kingfisher.
|Wolverhampton's Green corridor that is the canal.
|Looks nice in the sun eh?
|Pretty clear canal water here too.
A few more locks then we'll stop at Wightwick (Pronounced Whittock). But with the sky blackening way earlier than forecast, I suggested stopping at Compton where it was sunny still, no lets do one more lock.....
The last lock had two CART men working on the lock gates owning to an underwater obstruction..... With much heaving, raking, poking and showing too much 'Builders Bum' finally the gate moved and in we went, the heavens opened and we got drenched, or rather I did as David had already put on his wet weather kit.
Moored up dripping with soaked feet, I felt for the other poor wet boaters as they went past.
Showers, coffees and light lunch of feats cheeses and rolls followed by good books.