As we walked up towards the Shroppie Fly pub last night to meet George, at the first lock was a hand painted sign on a flattened cardboard box propped up on the side saying Lock 2 in the flight was closed, do not go above Lock 4 (I think it said 4). Well this notice caused some consternation amongst us but also amongst the many boats moored up in the pound immediately below Lock 2. There was to be a floating market at Market Drayton (The next town along the canal) on the weekend and several trading boats were caught up in the queue.
I called CART to see what the state of play was, a frightfully nice chap on the other end of the line said he didn't know any more than was on the website but that the contractors were indeed on their way.
David and I walked up the flight in the gorgeous sunshine to see, plenty of boat owners muttering was pretty much all there was to see.
No contractors. But some men declaring they could fix in it in 20 minutes if they only had the right tools....
We walked back down to NB Hodma'dod and friends Sarah and David who we had arranged to meet this weekend and were moored at the bottom of the flight a few boats along from WaL.
We had coffee with them and mulled over our personal situation, which was David having a hard to get appointment at home in about 8 days time this delay with the stoppage put that appointment in jeopardy, a now poorly grandchild and parents who needed a bit of help, the petrol panic buying non shortage but no petrol.
On nearly every occasion when we arrive at the Marina, we fill up the car at an independent garage but this time we didn't, so the car probably had enough petrol to get us home but not back to the boat again and the worst of it that on this trip for the first time in five years we haven't kept the car with us. Lovely lovely Sarah and David immediately offered to run us back to the marina if needed but first they had to go back to their own marina to take delivery of a brand new car.
We all had dinner together in The Lord Combermere that evening, I love the LC pub here and we weren't disappointed.
I had calamari, then Nasi Goreng and then something new to me, chia seed pudding with caramelised banana which was completely tasteless and stodgy. I ate the caramel sauce.
So in the morning, we few boats winded here at the winding hole (Turny round place) and set off in the other direction, David had given me the choice of us doing this and Heartbreak Hill again but I said no thanks.
We thought we might go up a few locks and moor WaL, but then suddenly a boat came out of the lock, we scrambled to ask where they had come from and yes the flight was open!
Several more boats came down, smiley captains to be free again. I asked how many were left waiting but they didn't know.... Lots more came down, then nothing, it all went quiet.
David and I grabbed our hat gloves and windlasses and set off. Reader it was pure heaven. The sun shone and every lock bar one was in our favour or had a boat leaving.
We were up the top in no time with virtually all the boats departed from that pound.
This below is the third lock I believe, could be 4th, but look at the by-wash here. You have to power in to avoid being bashed to the opposite wall, but look carefully and there is a wooden plank that has been placed to prevent that bashing here. David had a slight brush on it
|Protective wooden plank on the right.|
|Small brush on the plank but no harm done.|
It was after this lock that I remembered some sage wisdom imparted by the now famous internationally known Steve You-Tube vlogger HERE but he's just known as Steve to us. Steve explained previously to me that if I empty the lock and open the gates for WaL to come in then also open the top paddle again, this will reduce the by-wash considerably and make like easier. Ordinarily boaters are wanting to conserve water but in times of rainfall on the Shroppie canal and also the Llangollen you can do this trick.
|David has been trained to jump off the boat to open the gate for me. It makes me RAGE to see men standing watching their wives do all the work.|
|This structure is designed to protect the bridge wall from the rope rubbing against the bricks in centuries gone by.|
|I know not what they are called but to my mind a thing of beauty.|
For those who don't already know, there's a Farmer's Wife selling cakes, pork pies and ice-creams right on the tow path. I thought it a mirage, but brought scones with clotted cream, shortbread, brownies and 4 ice-creams.
Supper was cheese on toast with mushrooms and then the scones... delicious.
We moored WaL up near-ish a bridge and the next morning David from NB Hodma'dod appeared as if by magic and drove up back to our marina and our car.
So we popped home for a couple of nights and helped, we did the night shift for his medication so the parents could sleep and yes we managed to fill up our car at that lovely small independent garage.