Wednesday 12 July 2023

A happy day then a death.

Early on today I went up to help at a lock, it was a single hander who made me laugh straight away.  

He had a great turn of phrase, had had a serious heart attack in his mid 40's and on recovery decided with support of his dad on getting a boat, he'd always wanted one, now has been living aboard for a decade  and has even painted the boat himself, a pretty good job he's made too.

David was waiting below while we two were chuckling.  He was from Liverpool!

Later on he was in front at a lift bridge, now lift bridges are a big nuisance  for single handers, he had managed to get off the front of his boat with the rope and it was a very short offside landing on the side of the turning mechanism, then it dawned on me that his boat was blocking the way for us behind, the only real way around this was for me to do the bridge for both boats, now his boat was under the bridge, so giggling I ducked under the raised bridge, banged my head on it, stepped onto his bow, nearly slipped in but only got one foot damp, then finally he was back on and away, to the next one.

Sadly no photos.

David did ask whatever was going on then?  But really reader at least I wasn't getting a marriage proposal.... 

(See a previous posting).

Then two more boats approached and one had the nerve to hoot me to keep the bridge up, by this time David was away down the canal.

The next bridge, second of three in a row I went to do, a nice easy electric one at Wrenbury.

The third he solved by opening it, leaving it up and we scooted along and closed it.  This was only achieved as no one at all around.

 At one lock today.  When I walked up there was a lady in her sixties I guess.  It was her first time hiring.

"Are you enjoying yourself ?" I enquired

"No not really if I'm being completely honest" 
Oh dear I replied, 
"Its our 5th day and we had all these locks to do"
Have you had a go driving instead?
"No, my husband said I can't, I just can't do it,  
I used to drive trucks too!!!!!!!!!"

Well I was astonished, I told her that she should have a go and if she has driven trucks I think you can drive anything.

Years ago I helped the farm out by returning a Ifor Williams    (small cattle box) to David's Uncle some good few miles away.  It was attached to the back of David's fathers big car ready and off I went.  But I had decided on the route where I wouldn't have to do a right hand turn....  
When I arrived the nice farm hand said can you reverse it over there?
"No, you'll have to" I knew my limitations, I still do. 
I don't think I could safely drive a truck.

David said that there were two pubs marked on the map.  As we all know Nicholson's Guide books don't revisit pubs or update their guides, so having the benefit of smart phones we can look them up ourselves.  I did this and I chose the Swan at Marbury it would be a lovely treat in the sunshine, a lovely courtyard to eat in too. 
I put my new sun dress on, grabbed my new sunhat that David dislikes, we moored up and walked the short distance to Marbury village.  We saw one dog walker and no one else on the way to the village until we entered the pub.

We sat in the court garden enjoying a quiet drink, there was a birthday party of about eight 60 somethings, who were very jolly and got jollier as the wine flowed, then a couple arrived on the next table with a spaniel on a lead, the wife went indoors and the dog howled, it stopped howling and yelped then howled again.  It was ear splitting.  The lady returned and the dog was beside itself, leaping and knocking the furniture about.
We went indoors

It was a lovely lunch, the service was great and we'd like to call here again on the way back.  We got back to the boat and sat in the sunny cratch until late evening just enjoying the quiet,  butterflies flew in and out of the cratch, dragonflies made an appearance and the open views over the fields.

Love this boating malarkey.

Below are some views as we came along.  

The maize is up and growing fast now.

This is the last of the lift bridges, single hander popped it up and I put it down.

Our gorgeous mooring, but the next morning when it was completely grey. 

 The next mooring was raining so we left later on.  We were passed by hire boats due back to their bases, quite a few bases along here and many hire boats, most of them jolly and having fun.  
But some very miserable boat owners amongst the mix. 

I went up to Quoisley lock to prep and there was a boat approaching.  So I topped up the almost full lock and opened the gate for them.  Then it went sideways across the canal, then it went to the offside and you'd be forgiven that they had wanted to moor up.  Finally they came into the lock.
New hirers.  They couldn't find their windlass so I lent her mine.  As they approached just look what happened...

Reader, I really did my best first to catch it, then to shoo it out then finally as theirs was a shorter boat to keep them back while they on the opposite side to me tried to do similar.
I held their middle rope in the vain hope to keep it from being crushed, the mother appeared and quacked to it, it tried to flap out of the lock but....

In the end it simply vanished, the lady crew was in floods of tears and as the gate were opened I said Oh look there it is with mum down there, down towards where David was following the Test Match, (Cricket for my Reader in Brazil).

She didn't believe me and left the scene of the massacre with her head in her elbow.  I felt sad too.

Grindley Brook next, not too much of a wait, we'd been told by other boaters that they had been held up for three hours.  There are three locks preceding the staircase three, up we went, so easy with two volunteers prepping it all for you.

Single lock immediately before Grindley Flight.

Finally all done for the day, we'd done ten locks but in effect more, by that I mean due to the strong by-washes on them I used the trick of when the gates are open for David to go in I whip the paddles up to lessen the by wash banging you about, so the paddles had been up and down like a whore's drawers.  David's expression not mine.  

As David watered up I walked back with the rubbish, there was a boater looking dejectedly at the self pump-out there.  I felt instinctively he was American as he was wearing a clear plastic cover with a hood, as we've seen them all wearing at Disney.

I've got some plastic gloves for that, follow me and I'll get them.  I gave him a pair of the latex ones we carry and his face was a picture.  
"This has been a steep learning curve" he said.

Supper was salmon curry.


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