Thursday, 13 June 2013

A bad start to the day and the Buckby flight

Tuesday dawned dull and windy - no change there then. Ensconcing myself in the bathroom, as most of us do first thing, Daisy followed me in and chucked up her entire stomach contents at my feet - most of it, sadly, still recognisable as a very large mouse!!!!!!!!!! Yuk
We stopped at the excellent Whilton Chandlers where we ordered dollies (not the sort you chuck out of a pram), T-studs, catches and paint which they will personally drive up to Les at Welford Marina when the order arrives. That's service.
Whilst in the chandlers, a great deal of banter went on about choice of locking partners for the ascent on the Buckby flight - I just knew I was going to get a single hander. But no! When we came out we found a party of 6 adults (all looking reasonably healthy and 4 of them quite young) looking at the bottom lock and scratching their heads in comic book fashion. It transpired that they'd picked up a hire boat the night before and this was the first lock they'd seen - apart from a model in the office. It also transpired that they had waited nearly 2 hours for their 'turn' up the flight. They'd moored the boat way back and joined (or so they thought) the queue on foot.
No flies on me; I said we'd take them up and explain how it all worked if  they would provide some muscle.

It didn't work as well as you might hope! We strapped the hire to MR which, in theory, left me and 6 others to crew. Hmmmm. Mum and Dad didn't get off the boat and I couldn't separate the other 4. I think they were in lurvve! Finally, I persuaded them to work 2 either side whilst I went up and reset but they were sooo slow...lovely, but slow. The pair behind us with only two crew were catching up and helping us - but they were very good natured about it.

This incident slowed us all up: mother duck and chicks swam into the lock ahead of us; not much you can do with the boats strapped, so we decided to bring the whole lot up slowly but then they, somehow, scurried out of the back of the boats and we opened the gates again to free them!
By lock 6 out of 7 I managed to persuade one of the crew to leave his lady and come up with me to set the top lock up at The New Inn. Coming up to the lock another boat pulled off a mooring in front of our pair which meant re-setting the lock for them and then re-setting it again for us so I 'phoned down to G to warn him to hold off as there would be quite a delay. He commiserated, but I said not to worry as I was enjoying a nice pint of Pedigree whilst working the lock - he said something extremely rude!

I did take pity on him and hand him down a pint of Hobgobblin when he eventually reached me; only after he'd grovelled a bit though.

Hopefully our budding boaters would reach the Watford flight a bit more competent or else the queue of waiting boats would reach Norton Junction and beyond. It is difficult though, they are on holiday and you can't give them orders - I already felt that my 'suggestions' were getting a little forceful in my frustration.
Now John on NB Ellen seems more than a little intrigued by MR's new sewage pipe work. Sad, but you know how all boaters love to talk poo; well just a little more patience John and I shall explain all on the next blog (if I don't forget)


  1. Our trip up the Buckby wasn't much better with a rude grumpy git of a man that didn't speak after the first "I'll have you know we have been doing this for 23 years and know what we are doing!" This after one of his crew started opening the gate I had closed behind Yarwood who was waiting in the lock... I was left to struggle with one side of the lock leaving him with his crew on the other side. A most unpleasant trip sadly...And, yes and, the New Inn was closed!
    X Lesley

    1. I'm mega impressed that you managed to operate the gates by yourself - especially after all the weight that you've lost. I can't see where people get off on being so miserable.
      At least my lot were happy and hopeless AND the pub was open x