Sunday was chill out day - my back was dodgy from the Braunston Locks so we'd stayed put just before Norton Junction over the weekend and G started putting up the Christmas decs whilst I prepped Sunday lunch. Then G cooked it whilst I did the dog walk (gosh that North wind was cold) and gathered some greenery to spray with gold spray; so satisfying, but I do now have goldfinger, nails, wrists, etc. At least you can't see the logging dirt under my nails at the mo.
We set off at 9.30am this morning and the sun was glorious - I had multiple layers on as I knew I was going to be on the helm - I don't lockwheel the Buckby flight single handed even when my back's not dodgy - those lock gates are buggers
so off he
trotted walked to set the locks (nearly all against us) whilst I lurked and admired the view
After 2 locks I felt G was capable of multi tasking so I handed over the camera (not up to the dogs as well yet)
all went well, for a while, as we gently worked our way down and then we were warned by a chap walking up the flight with that the next pound was 4 foot down so I pulled over whilst G flushed some water through. At the next lock there was a boat coming up and G walked on towards them leaving me hovering in the lock exit until they came up ..... but they didn't..and then MR sat on the bottom. To cut a long story short, they had opened the top paddles without closing the bottom ones and were emptying all the pounds. G sorted them and they managed to pass us (being of shallower draft) and we asked them to flush water down from the lock before they went up - he then started to head back to the lower lock to open the paddles!!!!!! By now MR is well and truly stranded so G had to climb back up the flight and re-float me.
This photo has been taken from the lock above me, having been re-floated, making a run 'straight down the middle' for the lock below. It later transpired that the couple had just bought the boat from Whilton Marina. Now everyone has to learn (and goodness knows I'm learning), but what was scary about these two is that, not only were they TOTALLY clueless -like they had no idea about how a lock worked - but they had no idea that they were totally clueless and were happily emptying the Grand Union canal.
They were heading for Liverpool evidently - never heard of stoppages and didn't want to believe in them. Causing their own stoppages as they go and clearly believing in canal fairies; rather like the kids used to believe in dishwasher fairies in a former life.
We tried to offer help and advice but they continued happily on their way. In the end G had to leave them and come back to work my last two locks. Extraordinary
Safely down into the next lock we encountered this giant person
He made me smile after all the trauma
My time on the helm was far too long today and a bit too full of incidents for a novice and made me a bit stressed, but our new rope surround (see last blog) earnt it's keep and I didn't wimp out - couldn't really, without swimming or launching the kayak single-handed as there was no way to get to the bank for a crew change!
I have no idea how many hours it took us to get through those 7 locks but we rewarded ourselves with hot chocolate and extra cream (me) and a bacon sandwich and a slice of coffee cake (him) at the superb Whilton Marina Cafe before himself took MR on to Weedon Bec whilst I walked the dogs and calmed down and tried to stretch my back out a bit
I should sleep well tonight - please (my insomnia is getting desperate)