Yesterday I walked the dogs to the bottom of the Buckby flight and passed this strange boat. I suppose it could look quite pretty if woven with flowers in the spring.
We nipped into Whilton Marina and, on leaving, checked there was no-one coming down and lifted the paddle on the bottom lock to empty it as we walked across to fetch the boat up. Just as I was pulling out people appeared, closed the paddle and re-filled it! Despite shouting up and honking the horn they didn't seem to hear. Oh well. It meant all but the leakiest of the locks were with us and the sun was shining again. It was 11.15 as I, finally, pulled into the bottom lock
I lurked in the pounds letting G walk on with the dogs and get the gates open - no wind to speak of so it was a doddle with the sun on my back. He had to flush some water down for me into one of the pounds which was very low but, as long as I stuck to the middle and went slowly it was OK
We left the top lock exactly 2 hours later - not a record but a damn site quicker than when we last came down them with a new boater trying to open all the paddles simultaneously and leaving me stuck on the bottom.
G had wanted to do the Watford flight as well but I wasn't keen as you really don't want to be cruising beyond 2.30 at this time of the year - not if you don't have to - it gets too cold. I thought that mooring up and going for a pint was a much better idea and G didn't take much persuading
So we turned right in to the Leicester Arm and moored two boats up from NB Tacet - no sign of Ian and Karen though
the menagerie made free with the working boat behind which we'd last chatted to (the owner not the boat) in Braunston. There is a cat living on this boat and they'll get their come uppance if they're not careful.
As we walked back onto the mainline for the afore mentioned pint a chap in an old trad NB was making heavy weather of approaching the top lock. As we caught up with him he asked if we knew how he could get his boat into the side. G took his front rope and told him what to do. He said he had just bought the boat and was going down the flight. His girlfriend and 8 month old baby were sitting in the front. I couldn't understand why he was pulling into the side as one gate was open ready for him.
We sat down with a pint and, eventually, saw him cross the lock and open the other gate and then bring the boat in and close both gates. He then tied both fore and aft lines to the lock bollards and was about to empty the water out from under the boat!
At this point G abandoned his pint and intervened before he sunk the boat with girlfriend and baby on board. There followed a gratefully received crash course in boating and locking whilst I got stuck into a second pint. Joking apart, that was going to be a serious accident. He was a young Portuguese chap who had never been on a boat before, had not received any kind of instruction and was heading down to moor on the Lee and Stort.