Sunday 31 May 2015

Not s'warm

After a night parked rather illegitimately, we needed to get away before anyone noticed or was inconvenienced. There was little further motivation for speed, since the weather was decidedly unpleasant and the forecast promised it might clear up around coffee time. We compromised, and were on our way by about 9.30. With full weather gear. We came down the lock whose hospitality we had abused, round the corner that is the southernmost post of the Trent and Mersey and headed up to Fradley, the junction with the Coventry Canal. At the first couple of Fradley's five locks some volunteers were just coming on shift – some useful additional help. Then it was through the lock where I split my head open on the hatch two years ago and on towards Alrewas.

Beyond Alrewas the River Trent and the canal join forces for a few hundred yards. We'd decided not to bother with life jackets for this section, as it's fairly benign. We weren't reckoning with a crazy boater speeding towards us round a corner and forcing us right over onto the weir. The problem is not so much the protective structure strung across the river just before the drop – it's all the debris that collects against it. We came with a hard thud against an enormous half-submerged tree trunk and for a while I thought I wasn't going to get free. The extraordinary thing is that these boaters weren't a party of gung-ho young hirers on a stag weekend. They were a fairly senior couple (by which I mean our sort of age) with their own boat. I haven't a clue what they were thinking of.

Well, we're still here to tell the tale and have moored up at a favourite spot on this stretch – Branston water park. That's further than CanalPlan thought we might get, but I've usually found their calculations a little conservative. As we were getting settled we were bombarded with noise from the park – it's normally a haven of rest and quiet. Investigation showed this:

Now since I was about a hundred yards away, or more, and under cloudy conditions, I reckon that's another success for my new camera. These radio-controlled racers make a noise out of all proportion to their size.

Neither buzzing, nor really a swarm, but yesterday and today we've been invaded by loads of insects who've decided that, cold or not, it's the end of May and they'd better get busy. They're innocuous, they don't bite and they don't make a noise, but in flight they remind us of the carpet moths we've been dealing with at home, and when they settle they look like mosquitos. So they are the recipients of several layers of prejudice and end up squashed, when we can catch them. I firmly believe they have no conscious objection to this, or I might think twice.

As I write this, the sky has finally cleared, but we've probably had enough fresh air for one day. It's a nice spot, and we're sitting down for a bit.


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