Thursday 2 September 2021

Ain't misbehavin'

It's a great mooring between the two bottom locks of the Napton flight. In the morning I took a bag of rubbish down to the disposal point by the bottom lock, and found four lockies, presumably at least three of them volunteers, standing around doing nothing – very few boats on the move.

I had a bit of chat with them, and then suggested that if they needed something to do to keep the cold and the boredom at bay, one or two of them might like to help my best beloved and me through the six remaining locks of the flight. They looked at me as though I was on another planet! I took that as a No – but it's the first time I've been surprised by anything except the outstanding helpfulness of "volockies".

So we took off up the flight by ourselves, encountering good help on the way from other boaters coming down. Up the Napton locks, and then on through the two Marston Doles locks, where we wanted to take on water. A hire boat was on the point, engaged in using the hose to wash bird poo off the roof. I told them we were coming up – but they were still on the point as we came out of the lock. My power of suggestion was obviously not working this morning. Eventually they finished up, and moved on, but only about 5 yards, tying up still overlapping the water point bollards. As I moved in and connected our hose, I pointed out that they weren't supposed to moor there, but they said they were waiting to turn the boat. After a bit it occurred to me that they had a 60 foot boat, and the guide shows clearly that the winding hole is for 50 foot boats or less. So I checked with them whether they knew how long their boat was, and if they knew about what this winding hole would allow. Mutterings inside the boat endued. No photo – that would be unkind.

We carried on out into the countryside, being surprised, this time, by a herd of water buffalo, definitely behaving', doing what water buffalo do, though not normally in the wilds of Warwickshire.

Is that the local source of mozzarella cheese? A little later, we were able to tie up at the first stretch of armco, in a beautifully isolated spot which will do us very nicely.

And after about half an hour, the hire boat which had been unable to wind came by, at a very sedate, well-behaved tickover. I wonder when we'll see them coming back.


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