Wednesday 19th August
We left our peaceful overnight mooring (with useful built in 7 o'clock alarm from the scaffold yard opposite) at Brettel Lane Bridge by 9am and made our way to the top of the Stourbridge locks. I used the trusty lock wheeling bike to set locks in front as well as behind for Brian and Diana on Harnser. At lock 3 I met the first set of bottom gates that would not stay shut for re-filling. After running back and forth a couple of times I opened a top paddle before returning again to close the offending bottom gate. Although I did manage this lock on my own I had to enlist the help of a woman walking her dog to get the bottom gates of lock 16 to close even with all the top paddles up.
Above lock 9 there was a BW work boat (reg. no. 4000001 - what a cool number) that was blocking the canal. I climbed on and managed to pull it back across to the offside where I found that the padlock tethering it to a tree had been bolt-cropped. I re-secured it using ropes I found laying around and then had to be rescued from the off-side by Brenda on Jannock who had been worked through lock 8 by Diana. I phoned BW to advise them that it required urgent attention to it's mooring security. Down through the clear waters from Wordsley Junction to lock 17, there were a group of kids jumping and swimming in the canal. As we slowly passed I enquired of them if they were aware of Weil's disease (Leptospiral Jaundice) and then explained to them what it was, how you got it and then wished them good luck. As we left they were busy re-dressing themselves. At lock 17 the local trip boat "the Blackcountry Man" was tied to the lock landing whilst all the customers were partaking of their lunch. Very useful!
Down to Stourton junction where we turned right onto a section of canal that neither Brenda or myself have ever travelled on before. We moored for the night at Hinksford bridge, only after I had reversed across the canal to harvest ripe plums from an overhanging tree before tying up. We are dining aboard Harnser tonight before going to try out the Old Bush up the road.