All these wildfowl nature reserves are a bad influence on Graham. He was up with the lark today; he’d prepped breakfast, tidied away weeks of his “stuff” and finished washing the roof before I surfaced. To make matters worse he worked out how to secure the new washing line so that gravity is no longer a problem. I wouldn’t mind but I’m not even the ‘owl’ to his ‘lark’. The heron in the picture here was just over the bank from our mooring.
We coasted into the Rushden and Diamonds FC moorings to find that the services are still closed as the football club has gone into administration. No, I don’t understand that either. The Doc Martins factory shop is also closed – manufacture moved to China. Onto the lock when Graham’s phone rang. He was listening intently and looking negative. I assumed problems at home and cut the engine so that he could hear better. When it was time to re-start – no go! I went through the drill, No go! Much to my astonishment the engine stop button broke off in my hand. We pulled Jannock from the lock using the rope and lock wall chain and Graham went into the engine bay. The earth wire to the starter solenoid had broken, the problem and I’d just made it so that we could neither stop nor start now. Good thing Graham is an engineer because he held the earth wire to chassis and the engine started.
Oh, the phone call? The Environment Agency were letting us know that the dead fish were due to the weed cutting de-oxygenating water with already low oxygen levels. “One of those things, sadly” We were thanked for our call, the only one about the incident, the officer wondered how many people had seen the situation and done nothing. At Upper Ringstead lock the pollution plot thickened. Graham asked some E.A. weedcutters, taking lunch, if they knew of a chandlery and explained how our stop knob broke. They were most upset at weedcutters being implicated in the Piscicide as they routinely check Oxygen levels before cutting and knew that the small cutter at Whiston Lock to be less of a problem than their huge one. He demonstrated that the Oxygen levels could cope and asked us for our Incident number in order to check out the situation. He suspected sewage pollutants.
We stopped at Thrapston for water and provisions, a useful little town with most things you might need including a vet. Post Office on the river side of town, large Co-op and chippy at top end. Banks etc. are there to. We had to reverse into the Thrapston mooring in order to breast up to a boat already there. Frank and Sheila made us welcome alongside and put up with Graham fixing the starting and stopping mechanisms whilst the water tank filled. When I returned from the shops the beers had been broken out.
At Islip lock a rather tatty cruiser approached as we entered. We waited for them to come in and had to wave them alongside. Their refusal to share was based upon the advice given when they picked up this, their first boat. Never share with a narrowboat, they will crush you. We put them right, they joined Jannock and lived to tell the tale.
We moored for the night at another nature reserve which gave us the view shown below from our outside dining area (the fold down cratch table)