Monday 19th September
Whilst we were waiting above Braunston bottom lock, I assisted crews at the lock to pass the time. A new hirer appeared and his boat entered the empty lock soon afterwards. I held back from shutting the other bottom gate as another boat was approaching. “That’s nice” he said ”it’s pleasant courtesy to share a lock I suppose” I explained that it was not courtesy but the current rules and pointed to the BW notice on the balance beam that stated that boats should wait, for up to 1 hour, for another sharer to come along before starting the flight. He read it and said it couldn’t apply to hire boats as they had paid for their holiday and would not want to waste it hanging around. Once the bottom gates were closed he went off to open the top paddles regardless of any steerers readiness. Apple bobbing sprang into my mind so as we chatted I slipped in that it was a courtesy to check that both steerers are ready before adding water to a lock. “Why?” was the response so I then explained the dangers involved and that people can get hurt. “Oh no” he said very gently “we don’t want to hear about things like that. We are on holiday. You are just joking …… “ I assured him that I was not and explained last year’s fatality at Cropredy. He really didn’t listen any more. It was only after they had gone into the second lock, pretty well sideways, that G and I heard that we had only just missed another boater being taken off by Air Ambulance after falling off her boat that very morning and their boat was tied up outside UCCs office at the end of the lock landing. I bet Mr Newby takes more care about his choice of lunch sandwich than his crews safety! We should all take care to support our Air Ambulances charities.