Saturday 1st October
Well here we are in October and needing the factor 30 by 10 am. 28 degrees or thereabouts. At 2 pm we entered Blisworth tunnel where it was a chilly 17 degrees with frequent drips and deluges that cooled Graham down nicely for the locks. As we emerged from the tunnel it became obvious that their ‘Village at War’ event had been declared and so I searched out my boatwoman’s bonnet and put it on for a while. As we stopped to prepare the top lock Graham was ordered by a clip-boarded warden to move the boat nearer the lock in order for the trip boat to be able to access it’s mooring. He pointed out the fast back pump outfall and explained that if we moved forward into that we’d end up in the pub opposite. That in itself would make getting into the lock difficult enough without the hire boat that was bobbing about in the general hoo-haa also waiting for the lock. Mr warden looked very sheepish and went about his characterisation elsewhere. We shared the whole flight of locks with the hireboat using their crew to work the boats through whilst Graham cycled ahead and prepared the next lock. By the bottom lock I had trained their steerer to stay alongside as we moved the two boats between locks together.
We decided to moor up at the bottom of the flight and walk back up to the village to enjoy the war. Mooring was a bit of a problem, insofar as there were none within easy marching distance but then we noticed nb Justice moored there and so we took advantage and moored alongside. Thanks Steve! (incidentally – Kevin of SB says he hopes you’re OK after nearly getting run over) We met up with Sean (sb Laplander), had a quick recce and a look at the black market (they call it vintage clothing, I call it a jumble sale, only the price breaks are different) before deciding on the pub. The place was heaving with soldiers of all nations (including Germans). The yanks looked like the cast of South Pacific and were augmented by the navy. There was even a gentleman trying to sell corsets and parachute silk directoire knickers. Our cider was attacked by a wasp (told you it was hot) and all this militarism was getting to me. so I killed it! I then flicked it towards the cut but it flew like a kamikaze pilot into some poor blokes beer. Oh how they laughed! I offered to buy him another but he declined. What a gent. The people sat next to us had some rather un-pleasant children and were not really looking after them. I decided to make their lives as unpleasant as they were making ours so I bought myself an ice cream. That made the little darlings whine and plead. Result! The ice creams at the Boat are highly recommended. After more drinks, a meal and lots of chat we wandered back down the flight. Graham had promised me a moon lit night, star spangled as there were no clouds. Just as well that I’d taken a torch as the black-out warden had obviously spoken to the man in the moon. I overhead someone saying it was not a night for a dambusters raid – too dark.