Sunday 9th September
When we surfaced this morning we found that not only had Linda left early to head back to London but also Neil had set off south down the Trent and Mersey solo. We set off at 9am and made our way to Derwent mouth lock where we found a Canaltime boat that had just entered and were waiting for us to join them in the ascent. Once through the lock they decided to pull over to have their breakfast and so we continued on to Shardlow lock alone and then shared with another Canaltime boat with an Australian crew, once we had made our way to the front of the queue.
We changed partners several times during our passage through all the double locks but each one involved yet another queue to get in. One Canaltime boat had a French crew who appeared to speak no English. Their reputation went before them on the towpath telegraph and luckily we managed to overtake them whilst they were taking on water above Weston lock.
We continued down through Burton, past the wonderful mural under the bridge at Dallow lock, with the sky becoming cloudier and the wind increasing until we finally stopped for the night at Branston water park.
Today I have realised the foolishness of agreeing to share three short journey days with Neil and Linda on Earnest. Those missing hours plus the time lost in queuing today is making our schedule a bit tight which is not what either Brenda or I really wanted on our holiday. I feel a couple of early starts coming up in order to try and make up some time and get back on schedule.
Last Thursday evening Brenda picked a load of nice blackberries in the country park at Birstall. She made some blackberry muffins yesterday and tonight we had an excellent blackberry fool for desert.