Saturday 11th May
21 degrees last Tuesday. Nudging 11 degrees today, with very gusty winds and accompanying showers. Don’t you just love British summertime.
We drove up to Hartshill and were pleased to find an empty parking space in the car park. Loaded Jannock and then set off towards Atherstone. The wind was very gusty causing the occasional issue with navigation when we slowed down to pass moored boats. The bluebell woods looked glorious on the offside. About 1/4 of a mile from Atherstone there is a sunken cruiser on a bend. It does not appear to be tied to the bank although there is plenty of Orange tape draped on steel posts on the towpath beside it. As you approach it drifts towards the centre of the cut forcing you right across to the offside where it’s quite shallow. Once past this obstacle we pulled over above the Atherstone flight and had lunch before tackling the locks. We certainly needed the sustenance.
When the sun came out we upped pegs and set off towards the flight. Atherstone top lock always used to cheer the spirit of boaters and walkers alike as it possessed a notice board that was the fount of all knowledge, most of it silly. Wise words and scatological ditties were to be found there. Most importantly it always told you how many days were left until Christmas. All for the want of a lock keeper.
Once we were in the top lock it was not so much Round the Horne as around the horn. We fought the wind all the way, the rain fair stung our faces at times. The flight was quite busy and so plenty of slow speed manoeuvring was called for. Some of it successful. I was using the bike to set the next lock whilst we worked through the last. The single-hander in front of us had a volunteer lockie working him down. When we passed through the 5th lock both lockies were sat in the hut eating their fish and chip lunches. Then I found myself assisting the single-hander in front of us.
Once through the flight I decided the weather was so bad that we would moor up opposite Grendon Dock and wait for it to improve before continuing towards Polesworth. After a refreshing cup (or two) of tea and some dry clothes the sun appeared again so we continued our journey. By 4:45 we had moored on the north side of Polesworth just as the wind and rain set in again. We were on the end of the moorings immediately behind Phyllis May II, the legendary Darlingtons and narrow dogs.
Last night, after we had gone to bed, a very noisy group a pi$$ed youths came along the towpath being very argumentative. I was roused from my dozing and prepared myself to get up when there was a very loud thump against Jannock. There was no evidence of anything being broken and they continued walking and arguing on their way and so I returned to my bed and waited for the morning to see what had been thrown at us. In the morning it became apparent that one of said youths had booted the side of our boat and left a lovely footprint but no other damage. I hope it hurt him!
In blue skies and a north wind we completed our shortest cruising day ever. Just enough sun to raise our vitamin D and lower our blood pressure a tad. Brenda spotted this duck family on the towpath as we approached the bridge at Alvecote but unfortunately the male took flight and ruined the group photo. We moored up and left Jannock before midday as there were things to do and places to go.