Wednesday 17th July
We started today with our good deed, taking a cuppa to the lass in the camping canoe who had moored for the night at the end of our moorings. We offered her use of our facilities but she declined. Then she returned our mug and asked if we’d mind filling up her thermos with hot water as it would save her having to get her stove out etc. We got a bargain! While we waited for the kettle to boil we had an interesting chat. She is an explorer by nature, a traveller, she spends half her life that way. She goes about the world on foot, by bicycle and is now travelling the UK canals. She started from Leighton Buzzard, in May, in an inflatable canoe. It proved too stressful as she was well aware that anything floating or overhanging were potential boat-busters. A long term friend in Luton mentioned that he had a Kayak and his dad had a canoe. She could chose which she borrowed. Familiar with England ( she has a German/Nordic accent) she has become entranced by the canal system. She says it is like another country hidden within, different places and different people> She was going to Nantwich today to meet up with friends before heading across the Middlewich arm – destination the Peak Forest canal. She asked about travelling on the River Trent by canoe, we suggested she did some more research and even contacted CaRT before going to play with the gravel barges.
We proceeded through the five locks left before reaching the Hurleston flight where we went straight into the top lock with me steering and Brenda working the gates. Has our voyage been too long? Have we been in too much sun? Once onto the Shroppie we headed for the nearest big tree for a siesta and a Seaplane flew over head!
Once on the move again we passed Arun, belonging to a fellow Cutweb member, moored on the side. No sign of life but all looked well. We got to Hack Green locks at 5:30. The sun was starting to go down but the temperature was still rising. Now 35.5 degrees in the lounge area. Despite nubile young women in itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny- we’re on a narrowboat- hot bikinis it occurred to Brenda that Bobby Goldsboro could never have sung his oh so evocative song “summer, the first time” on the English canals – Scorchio!
By 6:30 the weather began to cool, so we decided to ascend two locks into Audlem, leaving the other eleven for tomorrow. Brenda mucked up the entry into the second lock. Having allowed for the outlet of an energetic by-wash she didn’t notice the out-pouring from where the by-wash had partially collapsed beyond with more water rushing out – CRUNCH – Ouch.