Sunday 7th July
… celebrated by boaters who enjoy a bit of mayhem and scratched paintwork. (Take note Pippa!)
And a wedding day – the bride was going to be suitably late as her wonderfully decorated boat was still moored outside The Poacher whilst her guests were gathered at the Lion Quays waterside hotel waiting. Joyous – we suspect she was still in the pub having a shot of courage.
As we passed over the Pontcysyllte aquaduct for the second time this weekend Gladys sat in the front well of the boat and enjoyed the views. We then stopped at the car and off-loaded some of the stuff ready to go home before continuing on through Chirk.
As we exited Chirk tunnel two day boats, teensy ones, were moored across all of the lay by where you wait until the aquaduct is free, two narrowboats were already clinging onto what was left. We asked them to budge up, which they did after a conference, so that we could make space for the two boats following us through. There we two boats coming across the aquaduct – narrowboat sardines!
At New Marton bridge we found ourselves 5th in the queue for the top lock so we had lunch. A crew of Hungarian first timers drew up oblivious of the queue for the lock, even though a boat was just coming out and the first boat was pulling out to enter. They pulled back into the bridge hole without realising that the boat leaving the lock now had no-where to go. After an exercise in bi-lingual tact they eventually got sorted out more-or-less by moving to the offside and holding the boat there out of the way. Hungarians obviously have no Elfin-Safety in their genes. No shoes on, leaping yard wide (sorry metre wide) gaps whilst the boat was still moving, a 10 year old rushing around lockside on a scooter oblivious of ropes and bollards. Then the kids went off to play at the top of the lock by-wash, jumping about in all the slippy weed. My stress level was rising, wondering where an air ambulance could land. The lad walked up the incline of the by-wash and only just pulled his foot back as he was about to step over the edge into the cut whilst the lock was filling with the top paddles open. St. Numpty obviously approved of Jesus’ ability to walk on water.
Once through both locks we moored up under some trees! Needed just to stop us melting whilst tidying up ready to go home.
The kindness of strangers :- When at Grindley Brook last weekend I went into the wonderful shop and cafe’ and chose a couple of postcards of “that aquaduct”. Chatting to the proprietress I explained that they were to mount to give to an ‘older’ friend who would be crossing it with us next weekend, sight unseen as she is a worrier. The lady was quite taken aback that we’d pull a stunt like that, sneaking such altitude and no parachute on the un-suspecting elderly. She explained that she was so nervous of it that she hadn’t plucked up the courage. I was given a box of lovely fudge and another card with all the info about the aquaduct to give to Gladys if she went through with it. It was a bravery award, and well deserved as she walked and cruised Pontcysyllte, then the two tunnels as well as Chirk aquaduct without turning a hair! The ladies of Grindley Brook shop are as lovely as their stock is vast and their food smells delicious.