Saturday 2nd May
Today was national ‘Be Nice’ day, everybody that we met was nice and pleasant.
During last night, the two gas bottles in use ran out. Therefore we awoke to a cold boat. I went out and swapped over to the next two and spotted a diesel boat coming down the cut. He stopped to fill the boat moored in front of us with diesel so I took the opportunity to replace the two empty 13kg cylinders without having to lug them along a towpath.
After breakfast we set off and followed a pair of boats up through Berkhamstead lock. As we were leaving another single boat arrived to ascend so I told them we would wait for them at Gas 2 so we could share the Northchurch flight. They stayed with us all the way up to the summit where they pulled over to visit the chandlery whilst we ate our lunch and travelled on to Bulbourne.
We arrived at Marsworth and waited a bit before setting off down the top lock solo. As I was working Jannock through, Keith the friendly volunteer lock keeper arrived at the second lock down and started setting it ready for us. When we arrived there he introduced himself, enquired what our names were and then used them in every conversation with us to the bottom of the flight – almost wore them out he did! A foreign family (Dutch?) were watching with interest as we passed through the first couple of locks and assisted with some gates so we invited their two children to sit in the foredeck for a trip through the lock. They were then replaced by a Dad and his two year old son for the next lock. All the time Keith was setting ahead whilst I worked Jannock through and managed the gongoozlers. When ever we caught Keith up he warned Brenda about the cross winds on the flight. She assured him that she had coped with worse at this very location and she would be fine. She was and Keith got a bit sheepish. Not that windy at all today. I offered him a beer to take home at the bottom lock but he announced that he was tee-total. With a total lack of wind, a good lock setter and no other boats on the flight that was the best passage down Marsworth that we’ve ever had.
We continued past Marsworth and down another four locks before mooring for the night, out in the sticks, below Seabrook locks. Lovely and quiet here.