Friday, September 23, 2011

Fun and games at Buckby

Thursday 22nd September

We arrived at Braunston dry dock to find Tim re-fitting Jannock’s front fender Jannock in the drydock prior to letting the water back in to re-float her. He had nothing untoward to report about her hull condition except that the front and rear anodes (fitted 2000) will need replacing when she’s next blacked. We left the dock and made our way to the next lock where a single boat had just ascended. I called to the steerer to try and determine whether anything was coming down and got a ‘Yes’ as the answer. OK, so he now knows we are following him, I wonder if he’ll wait. The answer was no, they continued up through Nelson lock solo. Meanwhile, while we waited for the northbound boat to descend through the lock, another two boats joined us waiting to go up and so we ended up sharing the rest of the flight with an ABC hireboat. However, at the next lock the single boat had decided to wait until they saw two boats coming up together at which point they carried on regardless so we never got chance to offer to share so that the ABC boat could return to it’s original partner. One of their crew did not want to pass through the tunnel, she had walked over the top when they came the other way but Brenda persuaded her to stay aboard the boat. It stopped before the tunnel to let her off but she decided to remain on board and was proud that she had overcome her anxiety.

We arrived at Buckby top lock and Peter the lockie asked us to wait until another boat arrived. Eventually the same ABC crew arrived and so we shared this flight with them as well. At lock 9 their oil warning light and buzzer came on and so they wanted to stop. Knowing that there is better access at the bottom of the flight we breasted up with them and Brenda brought them down through locks 9, 10 and 11 whilst they phoned Gayton marina for advice. By lock 12 the ABC engineer had asked the crew to do some checks on their engine and then declared that the oil pressure switch was faulty and that they could continue using the engine. We separated the boats again and continued the flight independently.

All the time we were descending Buckby flight we were accompanied by a nice old couple who were walking along the towpath alongside us. She was keen to see what was happening and how the water was let our through the paddles and he was carefully explaining everything to her as they went. By lock 13 (bottom lock) I had found out that he had been the Buckby lock keeper for thirty-odd years and had lived in the cottage at the bottom lock. He told me how the blacksmiths Norton Junction forge that used to be behind the building, accessed through the low arch, was where the Buckby windlass was made and that he had been presented with the last one ever made there. I asked if he still possessed it but he said he had given it away years ago. He also told me how when the cottage right beside the lock was sold by BW, they included all the grass right up to the lock edge in the sale. Consequently, when he went to cut it a few days after the new owner had moved in, he was told off because it was not BW property anymore.

Once through the locks and onto the long pound we had lunch on the move and then found a suitable fourteen day mooring to leave Jannock on as I will be away learning how to do sign writing this weekend.


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