Saturday, June 07, 2014

All weathers

Saturday 7th June 

We loaded the car at home in the pouring rain, we drove through more rain to Aldermaston and then moved our stuff onto Jannock in the rain. Once we had most stuff stowed we had a cup of tea, the rain then stopped so we set off at 11:20am.

First obstacle of the day was Woolhampton rosecottage at Woolhamptonswing bridge and lock. G set the lock with both gates open and then returned to open the bridge so that I could bring Jannock straight in without having to stop. As I set off, two more boats appeared behind us so G held the bridge open for them to pass through as well. They said they were stopping on the pub moorings for lunch so we ascended through the lock on our own. Just as we were leaving their crew arrived at the lock as they had decided to move up to the moorings above the lock and return to the pub by foot.

G spotted another boat approaching above the lock so asked them to stop turning it. It’s steerer ignored our signals and then proceeded to moor up for lunch so G felt foolish at stopping the other crew from turning the lock.

As we passed we suggested they may have signalled to us that they didn’t want the lock only to be told that they had done – but only after it had happened – and with a demonstrated hand signal that was basically what waiters do, with a flourish, as they open your napkin for you in swanky hotels. <Lamb and preserved lemon tagine aboard tonight, what know we about knappery?>

At Neales lock we noticed a hole in the brickwork of the downstream throat. A wagtail flitted in, home. After a minute there was an avian kerfuffle at the entrance to the hole and two wagtails burst out. The first seemed to fall before sorting itself out and flying off. The second was graceful and in control, returning toward home. We realised that we’d just witnessed a wagtail fledge, more like being chucked out though.

At Colthrop lock G spotted the plaque (below left) stating that the gates were 1990made in 1990 with various contributions yet the gates were2007 also


sporting a BW Bradley 2007 plate. Methinks the original plaque has now been fitted to replacement gates.

At Monkey Marsh lock we were helped through by a chap who patrols this stretch of the canal. G remembers him from way back when he used to take lunchtime walks to get out of the office. A dedicated volunteer – pre CaRT.

The river was flowing quite fast through Newbury and I knew I’d have to fight the by-wash at Newbury lock. The good news was that the lock was open with one boat already inside, so we signalled to not close the gate. The bad news was that only one gate was open and there wer e dozens of gongoozlers. Again I gunned the engine, again I just got away with it. It was our last lock of the day and the only lockshare. G helped a little crew member work the paddle and then, much to my surprise, no-one batted an eyelid when said 5 year old accompanied G up to the swingbridge beyond. Will all responsible adults please put their hands up?

The countryside has been just gorgeous today and it was fitting to hear the closing overs of a cricket in the full evening sunshine as we ate our supper.


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