Monday 12th August
We set of from Lapworth in diminishing sunshine, Hatton flight was the challenge for today. As we approached Shrewley tunnel we watched two walkers progress being severely impeded by the biggest flock of ducks we have ever seen on a towpath. On the other side of the canal was another flock, all in the water, heading towards the towpath side. Obviously a mega-flock, they were all youngsters in their first adult plumage. More ducks than Waitrose!
As we entered the top lock at Hatton a dog walker was telling her companion that this was the last of the flight. She smiled and asked us "how many of these locks have you done today?" "None, I answered", "why's that then?" she enquired. I tried very hard not to be sarcastic and just said "this is the first one of the flight". "Oh yes" she agreed - ho hum!
The Hatton cafe is looking resplendant, hanging baskets all blooming. It's a shame that vandals chose to trash all their lovely bedding plants the other night. Gits! Lets hope they were captured on CCTV.
Volunteer Ron was working today - a locksmurf! - thanks Ron. John (with his bike) took over from Ron and stayed with us for the whole flight. At the point the pounds started lengthening he announced that he was going for his lunch but would be back. We pulled over and had our lunch as well. John arrived back just as we were entering the next lock after our lunch. Thanks loads John, you helped for the whole flight.
As we were leaving Leamington spa we met many on-coming hire boats - usually at bridge holes. The novices manouvred well considering the bends and shallows. I spotted what looked like a Wyvern shipping boat with a huge RAF ensign fluttering on the front. I chivvied up through the bridge and then slowed as he was moving across the cut. It seems it's not a hireboat but now a live aboard, so the skipper should know better. He yelled at us for not hurrying up through the bridge to get out of HIS way as his boat doesn't steer very well when going slow. His beer can fluttered about as much as his ensign. Perhaps he should become a little more skilled and less gobby, and not bring the RAF into disrepute with his flag.
Funnily enough, the Trafalgar, the Royal Navy's own narrowboat wasn't far behind. What a cheery and polite bunch they were (as always). We moored up at Radford Semele fourteen day moorings and Graham fetched the car from Lapworth. The ‘no knead’ bread that Brenda made yesterday was really good for our lunch today.