A few days have passed, mostly in pouring rain and time spent watching Harry Potter, waiting for the rain to stop.
This large family of swans were hanging hopefully around the boat as we were setting off for the top two locks. I don't tend to feed swans as they are so ungrateful. They get really ratty when you stop so it's easier not to start in my opinion. There are enough people throwing bread at them!
Coming into Stoke Breuerne on a Monday morning is a lot quieter than on a weekend! The last time I did this there was a sea of faces looking over the lock at the boat and me. Paddy went ballistic. It's made worse by the fact that there is a very large weeping willow hanging over the opening of the lock so that you can't really see what's ahead of you until you are there. This was much nicer.
We stopped to get water and John popped over to the museum to buy a mug to replace the one he broke a few weeks ago. He wasn't getting away with that!
We stopped at Wheedon Bec as there was a small Tesco there and I needed a few bits and pieces and John decided it was time he went down the weed-hatch while I was gone. I got back and he was still struggling with it. Someone had kindly allowed their rotten cheap tarpaulin to get into the canal and it was wrapped around the prop. It was coming away pretty much strand by strand and John was getting hot and bothered and was aching as it's not a comfy position to have to be in, plus feeling around under cold canal water isn't something that you'd choose to do. I stayed and tried to give him some moral support, but there's only so much you can do. So I took Paddy out for a walk and got back to find him still under there, still pulling strands of blue out of the water. It took him two hours in the end and even then there were some bits that had more or less welded themselves on, which he had to abandon.
We stayed there for the night.
Yesterday morning was horrible so we curled up and watched the fourth Harry Potter DVD, had lunch and then started off. It had looked as if it was getting better but it actually started to come on heavy again once we were going but we wanted to get to the top of the Buckby Locks somehow.
As we had set off there was a boat behind us in the distance, it quickly caught us up and obviously didn't believe in slowing down for moored boats as every time we did, it caught us up again. Infuriating. John said he was a tosser but unfortunately when we got to the bottom of the locks, we had just missed a boat going up and this bloke came up and asked if he could come up with us? What was I meant to say? With hindsight I should have said that we were going to catch up the boat in front at the next lock but because I couldn't think of anything else to say I said yes. Ignore the next bit, it's just me having a rant, start again at *
What a mistake that was. John and I have got a good system for going up the double locks and it works well. By now it was pouring down. This bloke was on his own. Normally not a problem, Jason where are you now?? This chap was the slowest most pedantic person on God's earth. he did nothing to help apart from closing his gate when he came out of a lock, so John was having to empty the lock, open both the bottom gates, close both of the gates and then open the paddles, then walk up to the next lock to start again.. Occasionally this chap managed to get himself up to open his paddle but it was such a palaver. He told me he was an experienced sailor.....he might have been but not on a narrow-boat.
John and I were getting wetter and wetter, John was getting more and more tired. I eventually tried to shame this guy into getting on with things telling him that John was doing all the work, he said something about not doing things quickly and that was how he'd got to be 69. I pointed out that John was 71 and doing all the work. I then turned my back and ignored the nasty little man.
John of course continues getting on with it all, he'd rather do all the work and get the job done, but I get infuriated on his behalf. We've had so many single handed moorers double up with us, and they almost all pull their weight, not this guy. I was never so pleased to get out of a top lock and sail away as I was yesterday.
*We got ourselves onto the Leicester arm and moored up as soon as we can. We were absolutely soaked right through.
Today we did much the same, Harry Potter in the morning, lunch and then we got through the Watford Locks.
Narrow locks - oh joy! Even better because there is a staircase of four locks in the middle of the seven so there's a lock-keeper to tell you what to do!
Looking up the staircase.
Looking down the staircase towards the bottom two locks.
There was one big difference when we moored today. John had lit a fire earlier and it was HOT in the boat. So lovely to come in to. Hard to believe it's August.
We're hoping for better weather tomorrow and we have a long lock free stretch to do. (Sorry about the rant)