Monday 18th April 2016
Lapworth to Earlswood
5.25 miles, 14 locks, 2 lift bridges
Yesterday was a very long day - this was the dogs this morning and all they had done was go out to do what good dogs have to do first thing and had breakfast. And no, Monty is not allowed on the furniture at home, but the boat is such a small space we find he is less in the way up there. Well that is his excuse and he is sticking to it!!
It really is a very hard life.
As I walked back to deposit some rubbish this morning I met a VLK working another boat up the flight - he did tell me it was a long walk to the rubbish bins which I knew, but these are the last bins until Tardebigge a couple of days away, so needs must. He said that he would come back and give us a hand once he had the current boat to the top. Well sure enough we did meet up with him at lock 9 (we started at 14), but by that time he was helping a Canaltime boat down and said if it was all right with us he would stay with them as he felt we were more 'well versed' than they were!!
As you can see Chris is working this lock and as you have probably gathered that is not that common as I do most of the locks - mainly due to Chris' arthritic knee and dodgy shoulders. However, I was so tired at the end of yesterday, Chris did give me a lot of help today which was much appreciated. It of course meant I was left on the boat with Chris on the side and we found that Monty just stood and barked at me whereas he rarely does that to Chris. At the next lock I took Monty back on board and he was as quiet as a mouse. Now when I am on the tow path and he is on the boat with Chris he 'sings' for all he is worth. We have to assume that he sees his place is with me. Now does he think I cannot manage alone or is it a protection thing?
This is a 'spindle' on a 'turnover' bridge (one where the tow path swaps from one side of the canal to the other). I am not entirely sure how it worked, but I gather the rope from the horse to the boat went round this to stop it getting tangled as they crossed over. I am happy to be corrected if anyone knows the exact usage.
There was a road at this lock so they were told to 'sit and stay' on the non road side. Only one sat, but they did both stay.
This is the first of the two lift bridges and Chris offered to give it a go - I was not going to argue as I know how hard this one is! 40 or so very hard turns. I somehow doubt he will offer again!
It was bad timing for this farmer who arrived and had a fairly long wait for the bridge to go up, me to drive through and the bridge to lower before
he could make his way across.
We had two more stops before we moored at Earlswood - the first at Hockley Heath for me to pop up to the shop for basic supplies and a paper. There was a party of school children helping a C&RT employee repair the path. It certainly needs some attention as it is very muddy round there.
These are waiting their turn to 'have a go'
The second stop was for me to pop up to Wedges for a few vege (the local shop in Hockley Heath has a very limited supply of vege) and a chocolate éclair for Chris.
And yes it really is as big as it looks!