Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Good Deed Day

Monday 16 September

Hockley Heath to Lowsonford
4.75 miles, 29 locks, 2 swing bridges

We cast off just after an Alvechurch hire boat so were expecting a very slow trip down the 29 locks, but they told us they had never done any locks before, so they would prefer it if we would go ahead.  Their good deed and ours was to show them how to do the swing bridges and once we were through the first lock I stayed behind to help them through.  They said that seeing it done was much better than the DVD they saw twice at the boatyard!  They had come all the way from Australia and we hope they enjoy their holiday.

We set off with blue skies and most of the day was dry and bright, but there were a few very squally wet showers. 

Our next good deed was also a pleasure – to spend some time chatting to a gentleman who was, well let me say, a good few years our senior.   

He was out walking and helped me with some gates and even did some winding of a lock paddle.  He explained to me that narrow boating was also his hobby, but he had not been out for a year – the reason was that he has lost his wife and she was the skipper.  He had some useful information on where water and elsan facilities were to be found.

The final good deed – whilst filling with water just below lock 21 an Anglo Welsh boat came and joined us (going up rather than down).  They were hoping to find some shops as they had no working fridge and were in dire need of milk.  Shops were not going to be easy for them and we had plenty of milk, so a sufficiency was handed over. 

There were a lot of boats coming up, so mostly our passage was easy.  At lock 21 there was a queue of three waiting to go up.  No such delays for us I am glad to say.  We had thought of stopping at the moorings by lock 25, but they are rather too near the M42 

for our liking, so we went on to Lowsonford.  Well not that close, but you get the idea!

We had to go to the pub for WiFi and the only way I could talk to Boatwif and the Captain from nb Cleddau (they are due to meet us at Wootton Wawen on Wednesday) was to go to the end of the car park!  Modern technology – I did ask in the pub if they had a payphone, but ‘no’.  Possibly the same at most pubs these days?

The Lapworth flight is very pretty,

First barrel roofed cottage

 but the gates are very heavy.  The bottom gate at the last lock almost defeated me, but I won the day.  We met a VLK (volunteer lock keeper), Chris, at the mid point and his help through one lock was appreciated. 
 He said there was another at the top and one at the bottom, but they seem to have missed us! The paddles are easier to wind than Tardebigge, but I prefer the Tardebigge gates – they are a bit higher and you can push with your bottom rather than leaning over and pushing.  I am also not that keen on climbing across the top of the gate, but slowly does it.

This photo is for Lynn!  Probably the only time that Chris will get the camera, so make the most of it! Please note that I am smiling!

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