I left Brum Wednesday morning and managed with the problems mentioned earlier to get as far as Bridge 2 on the Stratford Canal. Thursday saw me at Lapworth worn out. Rather than take a day off I decided to go to Saltisford. I know Keith on Hadar has not been too well so I thought it might be nice to pop in and say hello.
Saltisford for those of you that don't know is an old canal arm at the bottom of the Hatton flight. Of course to get there from Lapwprth one has to traverse the 21 locks in the Hatton Flight. This is no mean task. 21 double locks, very heavy gates and vertical worm drive paddle gear that takes 22 turns of the windlass to raise and in some cases 22 turns to lower. By the time I got down to about lock 10 I was worn out again. That was when the thunder and lightning started coupled with the snow and rain and at the same time as if to mock me glorious bright sunshine throughout. WTF!
When it was over I did two more locks before a chap asked if he could join me the rest of the way down. We tied the two boats together and I drove them while he did most of the leg work. I think we reached the bottom of the flight about 5.30. I was moored up in Saltisford by about 6.30 and went for a cuppa with Keith and Jo.
Poor old Keith has been in the wars. At one time it was touch and go. It was fortuitous that they had recently obtained the residential mooring on the arm and that made things so much easier for Jo. Keith is recuperating now, taking things easy and steadily gaining weight.
After the Hatton I decided to have a rest day. Saltisford has all the facilities one could want. So out came the washing bag. Despite my best efforts I failed with the washing machines and had to be rescued by Jo who is conveniently moored by the laundry. I had managed to completely scramble the brains of two of the machines to the point where they didn’t know which day of the wash it was! Sainsbury’s was just down the road so I stocked up there on essentials choc and cake being the main items.
Sunday saw me on my way. Marie who I had been breasted next to was going to Aldi’s so we shared the two locks on the way. Marie got waylaid at the bottom collecting wood while I continued and met up with 8tch who used to work for OXNB but now works for Kate NBs. 8tch felt the bottom Cape Lock operate so was kind of expecting me to appear. I have been trying all this winter to buy a Nicholson’s Book 3. They are as rare as rocking horse turds. Just by chance I asked 8tch if they had one in the shop as my rather rain soaked muddied copy I bought 8 years ago needed replacing. Yes they did it was £15 my old one was £13.
While in Leominster I moored outside the the Morrings pub. There s a sign that says 48 HOUR FREE MOORING CUSTOMERS ONLY! That was like a red rag to a bull. I bought hinges at Homebase for my folding doors because I have misplaced the ones I had. Two were £3.69 but a pack of eight were less than 9 quid! Go figure!
The hire boat season appears to have started with a vengeance! While having a cuppa before setting off I could hear a boat the other side of the bridge. It took ages to arrive, but when he did he was winning the race. I called out to him that he was travelling too fast to which he replied, “It’s alright I’m mooring here”. What that had to do with the cost of chocolate frogs I don’t know, but he over shot the mooring behind me and with much ado in the reversing department ended up across the canal like a lemon. I called VIKING to report their inane ability to hire boats to fecking idiots! This arse would have travelled a long way at that speed. “Thumb up his arse, picking his nose, he will cause havoc where he goes”.
Being an idiot myself I can’t bear to be in the presence of real experts so I left. Before doing so I picked up my thick black marker pen and amended the customers only sign,
I had a pallet on the back deck which, having fished it out of the canal, I was getting bored with it and needed to dispose of said pallet. I picked up a sandpit cover as well on the way to the next lock where as luck would have it there was a rubbish point. I got up the lock and as I was leaving a lady asked if I would wait at the next lock for them. This proved to be a good idea as we shared the locks al the way to the Blue Lias easy day! It turned out they had already done the Hatton 21 that morning! My heroes!! The day before while I was having a rest day they came up from Stratford 38 locks!
We all spent the night in the Blue Lias well half of it we were bushed (I wont bore you all with the Blue Lias being a type of stone from the local area).