|David with a couple of the gifted ciders - Julia claimed the one closest to the camera as it wasn't a fruit one ...|
|An orchid for me - how lovely!|
Now how kind is that? Thank you, Dale, much appreciated! I gave Dale's wife the address of the blog, so I hope that she and Dale, Mark and Nigel have read about their good work!
Later I wondered why the horse had given up trying to stay in the water, and thought that maybe the big reverse thrust that swished water around its hind quarters made it think that the canal wasn't so benign after all. So if there was going to be any more swirling it had best be out of there! Do horses know the word 'benign'?
We moved on from Kilby Bridge yesterday morning heading for Fleckney. There are about 12 locks to climb through in a couple of flights - not all of them are close together, but they are certainly good to be using the bikes between. So David and Julia set off on wheels while Mick and I brought the boats along.
At the first lock we caught up to a single hander and I asked him if he'd be prepared to let us through and our land-based crew would crack each lock for him as we left it - that would help him and would mean we could move along speedily. David and Julia were happy to assist him, and in some cases one of them waited for him, opened the gate, closed it and started filling the lock so he could climb up and finish off. That made his life easier and didn't delay us at all - mainly because David and Julia are very efficient.
All was going well until we came to Spinney Lock, where three things combined to cause hassles - in particular for me. Mick was in the lead with Julia at the lock, David was cleaning up at the lock behind us and emptying the lock for our single-handing friend. The lock we were approaching had a boat coming into it from above:
- there were two boats in the lock above that whose skippers didn't want to wait to let us come through and hence only use one lock-load of water, but came down the lock with the result that the short pound was overflowing with water cascading over the lockgates in front of us before the boat got in and Julia could close the gates;
- there was a boat tied up on the lock landing - AAARRRGGGHHH!!! And not only that, the boater had a mooring rope tied across the the path to the fence!!! That really riled me up, as it's the sort of thing that David would not see, especially while on his bike - if he'd ridden into it, he would have been tipped off. AAARRRGGGHHH!!!
- Mick managed to get in in front of him, but there was no space behind it for me to tie up, so I jumped off to hold the boat in to the shore (unable to tie up). However then the lock started to empty and I couldn't pull the boat in to shore, and what's more I couldn't hold it steady - it started moving backwards to where I could not get back on it. I had to call for Mick to come and help haul it in.
- when he came up across the bridge yelling at me and asking what my problem was and what business of mine it was where he moored, the resulting altercation (almost all my own work - not my finest hour) was loud and forceful with him ending up throwing my water glass into the stern area of my boat and telling me I was a shit, telling Mick (as I steered out of the lock) that all women are mouthy but I was worse than most (probably not wrong there)
- interestingly he had three explanations for why he was moored on the lock landing:
- his engine was bust (David)
- he arrived late the previous night and his hip was bad (me)
- he arrived late and his back was bad and he hadn't woken till the first boat went through (that boat had set off from Kilby Bridge about half an hour before we did) (Mick)
- so if he'd woken when the first boat came through (probably about 10.30 - not the crack of dawn by any stretch), what stopped him getting up and moving then? Was it perhaps because he lacks consideration for the rules and for other people?
Still hindsight is a wonderful thing, and at least I know that I don't scare easily, even when faced with a big angry shouting man.