Tonight we're at Sherbourne Wharf in Birmingham, so I guess I had better rewind a bit to say how we got here, and why nothing got posted last night.
Today has been the easiest day yet with no - yea NO - locks. What a lovely change that made, even if we did have a soaking in a sudden downpour that we could have avoided by spending five minutes longer on our lunch. Lunch today was beans on toast, what luxury, tying up and sitting down at the dining table. Lunch on monday was a bag of chips, and lunch yesterday was a Mars bar. The toast was made possible by my finally figuring out what each of the knobs on the gas stove relates to. It's a very good cooker, but the diagrams have worn off.
Steering a butty turns out to be quite fun, even if we do keep getting told off for doing it wrong. Mostly we are being towed on a short line, which means that we need to steer, but if we do it wrong, it can throw the motor out of position. We do not have an ideal set up as the tiller bar has been broken at some point and is splinted up with metal straps screwed to it. A bigger problem is that where it slots into the elum, it is very loose, and unless wedged up with suitable bits of kindling, the end of the tiller fails to clear the cabin top which as you can imagine is quite detrimental to effective steering. Today was fine because we could hammer some wedges in and leave them there, but the butty tiller has to come out in every lock (failure to do this is probably how it got broken in the first place) and so the bits of wood fall out and fall in the canal every time.
In contrast to Hatton on Tuesday, yesterday we had the single locks of Lapworth, which meant bowhauling. I actually quite enjoy this, although it would have been a lot easier if we'd had a longer rope. The ropes that came with Bakewell are very minimal, and while we have (or possibly had) a lovely long one on Chertsey, we took that to move Singapore, never used it, and managed to leave it behind, along with Chertsey's spare tying up rope, at the boatyard at Walton on the Naze.
Yesterday should have been an easier day than Tuesday, despite the bowhauling, as it was shorter, for a start. But we were all still exhausted, and got off to a late start when Nick's cat, Kat, got chased up a tree, fell part of the way down, and hurt her leg, necessitating finishing the day within walking distance of a vets. Then I banged my knee leaping into the back of the butty, and Jim bashed his pulling the butty into a lock. Nothing serious but it all contributed to a rather fraught day. We tied up in the end, again just as it was getting dark, by the Blue Bell Cider House at Hockley Heath, and after Kat had visited the vet, we went and had a few pints there and spme rather ill advised pork scratchings.
Today was better though, as we seem to have recovered from Tuesday and have had an easier pace, which continues as tomorrow we go into Smethwick where we are staying over the weekend for the BCNS fireworks, which sounds rather fun and I might get to meet Madcat at last!
Winding paddles the right way first time
2 days ago