Day 2 - Wightwick to Kinver
I think we're doing quite well. Both the number and severity of disasters seems (touch wood) to be decreasing, whilst our ability to cope with them grows. Famous last words of course.
Yesterday started with us getting very slightly stuck on the bottom shortly after leaving Wightwick - by the first lock I think. Jim got off to try and push from the bank with the long shaft, but just him getting off the back of the boat was enough to enable me to reverse off and the shaft wasn't needed. Which was a shame in a way, because in the excitement, we managed to leave the shaft on the bank after going through the lock. It was only later in the afternoon, when we got properly stuck, by bridge 36 and on the outside of two moored boats on the offside, that we realised. Later at Stewponey we met the BW mpan who had picked it up. He now reaslised it was ours but at the time he had, for some reason I wasn't quite able to follow, decided to give it to a group of hire boaters who were following behind us. So, if you are a Morris dancer travelling in a group of three Black Prince boats, I would really like to hear from you. Or indeed if you're not, but think you may have Chertsey's shaft (it's 14' long, made of ash, and has 'Chertsey' written on it in marker pen).
Willow is so far behaving very well. He complains very loudly at being shut in while we travel but I think it would be far too stressful than if he weren't. I tell him it's no worse than being in a cattery. When we stop and let him out, he sniffs the air, strolls up and down, catches a mouse... and, so far, comes back to the boat. This morning he has been out since quarter past six and hasn't strayed far - perhaps because he hasn't had breakfast yet!
Iain and Clair on Plover are being very kind and helpful to us, last night starting to move boats to organise us a mooring space before we arrived at Kinver. I am coming to agree with Jim that Chertsey is a slow boat, notwithstanding the skill or otherwise of the crew. There are times now when I can tell wesimply can't go any faster because of the depth of the water, whilst other deep drafted boats race ahead, and I wonder whether reducing or moving the ballast might be the next thing to try.
Better have breakfast now, got the brass to do and the anchor to fix before we set off today.