Sunday, 15 May 2016

Welsh Road (socialising with fellow bridge hoppers)



On Friday Buddy and I cycled towards Leamington Spa to work out where we would moor up next.  We are really lucky around this area as there seem to be so many places where we can have a nice quiet mooring and yet be by a lane so Karen get to and from work easily.

Karen was working from home as usual and finished at six (early for her of course) and as she had been indoors all day we went for a walk to the George at Long Itchington for an evening drink.  We saw quite a few butterflies on the way as the sun was out.

This Small Tortoiseshell looks a bit tatty because it emerged last autumn and hibernated as an adult   



 

Similarly with this Comma – in Kent, Comma caterpillars feed on hops so used to be really common of course


Saying Buddy and I went for a walk makes me realise that the English language could have more descriptive pronouns.  For example when I say we went for a walk, that could be all three of us or “Buddy and I went for a walk” or “Karen and I went for a walk”.  Some languages have words so they can differentiate between these meanings of we.

We passed over the River Itchen several times on our walk to the pub and there are some sweet footbridges in woods and fields.

 
Walking back home from the pub on Friday – sun still out and so are the butterflies

When we got back, Vanessa was taking her black Labrador for a walk along the towpath.  Buddy and her dog play really well together but as the path is quite narrow where we are moored, Vanessa’s dog ended up tumbling in the water.  The two dogs have very similar backgrounds and not just being rescues either.  Both were frightened of going on a boat the first time, the same with gangplanks and bridges.  We had a good chat with Vanessa who has lived on her old working boat for 22 years.  She was born locally and is a teacher.  Whilst chatting, narrowboat Black Sheep turned up.  This is a boat we keep passing as we move from mooring to mooring.  A girl called Izzy owns it and works locally.  When I told her we were into butterflies she explained she is into sheep and I hadn’t noticed the number of pictures of sheep on her boat – she used to be a shepherd before living on her boat.

On Sunday we set off for our next mooring at Welsh Road.  We topped up for water first and then headed for the staircase locks at Bascote.  These and the ones at Droitwich are the only double width staircase locks we know.

Normally you don’t enter a staircase (where the bottom gates of one lock are the top gates of the next) unless there are no boats in it.  When we arrived there were a couple of boats in a right pickle as one was coming up and the other down.  The guy coming up wasn’t completely with it as he had a week old baby on board and so his wife couldn’t really help him.  The baby was born whilst they were moored outside the Cape of Good Hope pub in Warwick so they called the baby Hope.

Bottom lock of the staircase



Trying to pass but stuck on the bottom

The people coming down were very nervous and she was getting really stressed not knowing what to do with the gates and paddles.  Strangely for me I took control (rather than Karen at locks) and sorted things out and calmed her down.  All sorts of things were wrong – a paddle was left open – there was not enough water in the two locks when they levelled out so the boats were grounded.  It was all sorted in the end and put down to experience.

The staircase lock with the far boat going down and the near one coming up
Another boat had caught up with us whilst we were sorting out the confusion so we went down the staircase and the next two locks together.

Me and the other guy letting the water out of the third lock whilst Karen was off getting the next lock ready


Our last lock of the day

The couple we locked down with had come from Braunston that morning and had started at 8 o’clock.  We told them that it had taken us nearly two months to get that far – a complete change of lifestyle.
We moored up at Welsh Road and walked back to get the car.

Our Saturday night mooring

Quaint bridge on our walk back to get the car

Underside of a Green Veined White

Karen thought this pair of Canada Geese were excellent parents, even though she is not particularly keen on them as a species  - flocks of them destroy crops and leave such a load of muck when they congregate on the tow path.

Walking through a field with their young between them



Constantly on the look out
Keeping them in line

When Karen was cooking dinner later the goose family turned up at our open hatch to see if we had any spare food.



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