Saturday, 12 November 2016

Radford Semele (It’s November not December)



Moored for the next few days above Radford bottom lock.  Buddy resting on the towpath as usual, in the distance



Thank you, Sue, for pointing out that we are in November and not December.  When I posted yesterday’s blog entry I had said that it’s only ten days until the days start getting longer.  I’ve been thinking along these lines for a week or so now and said to Karen the other day that it’s just over a fortnight until the days get longer: she hadn’t picked me up on it either.

We had a frost on Friday morning but the sun was out so it was bright and brisk for our morning walk.  Like yesterday we moved the car first and then walked back to the boat.  I had planned on getting to Welsh Road lock which is five locks further on, so I left the car there.  We know the people in the lock cottage but they weren’t in so we walked back to the boat and set off.

First we had to go down a staircase lock at Bascote.  This and the staircase lock on the Droitwich Junction canal are the only double width staircase locks we have been through; all the others have been narrow locks.  We know there are others around such as on the Leeds & Liverpool but our old boat was too long for those locks.  We will return to the north when Karen finishes her contract as we have yet to go into Liverpool, cruise the Leeds & Liverpool canal or get up to Lancaster or York.

I always find it hard getting my head round how staircase locks work and, as Karen is usually locking with me, I let her get on with it as they seem natural to her.  The bottom gates of each lock are also the top gates of the next lock.  So going down you fill the top lock and go in; then you make sure the other locks in the staircase are empty so you can then empty each lock into the next.


Sun’s a bit bright but the boat is in the top lock

 
Leaving the top lock and transferring to the next lock
Sitting in the second lock with the top gates closed ready to go down again

Buddy making sure I do it correctly

Once again all the locks apart from the final, ninth, lock were set against me but I made good time and got to Radford Semele in time for lunch.  We had travelled 3 ½ miles through nine locks in under four hours so the three lock miles per hour average seems a pretty good guide when single handing on double width lock canals.  It’s obviously quicker with Karen as she tends to walk ahead with the dog to get the next lock ready whilst I close up the previous one.

It really was a gorgeous day again

Wood lock – one of my favourite double width locks as it feels so rural and there is no sign of habitation around - I always feel at peace here
 
At the final lock I was joined by a couple on their boat.  They had recently bought it and moor it in a marina back at Calcutt and this was their first trip out in it.  They had a dog that they daren’t let off the boat and couldn’t believe how good Buddy was, especially knowing when to come down the steps to get back on the boat.

As I was mooring up soon after leaving the lock I let them go ahead and I closed up the lock.  I took the boat out of the lock and pulled up against the steps so I could go up them to close the gates.  I know the stones are often slippery and for some reason I forgot and nearly ended up in the water.  As it was I got one leg wet up to my thigh but managed to cling onto the boat.  I was reminded that that is the sort of thing that makes me wear a life jacket.

After mooring up we walked back to get the car again as we had gone further than originally planned.  Our mooring seems great for catching the sun all day on the solar panels but I suspect we will also catch a lot of leaves.

We parked the car by Offchurch Lane bridge which is 4 ½ miles from Karen’s office and walked back to the boat.  On the way I stopped to chat with Blair who recently moved onto a permanent mooring by the bridge with Liz and their children.  He was doing some welding work by his boat which should be expected as he is a welder.

Just before reaching the boat I passed an encampment in the woods next to the towpath so I went in to introduce myself.  It was a Polish family living in tents with a makeshift shelter for their kitchen.  The guy’s name was Gregor; he spoke a little English but his wife spoke none. No doubt I will find out more about their situation over the next few days.

We moved onto Chalkhill Blue 2 on 7th October 2016 and left the boatyard a week later and have now travelled 130 miles through 97 locks on her.



Our journey so far on the new boat



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