Friday, 13 January 2017

Calcutt (involuntary lock keeping)



It felt like it was going to be raining all day on Thursday so I tackled some jobs that I have been putting off for ages.

Heavy rain on Thursday morning above Calcutt top lock

When we had the boat built we thought we may need extra shelf space in the galley and in the wardrobes in our bedroom but as we wanted to wait until we had lived here a while we asked the boat fitters to just supply the wood we would need.

We had decided a few weeks ago that the extra shelves were needed but I kept putting the job off because it involved being a contortionist and that’s not so easy at my age and with a risk of hurting my back.

Just as I started getting my tools out I noticed Steve, who lives on a permanent mooring opposite where we are currently moored, was getting ready to move his boat.  I saw he was on his own and as he has been quite ill I shouted across to offer him a hand.  He said he was OK and just going down the locks to get fuel in the boatyard and then coming back.

I was getting on with the shelving when I noticed Buddy was really alert and then I realised there was a tapping at a window.  I went outside and it was Steve.  He had changed his mind and said he would like help through the locks.  I was more than happy to help and it also meant Buddy would get some extra fresh air.

We have met Steve and his wife a few times previously – they have several border collies and are often round the reservoir training them. They have been telling a story for what seems like years that they are moving to Wales.  It now finally seems to be happening – his wife has now moved down there with the dogs which explains why I hadn’t seen her around recently and he is finishing off at some work he does up here.

Steve, having exited the lock, gets ready to turn left into the yard for fuel

As it’s winter with little boat traffic I left the lock open ready for Steve to go back into once he had filled up with fuel.  Buddy and I went for a wander whilst we were waiting and the first thing I saw was another boat approaching the lock.  So I had to close the lock up and, as I was hanging around, I offered to help the guy down through the locks.  He was more than happy for some help as he was on his own and had never locked by himself - he was taking the boat to the yard for blacking.  It was a share boat and it was his turn to take it.

We woke up to snow flurries on Friday morning and it was quite a wintry view looking down towards the lock.

Calcutt top lock on Friday morning

It was so funny the first time Buddy encountered snow, we were moored on the Trent & Mersey canal at a place called Branston in Derbyshire a couple of years ago and about three inches of snow had fallen in the night.  When I took Buddy out for his morning constitutional he couldn’t believe what he was seeing – he wouldn’t get off the boat and was just hopping from foot to foot to keep out of the snow.  He was OK in the end and loves the snow now.

Tearing off when he got out of the boat this morning


Patiently waiting for me before being told to cross the lock

Buddy is well trained in some respects, in that he won’t cross lock gates until he is told to.  Mind you, I wonder what he would do if he saw a rabbit or squirrel the other side of a lock.


Sensibly walking slowly across the slippery lock gates

This was nBuddy's reaction when he first saw snow - 30th January 2015 at Branston (just up from Karen's favourite lock).

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