Poor Karen was under the weather all weekend and spent most of it in bed with a temperature. She won’t be happy that I’ve mentioned it, but she is one of those people who never seem to be ill and, if she does get a cold, she just carries on regardless. On Monday morning she was no better, so I took her to the doctors. Our GP surgery is the on other side of Leamington and it took us over an hour to drive the four or five miles; a combination of going in the rush hour, a major accident on the M40 and the fact that a major street in Warwick is closed for seven weeks causing mayhem around the local roads. Maybe we should have gone by boat 😉
The GP diagnosed her with flu, we had been worried that it was a chest infection, and explained it could take some time to clear up, so she was confined to the boat for the rest of the day.
When we got back from the surgery, I took Buddy for a walk up the Hatton flight. There was a flurry of activity at lock 27; stanking planks were going in 😊 I know many people call them stop planks, but I prefer the less-used term.
That’s how to put stanking planks in
Looking at the lock reminded me that when single-handing up broad locks like these, you have to work out whether to go in the left-hand or right-hand gate. Lock 27 is one where you should go in the left-hand side because that side has the easiest step access.
Lock 27 – steps either side but the ones on the left are much easier
When you go into one of these locks you step off the boat as it enters, taking a centre line with you. You then walk up the steps, keeping hold of the line, and then loosely tie the boat up to a bollard. If you didn’t take the line you could end up looking rather stupid with your boat drifting in the centre of the lock and no way of getting to it without swimming ☹
The steps on the right climb away from the lock and if your line isn’t long enough then you’ll end up losing it. Our lines are long enough, but only just, so if there was a slip up or a slight mistiming then I would have to let go.
A bit further up is a lock with straight steps either side, so you could go in either side. If it’s wet or icy, or you are not in your youth like me then you really should use the right-hand steps as they have a hand rail.
The safety conscious would use the right-hand side steps
Nearer the top of the flight are a few problematical locks where the steps curve away on both sides. When handling these locks on my own I don’t bother with the steps and just go into the lock and climb up the ladders built into the sides. Mind you, Buddy still gets off at the bottom and runs up the steps, as he doesn’t tend to have a rope to carry.
A sign has now gone up at lock 27 explaining to the public about the works that are taking place over the next few weeks:
The old gates, which were lifted out last week and left at the side of the lock, have now been loaded onto a pontoon ready to be taken away:
When I went back up to the lock later in the day, the planks were in place and I expect the pumps will be installed tomorrow so the lock can be emptied to enable the works to continue.