Sunday, 11 March 2018

Hatton bottom lock (while the cat’s away…)

I picked Karen up from work on Thursday and we went down to Wendover to spend the night at her mum’s house.  Ann was away on holiday but was kind enough to let us stay there; Karen was off to Porto for the weekend and it’s a good way to break her early morning journey to Stansted. 

Buddy and I pottered around Wendover during the morning and then caught the train to Aylesbury to stay with my sister overnight.  The apparent disparity in train fares always gets me; the ticket was £4.80 which is fine for two stops, but it was only another £1.40 to get all the way back to Warwick, albeit with three more changes.

As it happened, Judith and Nigel decided to go and see Mum and Dad in Yorkshire over the weekend so ended up giving me and Buddy a lift home on the Saturday morning.

When we got back to the boat I noticed our first daffs had come into flower over the two days we had been away…

…but I also noticed how many puddles there were on the towpath, so it seemed there had been a lot of rain whilst we had been away.

Once I got unpacked and had a coffee, we went for a walk.  The water was particularly dirty and foamy and I think it must be something that’s washed from the fields around this area.

Foamy bottom pound

There was still a lot of water running down the flight.  The old single width locks all act as overspill weirs now and make for quite a spectacular display when there is a lot of water running down.

Original single lock working as an overspill weir with the replacement double lock on the right

I don't think I'll be letting Buddy drink from this
I had rather hoped that the forecast for the weekend for warm weather was going to be accurate, so I would see my first butterflies of the year.  Unfortunately, the temperature never quite made it to the required level on Saturday, so I was disappointed.

Between the rugby matches we wandered down to Cape locks and I saw a boat I didn’t recognise coming towards us.  It wasn’t one of the local ccers and turned out to be a couple taking their first break of the year.  They had friends with them who looked frozen – obviously not dressed for several hours standing outside on a boat all day.

The reason I know all this is because I got chatting to the owners as I wanted to be sure that they knew they couldn’t get much further as the locks were still closed.  They hadn’t realised but, fortunately I told them before they reached the Saltisford arm which is the last place they can turn around.  We had a good chat and they were laid back about the whole thing and accepted they would have to change their journey plans for the rest of the week.

I mention all this as it reminds me that, even in boating, there can be snobbery.  It’s such a shame because we all share the same interests, it just seems that some people cannot avoid looking down on others.  During the winter months you don’t really come across it as there are not so many people on the move and those that are all tend do be of the same disposition.  

When the holiday season is in full swing then that’s when it becomes noticeable.  We all get different labels depending on whether our boats are shiny, old, plastic, wooden, steel, private, hire, shared or have stuff on the roof or not.  It’s like being on the roads where BMW and Volvo drivers have cachets associated with them irrespective of what the drivers are really like.

That’s what I’m trying to say really, it’s what’s inside of you that matters and not the size of house or type of boat you live in.  So, this year I want to avoid making references to these labels (if I can 😉).

Anyway, I need to get on as it feels warmer outside this morning so hopefully the butterflies may be around.  Before I start looking I must finish proof reading Jo’s dissertation first.  It feels slightly unfair as she is away with Cat and Karen in Porto for the weekend   Like all the uni work of our children it’s not on a subject I really know anything about so it gives me a chance to learn something. 😊

The girls sampling port whilst I slave away on the boat

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