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Day Four… Dodgy boating…

As I said yesterday, I’m not feeling too well so we have a lazy morning of me doing a bit of napping and we play a board game when i feel better, which is a must on a boating holiday and we enjoy the sound of relative silence other than the birds going about their day.

Once I’ve rested, we set off and quickly arrive at our first lock of the day, Aston Lock and I’ve about filled it up when a boater comes along who is going down the river, and as we are going up, he gives me a hand with the lock. He’s quite keen to tell me I should have opened the two outer paddles – cannot remember their name (landing lock paddles?), first, before the gate paddles. Now, I’m happy to learn, as you know, we are new to this boating life other than a few boating holidays, we have certainly never owned and lived aboard before. But you know you can see the scorn on some of these experienced boaters when they point out what you’re doing wrong. I’m pretty sure that when they started boating, they weren’t perfect! ((I’ve been made aware that I haven’t to my knowledge explained what a windlass is, so it’s an apparatus to move or crank something. it’s an L shaped handle basically for turning the lock mechanism to open/close the paddles. I will get Peachy to show you a picture))

Anyway where was I, I was happy to listen and that seemed to make him realise he was being judgmental – maybe. I wasn’t feeling great so I ended up getting back on the boat and letting the Captain take over as the lock was nearly filled anyway, and another boater had joined the one wanting to go down so they were happy to close the gates etc.

We carried onto the next lock, Weston Lock which was where it all went a bit wrong. I didn’t have the energy to do the locks. Normally I love doing them but I just didn’t have the strength, so I said I would wait with the boat and steer it in. Anyway, I was holding the rope, and the gush of water coming out of the pound was so strong it started pushing the boat over to the other bank. I was trying to hold it but I just couldn’t do it. My Yorkshire strength failed me. Luckily the Captain spotted me as did another boater and he ran down to help – thank you kind person. We quickly pulled it back in and no damage done. Any other day I would have been fine but I was weaker than a kitten.

That done we get into the lock and it’s a proper ferocious one. Since I usually don’t do the driving of the boat – something I’m going to do more of as I haven’t quite got the hang of the power of the water in these locks and when you have a single boat in them it can be quite scary as you don’t want the boat going near the lock gates and water pouring into your boat and you also don’t want to bash the gates with your boat and damage them. We have now found a better way of securing the boat in the locks, so we now tie the stern rope where possible onto the landing lock and this keeps it nicely back from any water when going up a lock. I can see how easily it could be to sink a boat – you have to be properly concentrating when in the locks, it’s surprising how easily things can go wrong and how quickly. Anyway, I got the hang of the controls with some direction and with some nifty rope handling by the Captain we managed it and got through.

We decided to moor up as it had about drained me, so I had another little power nap before heading back out again about 5ish for a lovely cruise to Swarkestone Lock – what a lovely lock – all the paddles were working nice and not much leakage. Took a while to fill up but then these are big locks along this stretch. It’s 6.45pm now and we are gonna moor up for the night before heading to the all-important Elsan and refuse point tomorrow. They do have a refuse point at Swarkestone but we decided we might as well sort everything at the same time.

Right, time for tea and then bed. I’m exhausted.
(the font size seems a bit weird on this blog but i haven’t time to faff as have limited connection here to get the other blogs uploaded – sorry, hope it’s okay to read!)

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