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Day Seven… Halcyon days and a lot of locks!

Up early as usual and time to crank it. We make the rookie mistake of not putting the tiller on as we only need to move one boat along for the water point and of course, a boat came along as soon as we pulled out of our mooring spot – that’s the way of boating. You can sit there for 3 years and not see another boat, as soon as you set off, get to a water point, come to a corner, arrive at a narrow bridge or a tunnel and you will find a boat coming at you. All is well through and we manage to fill with water.

In the first lock we find a few honestly boxes with some lovely food in, so whilst the lock is filling and there are no other boaters around, we peruse the wears and come out with some spring onions – freshly picked, 6 eggs, some spuds and a beetroot relish – all for £4. I’ve now added emergency cash to the little bag I carry to the locks. In it I have my radio so I can let the know Captain what’s happening, my phone and a pen and paper for writing down ideas as I’m waiting for the locks to fill.

This stretch from Barton-Turns to Alrewas is why people love canals. The only word is idyllic, with the Damselfly’s, Dragonfly’s, herons, all manner of other birds and wildfowl going about their day with literally hundreds of pond skaters doing their thing it’s a perfect English summer scene. It’s warm but there is a blanket of cloud shading us from the glare and it is just beautiful. How lucky we are to have this on our ‘maiden’ cruise on the new boat although i know on much of the canals it’s not so good due to the lack of water they have closed or have restrictions on many. I feel so sorry for the boaters with the glorious, if a little too hot! Yes i’m allowed to say it is a bit too hot some days.

We stop at Alrewas for an early lunch stop and then wander into the village for a very pleasant coffee in the café and a read of the Towpath paper. Then it’s to the co-op to top up on some essentials and back to the boat. It’s now really hot as it’s midday and there isn’t as much shade to shelter from. I hide inside with the fan, catching up on the blog and carrying on with my writing until we arrive at the next lock in about a mile and then it’s onto the Famous Fradley Locks and hopefully the facilities before we head up the flight. There seems to be a lack of facilities as you get past Fradley so will have to see how we fair.

Wow, I was knackered at the end of the day. 11 locks in total we did today. One was a little tricky as there was a wasp’s nest in the lock so the Captain decided to wisely get off the boat and use the rope. These locks are pretty gentle though. Some of the gates are tough to open and close and it takes all my Yorkshire strength to work them. I did mean to write a bit about each one so I will try and do it on the way down when I will have hopefully finished my fantasy novel so will have more time for blogging.

I had a chat with a lockie the other day about the different locks on this stretch. These have two gates one side and one on another. When he explained, obviously it made sense but you’re never too old to learn something knew – quiet Brackets! ((I wasn’t going to say anything! They have 2 gates on one side because of the change in height of the water as locks are there to control the water and basically like a set of steps for boats. If you only had 1 gate instead of 2 you probably wouldn’t be able to open it because of the sheer weight etc. Should have just asked me.))

Knackered we moor up for the night just past King’s Bromley Marina which we end up staying for 2 nights with mixed feelings on our first stay in another Marina.

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