Our friends who now live by the Lapworth flight joined us for a cruise today. First Ian came for tea and hot bread, then a car shuffle was arranged, some provisions bought, and suddenly there were five of us aboard Jubilee ready to go from Kingswood Junction up the Grand Union to Knowle.
Here are Ian, Phoebe and Ruth, together with Jan, looking forward as we pass under the railway bridge on the Lapworth Link.
Then I got them to turn round for the camera - but they were wreathed in smoke. Yes, I'd lit the stove in the middle of June.
At first Ian seemed a little apprehensive steering...
... but he soon looked like he was enjoying it!
After we'd stopped for a delicious lunch provided by our guests we tackled Knowle Locks. Jan steered while I gently coached Phoebe and Ian in the art of locking.
I tried to be arty with this shot - through the handle of a balance beam - but I don't think it worked. When I get home I can crop it to improve it!
At the top lock we said goodbye. Ian, Ruth and Phoebe, it was a real pleasure to have you on board.
So that's friends "old" - what about "new"?
Well, as I was walking between locks I came across two people carrying baskets who had obviously been foraging. One of them looked vaguely familiar, and I asked them what they had been foraging for (elderflowers and something else), then I carried on towards the lock. But what if the one I sort of recognised was the wife of Captain Ahab? Shouldn't I just check? So I turned round, half caught them up, and called out, "Are you Belle?" (If neither of them was, then I'd have felt silly for a moment, but no harm would have been done.) Of course, it WAS Belle (had to be, really - right activity, right area and right face), and we greeted each other like long-lost friends. (What a strange and wonderful thing this canal blogging community is! What her friend Deborah thought, I don't know!)
We went over to the lockside to include Jan and had a hurried chat - I was conscious of our guests patiently waiting - so if we didn't invite you on board for a cup of tea I can only apologise. Belle, did you say you were going to see Bones on Monday? If so, please send her our love.
Deborah and Belle foraging ahead after our meeting.
Churnet - As planned, Brother Nº 3 and Wife met us at the Holly Bush Inn for a day's excitement. As hoped, the overnight rain died away at more or less the same time...
4 hours ago