Where have all the boats gone? We saw just two moving boats in seven hours of cruising today. OK, this isn't yer Grand Union main line, or yer Oxford Canal, but neither is it the outer reaches of the BCN (or the Erewash, come to that). This is the Leicester section of the GU. In fact, there were barely any moored boats until we got to Blaby, five miles from Leicester. Is this not the start of the peak season for boating? Easter holidays? Or has the persistent wintry weather put everyone off?
Things went smoothly on today's cruise until we reached St. Mary's Mill Lock. This was leaking badly from one of the top ground paddles, and only one of the bottom gate paddles worked, meaning that the lock didn't drain fully. Consequently I couldn't open a bottom gate on my own. Jan was in the shower. Fortunately I didn't have to wait too long for a walker to come along and help.
The next incident of note was when I was trying to take a photo of a dye works while negotiating a tight bend. A moment of concentration on the photo was at the expense of correct positioning of the boat - with the inevitable result of running into trees and the bank. To make it worse there was a witness on the bank who made some comment about my similarity to Fred Dibnah (I'd managed to knock the chimney down).
We stopped for lunch above Gee's Lock. A very peaceful spot. Certainly untroubled by passing boats.
Jan earnt several Maffi points today, collecting three bags full of rubbish as she walked along the towpath. After disposing of them at Kilby Bridge we had a meal at the Navigation pub. Not as cheap as the last time we were here, but good food nevertheless. The Navigation ale (£3.00/pint) was good too.
I spent some of the evening sawing and chopping. If we don't use the logs I expect Ally and Ben will.
Or will they? The weather felt warmer today than for a long time. The chilly wind had eased, and there was enough heat in the sun for us not to wear coats and gloves. The first time this holiday!
The locks will be fast and furious tomorrow: 12 of them in four miles will raise us to the Market Harborough level. I expect I'll get my bike out for some lock wheeling. After that the Foxton Locks will be the last ones we ascend. It's downhill all the way from there to Wigram's Turn by Saturday.
Deck the walls - The house continues to take shape, and another finishing touch was put in place this morning: Chertsey's old deckboard, adorning the living room wall. This ...
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