Saturday, 28 December 2013

"Are you John?", the lady said as she came to help with the lock

We decided to go north, to Stoke Bruerne. I particularly wanted to try out the Spice of Bruerne. Well, with the Christmas festivities taking centre stage, we haven't had a curry for ages, and others have mentioned eating there.

It's been a perfect day for boating. The sun has shone; the wind has not blown; and the rain hasn't, er, rained. We were in no rush to get away from the marina but, when I saw Briar Rose leave at about 9.30, I thought we'd better get a move on. We still had things to get from the car - and breakfast to eat - and it wasn't until 11.30 that we eventually reversed out from our berth and onto the canal.

We stopped at Baxter's boatyard at Yardley Gobion for a top-up of diesel and a bag of coal (Stoveglow, £9.25); and we paused at Stoke Bruerne Bottom Lock to empty the Elsan and have a light lunch. We were just getting ready to make a start on the flight when a boat popped out of the bottom lock. Yippee! We went straight in, and had an easy time of it as there were boats coming down at almost every lock.

At the top lock hordes of gongoozlers appeared from nowhere and stood round the lock as Jubilee, with Jan on the tiller, ascended. It was here that the title of this post comes into play. As I was just about to push the boat over to the side where my bike was, a woman suddenly materialised by the gate and asked me if I was John. I confessed that I was, indeed, often called by that name, and she introduced herself as Katherine Kathryn from Leo no. 2, the boat - and boater - made famous by THAT photograph by Neil of Herbie. You know the one: where Leo no. 2 seems to be in the process of transforming into a submarine on the River Thames. Anyway, she helped with the gates while I put my bike back on board (I'd been using it for lockwheeling). Lovely to meet you, Katherine Kathryn, and thanks for the invitation to coffee tomorrow.

Ally and Ben are on their way to join us for the curry, so I'll post this now and let you know how it was tomorrow.

Updated to correct spelling

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