Saturday, 19 July 2014

Drained pound at Bascote

Day something-or-other of our Big Summer Cruise 2014. Day 4 - I've just worked it out. (Braunston seems ages ago, and yet it was only yesterday.) It rained in the night, and things were much more bearable today, even when the sun came out in the evening. Yesterday's heat was oppressive with the high humidity. Today's plague was that of horse flies, which loved the drizzly, overcast conditions. Unfortunately they also loved me, and pestered me rotten between Bascote and Leamington Spa.

Speaking of Bascote, when I walked up to set the staircase pair I saw that the pound below consisted of a large amount of mud with a little trickle of water running down the middle. One of the top gates of the next lock was open, but all paddles were correctly down. They must be very leaky bottom gates.

It didn't take too long to refill the pound enough to get Jubilee through, but it did take a lot of paddle winding.

We had a small amount of light rain in the morning, but the dark sky ahead was a sign of what was to come.

At Leamington Spa - sorry, Royal Leamington Spa - we stopped at the extraordinarily convenient Lidl. We found a mooring right outside the nearest gate to the supermarket and were able to wheel the trolley right up to the boat.

It's a good job that Lidl doesn't sell newspapers, as we then stopped at Tesco half a mile further on. When I left the store with some beer (Jan had got the paper) it had become very dark. On reaching the boat it started to rain, which quickly became torrential. This was accompanied by lightning and thunder (why do we usually put those the other way round? The lightning comes first). We were very glad that we were safely tied up; one of us (I) would have got drenched had I been steering when it started. Inside half-an-hour it was all over, and the only water falling on me and the boat was from trees. We carried on to the Cape Locks (uphill for the first time since Buckby), and tied up opposite the Cape of Good Hope pub. After an abortive attempt to walk to the Saltisford Arm (I took us up to the wrong road and Jan slipped over on mud) we cruised into the Saltisford Arm where we were hoping to visit Jo and Keith on Hadar.

As we passed Hadar I tried to make contact - verbal contact, that is - but there was no response.

The sign at the entrance to the Saltisford Arm advertises the existence of visitor moorings, free for the first night, but as we cruised through we saw only one such mooring, which was occupied. We continued to the very end of the arm in our quest.

From the end of the arm I reversed to the winding hole.  This was actually half-way along, not at the end as indicated in my (2000) Nicholson's. I'd almost completed the turn when a couple of moorers effectively suggested that we could breast up to a boat just behind us. So we did, and then went to see Keith and Jo.

It was great to see them, and Keith looking so well after his horrendous illness. Thanks for the tea!

By this time our tummies were telling us that it was time to eat. We had originally planned a barbecue, but it was now too late for that. We walked into Warwick town centre and found the Wetherspoon's where Jan had salmon hollandaise and I had the mixed grill. Very tasty, and washed down with a couple of pints of Dark Side.

Tomorrow we'll go to Saltisford Church, then nip out of the mooring before 1200 (the cut-off for the free mooring period) and set off up the Hatton flight. The weather forecast is good.

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