Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Botterham repair

The first locks of the day for us were the delightful Bratch Locks. These look like a staircase and are operated in a similar fashion with three boats traversing in one direction followed by three going the other way. But each lock has its own top and bottom gates and there are pounds between the locks; it's only that the intermediate pounds are to one side of the flight with a very short section between the locks. Paddles have to be raised in the right order to avoid flooding.

There were three lock keepers/volunteer lock keepers so it all ran smoothly.

Our neighbours last night were Jill and Rob on Chrissie. We invited them over for coffee at the bottom of the Bratch; we saw them again at Swindon but they had to continue to Greensforge for water.

I could hardly believe it when a boat came towards us with its stove belching smoke. It might be a British summer, but it really isn't that cold! (As I have observed with another boat before, though, they might need the stove for cooking.)  It did seem rather incongruous.

At the Botterham staircase locks the repair to the balance beam was all too evident. Steel plates bolted together hold the wooden beam in place.

We stopped at Swindon (Staffs, not Wilts) and ate at the Green Man pub. This does excellent home-cooked food. We had a two-course meal for £6.50 each. We both had the pea and ham soup; I followed this with roast lamb; Jan had liver and onions. We just managed to eat it all.  During the meal we chatted to a couple we'd seen at Audlem; I cannot now remember the name of their red 70' Steve Hudson boat.

Tomorrow should see us on the Stourbridge Canal.

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