As we were entering the heavily wooded part of the Tring Summit this afternoon a boater warned us about horse flies. And indeed, as soon as we were among the trees, we were having to bat away the wretched insects before they landed on any exposed skin and bit (or injected, or whatever it is they do). The skipper of the first boat we shared locks with this morning had had a nasty encounter with a horse fly a week ago. He had to take his ankle to A & E; he still can't exert the pressure needed to move a lock gate. I have just been bitten on the ankle - I can't imagine it will be as bad as Julian's experience. I hope not.
We left our mooring at King's Langley before 7 this morning, in another bid to beat the heat. Apart from the first lock of the day I think we shared the remainder - all 33 of them - with other narrowboats.
Waitrose at Berkhamsted provided supplies, notably meat for the evening's barbecue.
One memorable meeting was when we found ourselves passing Matilda Rose. I called a greeting and pulled over. It was the first time we'd met Graham and Jill - it was lovely to see you both - and Daisy the cat. We invited them on board for a beer (Graham and Jill, that is, we didn't invite the cat but she came anyway) and we had a good chat, and gave a guided tour which was reciprocated by a quick show round of Matilda Rose. Daisy made herself very comfortable on Jubilee, curling up and apparently sleeping on a cushion. We humans must have been exceedingly boring!
Ally and Ben came to visit today. They have been staying with friends while we took Jubilee to the festival. It must feel strange "visiting" your own home which has been moved to a different place! Ally got a train to Berkhamsted and walked down to meet us; and Ben drove here after work. By this stage we'd got to Bulbourne. The barbecue was well under way by the time Ben arrived. As it was getting dark we had a few spits of rain - nothing to write home about, as the weather forecasters love saying, and it came to nothing. The first sign that the heatwave might be coming to an end? I'll have to consult Jan. She keeps an eye on the weather forecasts.
Well, it's all down hill from here: 24 locks to descend before we get to Milton Keynes. We're not intending to do them all tomorrow - I'm getting a little tired of mega-early starts! (Actually I'm very tired!)