We left the visitor mooring at Castleford this morning in the dry, but not for long. A sudden short shower had me reaching for my coat - and Jan handing me my leather hat. Most of the day was hot and dry; although we had some torrential downpours after we'd tied up in Wakefield.
But that's jumping the gun. As I held the boat at a landing stage while Jan pressed the buttons to operate King's Road Lock I got talking to a boater, Trevor, who moors near the lock. I mentioned that we were on the way to Stanley Ferry to get diesel and that Supreme Marine were charging 95p/l in Castleford and that's why I got only 20 litres. Trevor said that Stanley Ferry Marina would charge about the same and offered to drive me to a nearby garage selling it for 71.9p/l. He also offered the use of as many jerry cans as I needed. It got so that I couldn't refuse his generosity; we filled three of his 20 litre cans as well as my 20 litre can while Jan went across the road to Lidl. Returning to the boat I put my funnel in the filler of the tank - and immediately realised that holding a full and therefore heavy jerry can at the right angle was going to be impossible without spilling diesel everywhere. Trevor said "you need a jiggler" and went back to his boat to get one. This is a length of flexible hose with a brass fitting at one end containing - as far as I could tell - a small glass ball. This acts as a one-way valve such that all you have to do to get the siphon started is jiggle the end of the hose up and down in the jerry can. With each "jiggle" a small amount of diesel is trapped in the "uphill" part of the hose coming out of the jerry can, adding to any diesel that was already there, until eventually it starts flowing downhill drawing more diesel up behind it.
I transferred the contents of all three of Trevor's cans into the tank - and I'm proud to say that not one drop of diesel was spilt into the navigation. That was enough to fill the tank; I put my full can away in the boat. We had invited Trevor and Amanda to join us for coffee, but they had to go and buy a present for a birthday celebration, so they left us to return the cans and the jiggler in their absence.
Well, it seems that all I have to do is say the word "diesel" and boaters go out of their way to be helpful. Thank you Trevor, it was good meeting you and Amanda. I wonder what your boat is called!
It didn't take long to reach Fall Ings Lock in Wakefield - we were back to using a windlass again. This lock, Trevor had warned us, was a bit of a pig when going up as there were no ground paddles. We took it slowly, therefore, but even with both top gate paddles fully raised when the lock was more than half full it took ages to reach a level.
We walked into Wakefield in the heat, risking not taking coats. This plan almost backfired as there were a couple of heavy showers while we were in the city, but we managed to avoid getting soaked by being, conveniently, either in the bank or in Sainsbury's.
The cathedral was closed for repairs and the Hepworth art gallery was closed by the time we realised what the concrete monstrosity we'd walked past earlier was. There was an interesting chapel on Wakefield Bridge, though.
The footbridge to the Hepburn gallery crosses Wakefield Wharf on the weir stream of the Calder. An interesting effigy to rival any seen at Charity Dock on the Coventry Canal dangles from a crane.
We ate in the Ruddy Duck opposite our mooring. This is a Marston's "Two for One" chain pub like the one in Braunston (The Boat House, if I remember correctly). They managed to forget about us after we'd ordered our food; they were very apologetic and offered us a free drink or pudding as compensation for our having to wait so long. Oh, and they brought us free garlic bread while we were waiting for our first course.
Tomorrow (Sun) we look forward to Andrew and Bekka joining us for a while.
North West Passage: Day 31 - A day of changing plans and good company today. We'd arranged to meet people at about midday at the top of the Hatton Flight; but there was rain overnigh...
6 hours ago