Tilly Weissmuller 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th September

Basecote Aqueduct to Fosse Top Lock to Radford Semele
There’s a bit of catching up to do around here!
Drawings, drawings, drawings
Saturday was meant to rain, lots. The skies only opened up when Mick had headed off into the village for a newspaper. Sods law really, but at least he didn’t get a soaking and returned to the boat not too damp. Tilly spent much of the day out in the sideways trees enjoying herself whilst I had a serious day of doing technical drawings for Panto. I’d originally thought this would only take a couple of days, but it ended up being more like four, lucky there were more than four days in hand.
The pound we were in is above Basecote Staircase locks, which means that quite a lot of water gets used from the pound, more so than if it was just a single lock. Therefore the level was down, we remembered this from our last time of mooring here as we rose by a few inches to then drop again depending on boat movements and back pumping.
Time to shuffle
The moorings here are okay, but we quite like to have a view, this was lacking. So on Sunday we decided to move on and find a bit more sky. A mile further on was the staircase, two boats were coming up. So we waited our turn. Below I could see another boat waiting to come up, I walked down to see if they were happy to do a shuffle. I think one of the boats already in the locks had suggested this to them and the chap was getting his head around how this would work.
With a staircase of two you need the top chamber to be full and the bottom one to be empty, no matter which direction you are going in. You use the top chambers water to raise the bottom one and then either fill the top chamber or empty the bottom one depending on which way you are going.
Waiting at the bottom of the staircase
We came into the top as they came into the bottom. The paddles between the two chambers were lifted to level them, gates opened, boats swapped positions, gates closed and we could both be on our way again. This is an efficient way of using the locks, one more boat in the mix would have made it more so. But we shared the water and left the locks set for the next boat to come along, normally you have to empty or fill one of them. Just a shame we were now on our own for the rest of the flight.
A Menu
The next few pounds were also low, we kept spotting places to moor only for the bottom to be too close to the top! We’d considered stopping by Welsh Road Lock 18 as the cottage here sold chilled medication. There were big signs out and a full menu to choose from as you waited or worked the lock. However below the lock we simply couldn’t get into the bank, we tried a few times. If the selection of medication had been more unique, less standard, Magnums etc, then I think we would have persevered. Well if it had been a proper chilled medication parlour we’d have headed to the counter having left Oleanna on the lock landing!
Too low to moor
Down another lock still with no luck on the depth front, until we reached the next lock. Here there were a couple of boats moored up, one on a jaunty list. We decided to give it a go as the amount of sky was good and there was suitable space for Tilly to play. The depth was just okay, phew! So for the afternoon Tilly played in the sun shine, Mick listened to the test match and I carried on with my drawings. These 1930’s locks are quiet, no click click click of the paddle gear, so we only noticed boats coming up the lock as the level dropped.
The radio reception wasn’t so good, Mick had ended up having to listen to the cricket via the internet, moving would hopefully improve matters. So on Monday morning we pushed off to cross to the lock, just as a lady walked round the bend with a windlass in hand. Marvellous, we had a buddy for the last four locks down to Leamington Spa. NB Talpa Secunda were heading to the Saltisford Arm before starting their climb up Hatton.
Breasted up and on their way to Braunston
At just about each lock someone was either exiting or arriving just at the right times which meant there were fewer opening and closing of gates needed. Mick handily spotted Raymond and Nuffield breasted up coming through a bridge hole in time to be able to hold back behind some moored boats.
Kingfishers lurked in the trees their high pitched cheeps giving them away.
The last lock of the day
Down Wood Lock we waved goodbye to our lock buddies and paused to get rid of rubbish. Here there were a couple of glass recycling bins and four normal Biffa bins. Surrounding the bins was a mountain of bags. First impressions were that the bins were full. Two were, but the ones at the back weren’t. Why are some boaters so bloomin’ lazy! There was even a plastic bag full of newspapers and glass bottles leaning against the half filled glass bin. Mick did his bit to help reduce the mountain of bags and filled one of the bins at the back before we moved further along.
Surveying the new outside
A mile along and the sky returns, a field rising up to Radford Semele church, a popular mooring. We pulled in, it only being 11:30am there was plenty of space so we moored at the end of a length of armco. The doors were opened up, Tilly let out to explore her new surroundings, the radio worked so Mick was quite content listening to Alastair Cook scoring his final test century against India and I got the drawing board out again!
The outsides that they have tied down recently had all been quite good, but today was that bit different. Here there were new friends to find and play with. I made the most of it bringing them home to introduce them. One friend was certainly very different. Most are furry and have long tails and squeak with excitement as we play. But this one was long and slender, maybe it was just a tail and had lost it’s body! How careless, I wouldn’t be without my tail. It didn’t squeak either, it made a funny noise and stuck it’s tongue out at me, very rude. We played for a while until I fancied some dingding.
Mick had been concerned at Tilly doing her Johnny Weismuller impression with a snake. But luckily it must have just been a small grass snake and no harm was done to Tilly, not sure about her friend!
The cricket had been exciting, so Mick decided to see how easy it would be to get to The Oval for the final days play. Now being over 60 he bought himself an old fogey railcard and a train ticket.
Evolution of panto tuppaware
The alarm was set early and Mick headed off down the towpath to catch the 8am train, leaving me to finish off my work. Tilly spent the day coming and going, her new friend not wanting to play today, I did try to find him. A treat lunch was needed for me to help push me on for the final few hours at the drawing board. Ocado had delivered some gluten free fish fingers, so I made a good sized butty to keep me going. I was just about to start the final drawing when a boat bashed into the side of Oleanna. What the…?
I went outside to see if all was okay and see if I could help the Kate Hire boat. The crew were all looking the other way, were they hoping nobody had noticed their lapse of concentration? No, they were all looking at a man swimming in the canal. I went to see if I could help pull him out, but others had got to him. What I could do though was stop their dog who had jumped in from running along the towpath. He stopped when he saw me and turned back to be picked up by the very soggy man who was just in his pants. Someone was going to need a good hot shower!
The Oval
Mick had a very good day at the cricket. Jimmy Anderson, England’s fast bowler had beaten the record of the number of wickets taken, England won the final test match of the summer by 118 runs and he was there on the last day of Alastair Cooks Test Match carreer. Watching the highlights later on, he managed to spot himself up on the balcony.

Red arrow just for Tom

10 locks, 2 a staircase which we shuffled through, 4.78 miles, 2 many low pounds, 2 few places to moor, 1 lock buddy, 2 full days drawing, 2 half days, 1 final test match of the summer, 2 trains, 4 tubes, 1 day at the cricket, 1 snake, 1 soggy dog, 1 soggy man, 1 model packed and ready, 12 sheets of working drawings, 5 groundplans, 1 storage plan, 4 fish fingers, 2 slices of bread, 1 squirt of tomato ketchup, 1 lean, yummy.