Diary Bridge to Leighton Road Winding Hole
No work today, a boating day. Well that was until I got emails this morning which required me to scan some plans. Once that was done we could be on our way.
Just as we were about to untie and push off NB Penny Flight came past, we asked if we could join them at Stoke Hammond Lock, the answer was positive so we followed them.
Stoke Hammond is one of my favourites along here, possibly because it’s the first proper lock for a while, but also because of the flowers and plants, the lock cottage and pumping house. The grass was a little bit long today and the flower bed around the sign is protected by chicken mesh. Maybe rabbits or just over keen Fountains grass cutters.
Along the next pound I took the opportunity to start weaving ends in on the pair of socks I’ve been knitting. If the yarn had been how I thought this wouldn’t have taken long at all, just two ends, one at the toe end and one at the top. But as I’ve had to alternate the yarn and mix it up quite a bit to get the required look the red sock had 32 ends the yellow sock 26! I could have worked them in as I went along but I find that tightens things up and you want socks to be stretchy.
A boat came round the bend from the bottom of Soulbury Three Locks so I expected the lock to be just about empty. As I walked up I could see that there was a couple of feet of water already in the lock and that there was a paddle half way up. Was this intentional? I walked up to find a Lockie, one spotted me and he said they’d been refilling the lock for two boats coming down, but if the lock wasn’t that full then we could empty it and come up. He then managed to stop the two boats above from emptying their chamber, making them wait for us to start filling ours.
The next pound had to be negotiated, four boats two coming down two up. The descending boats moved to the outside and let Oleanna and Penny Flight through the middle. The locks were busy, the Lockies not having chance to drink their tea for hours, everyone was moving before the forecast rain set in.
A mile or so further on small drops of wetness started to hit the roof, my socks were tucked onto the Nicholson’s shelf to keep dry and we donned waterproofs. With spaces close to The Globe pub we decided to pull in for lunch, leaving Penny Flight to ascend the next lock alone.
Now yesterday I moaned about speeding boats, well today I am very justified in complaining about the boat that shot past us as we ate our lunch. Blimey we only just got chance to clock it as it passed us, I’m not sure even spring lines would have stopped us from moving and biffing the bank with the speed he was going at! We decided to wait a while longer as we really didn’t want to share a lock with them.
After a good pause we pushed off again. Pulling into the side, a dog walker said he hoped we weren’t in a rush as the previous boat had left all the gates open along with the paddles! Our speeding friends, there really must be an emergency! Not to worry, it’ll give us practice for when we get closer to London.
On past the Wyvern Hire fleet, quite a few in today, and then past the long line of permanent moorings. There was space for us outside Tescos, just behind the speeders!
A reasonably big shop, cat litter, wine, heavy things as you can take your trolley right to your boat here, so we made the most of it. Returning to the boat our neighbours had moved on, only to be found partially blocking the next bridge hole at the water point not filling up. We pootled onwards now in the rain. A space alongside Jewsons showed itself so we pulled in, we still want to be able to access town tomorrow. Tilly was allowed out for a couple of hours. She then regretted staying out after 7pm as the heavens opened! She returned absolutely soaked.
5 locks, 6.06 miles, 6mph! 2 gates, 1 paddle, 1 bottom leaking gate, 4 boxes wine, 10 litres wood cat litter to share, 4 boats in a pound, 58 ends, 2 socks completed, 1 missing vault, 1 invoice, 1 giant pack of Dreamies.