Mistaken Identity. 21st December

Basecote Aqueduct to Longhole Bridge 31


See, what did I say! The sun came out and what do they do? They move the outside!

That isn’t strictly true. Whilst we had breakfast Tilly was allowed to head off and explore, we’d only got a couple of hours to cruise today, so there was no rush to leave. Mick headed off on a bike to get our Saturday newspaper and hunt for blueberries.

Returning with everything he called for Tilly, who he’d spotted up the towpath. We’d want to make a move now so I put on my boots to go out and encourage our crew back on board. Mick pointed up the towpath, a cat sat some distance away and a lady dog walker held onto her two woofers, not moving a muscle.

Mick did say he couldn’t see properly, which was true when I questioned if it was Tilly on the towpath. The cat turned to head into the sideways trees flashing an almost total white front. Too much white, but I went to look anyway. The lady with the dogs stood her ground until I got closer.

Deep in the sideways trees I could see a fluffy cat keeping a close eye on what was happening. Definitely not Tilly. I walked back with the lady, keeping an eye open for Tilly, only to spy her busy in the hedge alongside Oleanna. Once her business had been dealt with she trotted back on board, we were ready for the off.

Below the aqueduct and embankment the River Itchin was sprawling itself across the fields, the level must have risen somewhat after yesterdays rain fall as neither of us remembered it from when we’d arrived.

Lines of pumpkins

Shortly before Bascote Bridge there was a pumpkin graveyard. What looked like a whole field of pumpkins lay unpicked (if you pick a pumpkin, maybe you cut them?) in lines in the field. Some were flattened, others still sat bulbously orange and proud above the earth. Why had this crop just been left to rot in the field?

We stopped at the water point, topping up and to make use of the bins, emptying our yellow water into our container too.

Here I got a text from someone. ‘Hi Pip how old are you this year cos John and I were talking about u and could not remember how old you were in comparison to us’. Earlier in the year I’d thrown my phone out of the side hatch, a new phone was set up quickly, but I’d lost several numbers, this was obviously one of them. Who was it from?

Going through all the Johns I knew there was only one I could think of. I asked ‘Is that Jane?’ Then proceeded to let her know how old I would be this year and wished them both a Happy Christmas.

The top chamber was very low

Onwards to Bascote Staircase. With a two chamber staircase you need to have the top one full and the bottom chamber empty, no matter which direction you are going in. The top one looked ever so empty, the old openings towards a side pond visible, these normally lay well below the water. Whilst it filled I walked down to the next lock, topped it up and opened the gate in readiness for us.

Looking back at Bascote

The paddle gear was bloomin stiff on some of the bottom gates, or have I lost the umph to get them moving? Swapping sides I found easier paddles and emptied one chamber into the next, then down and on wards to the next two locks.

A short pootle and we reached Welsh Road Lock, no chilled medication on sale today sadly. There certainly wasn’t a shortage of water today the bywash hardly noticed me filling the lock.

Yes I think I do!

Below we hoped for a space next to a big field, we opted for the second mooring. Last year when we’d come this way in the summer the levels had been low and we had difficulty in getting into the side, none of that problem today.

Lots of water

Mick got the remaining lights out and arranged them on the cratch and around the wreath whilst Tilly explored our new surroundings.

I busied myself inside. Time to pack summer away properly. For months we’ve been lifting things on and off our bed, time to stop doing that and find homes for things. Our clothes were edited to winter only. With new vacuum bags I packed things away and realised I’d manage to fit the summer duvet in with them too. The outdoor chairs wouldn’t fit under the bed with the new bag so the wardrobe was rearranged too.

Are those newt fences?

There was a gap under the bed, what could go there? I decided to rationalise my yarn stash. Keeping sock, glove and my nice Riverknits yarn out, everything else went into a vacuum bag and managed to shrink into the space. Yarns that were left out were organised most going into the pouffe at the end of the sofa, just leaving me with my cardigan to finish off. The pouffe gets used when we need to use the sofa as a bed, so it was good to whittle down all the stuff that had come to rest on it.

During the afternoon I got to thinking more about the text I’d received. I’d had no reply, signal was bad, but still, it felt a little bit odd. With scams on the rise I wondered if maybe it had been an opportunist trying to get my date of birth, after all who doesn’t know a John. I mentioned it to Mick. I’d not actually given away the exact date, but how old I would be in four days time!

A steep ladder back at the locks

I sent a message to friends who would have Jane’s number and waited to see if it was her. No reply came. Mick agreed it was possible someone was trying to get info, he checked the number on various websites to see if it might have cropped up before. Nothing.

If it was someone up to no good, what would I be able to do about it? I didn’t want to ring John, in case it wasn’t them. Time would tell, we just had to wait.


We enjoyed our buffalo sausages this evening. They were nice, quite meaty, but we wouldn’t rush back to stock up the freezer with them, not at £5 a pack. My cardigan knitting came back out and I started the button band whilst we finished catching up on His Dark Materials ready to watch the last episode tomorrow.

Below the locks

Just before lights out a text came through on a chink of signal to my phone. The same number! It wasn’t Jane after all. But who was it?

My cousin Julie, who used to be married to a John, but now has her brother John living with her. At least that explained it. From now on though I won’t go giving away personal information until I know who’s asking.

5 locks, 2 a staircase, 2.15 miles, 2 outsides, 32 pumpkins, 269 squashed pumpkins, 2nd set of lights, 1 new vacuum tote, 1 sheep or equivalent of yarn under the bed, 1 bag for charity shops, 1 John not that John, 1 our John, 1 our Julie, 0 scam, 1 lesson learnt.


5 thoughts on “Mistaken Identity. 21st December

  1. Paul (from Waterway Routes)

    The pumpkins might be leftovers from a pick your own farm. They tend to stage planting of fields, or individual rows, over a few weeks so, regardless of the weather, there are always some the right size in the week before halloween. It’s possible the last field or row to be planted was still too small to be worth harvesting.

    With pick your own they tend to be harvested at random rather than whole rows being picked as would often happen when a farmer harvested their own for selling to a supermarket. So the rows may have been thinned out when the best ones were picked.


    Yes, fences like that are put around land to be developed to keep newts and all small animals out. The land inside is regularly checked for those trapped and they are moved outside.

    1. pipandmick Post author

      Thanks Mike. I missed your post as I was deep in panto at the time. Maybe there were only so many pumpkins that they could sell so the rest were left to rot. Sad really

  2. Adam

    I was just going to say that we saw hundreds of pumpkins picked from that field — but I see I’ve said it before elsewhere!

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