Egrets Not Regrets. 20th June

Berko Top Lock 53 to Aspley Sainsburys

Busy in Berko this morning

A boat came past as we were finishing breakfast, no point in rushing to get ready to join them as it would take at least quarter of an hour to get ourselves sorted. So about half an hour later we pushed off, light weight rainy clothes required as the air was full of drizzle.

The bridges in Berko have had a make over, paint and statistics to brighten a grey gloomy day. As we came towards Ravens Lane Lock we were admiring the hanging baskets on the interesting house with coloured bottles in it’s windows, I’d love to see inside one day, a lady walked out onto her balcony.

I now want to know even more bout the lady who lives here

We made a comment about her hanging baskets, not in bloom yet but so many they will be spectacular when they are. The lady then asked if our boat was named after the play. Well, Oleanna is and the lady was correct, the first person ever to make the connection. There was just time to chat a little, we both agreed that Oleanna (by David Mamet) is an extreamly good play, my favourite and that it was about time it was put on in the West End. I vote for Malcolm Hebden to direct it as the production I saw in Scarborough in 1995 is most certainly the best I’ve seen.

We descended four more locks on our own, at Sewer Lock we just about caught up with the narrowboat in front of us, they had been slowed by a widebeam that was weaving across the navigation. We did catch up with them at the next lock and then shared the rest of the days locks.

The Hemel Crew

Stood at Winkwell Swing Bridge was my old college friend Jen who lives in Hemel Hempstead. Two years ago she joined us for a few hours of boating, last night she’d noticed on Social Media that we were near and had volunteered to come and join us again.

Jen winding a windlass again

Using the key of power I got the bridge moving quickly, only holding up a few cars, one of which disappeared whilst I was chatting away to Jen. Both boats came through, there was just enough time to pop Jen’s bike on Oleanna before it was our turn to work down Winkwell Bottom Lock. The widebeam thankfully had reached it’s destination at the marina below so the way ahead was clear.

Nearly there

We worked down the next five locks with NB Candi or is it NB CandI? Jen soon remembered what to do at the locks and we chatted away the hours until we reached the 24hr mooring by Sainsburys. Here we moored up, enough space for both boats, then had a very late lunch.

It was so lovely to see Jen and have a catch up. She’d decided to take a sabbatical from working at the National Theatre in January last year to do some scenic art tutoring amongst other things. This of course didn’t go too well and meant that when all the staff were furloughed from the theatre she missed out. So when October came along and there were shows that needed painting again Jen went back to working three days a week on the South Bank. Lockdown had been hard for her and her family, her son very much missing out on the social interaction with his friends at school.

We all had a lovely afternoon and if only she’d work for free and come and help me paint panto that would be wonderful. The thought of a weeks painting in Cornwall in a workshop with fresh Cornish Pasties being made next door nearly swung it.

By the time we said our goodbyes it was too late to do a big shop at Sainsburys. So instead we did ourselves a Click and Collect for the morning, which would only delay our departure by a little bit.

Last lock of the day

Because our mooring is right by an access road into the retail units for wagons we don’t allow Tilly out here, much to her distain. How ridiculous! Then She gets all annoyed with me for something that She hadn’t done. In fact dear readers I got shouted at! I’d been trying to tell her that my pooh box needed refreshing, but She’d been distracted all day long. So she didn’t take too kindly to my making use of the fresh litter whilst it was still in it’s bag!

Please let this be finished

14 locks, 8 shared, 5.1 miles, 1 swing bridge, 4 held up, 1st person to make the connection, 1 extra crew member, 4 hours of constant chattering, 1 hunt for eco glitter, 1 click and collect sorted, 1 protest wee, 1 hour cleaning the bathroom! 50 panto model photos, 1 email sent, 0 regrets, 1 fish, 1 obligatory photo.