Puzzle. 3rd September

Bickley’s Bridge to below Wood Lock 19

Another morning of pleas at the back door, Tilly was given an hour of shore leave whilst we had breakfast, today she didn’t get distracted but did require mad cat woman to call for her. With all three of us onboard we pushed of around 10:30.

Pushing into Bascote Staircase

First stop the water point and bins by Bascote Bridge. A dish washer load had been going, once that was so far through it’s cycle the washing machine was put on, Tilly’s pooh box had a good clean and rubbish was disposed of. Shortly before the water tank made it’s ‘I’m full!’ boom we could hear NB Hadar approaching, they and their families hire boat pulled in to wait for the services.

Downerty down

Bascote Staircase requires the top chamber to be full and the bottom to be empty, there will always be one chamber requiring to be set, this morning it looked like we were following someone as the top needed filling. As Mick brought Oleanna into the top chamber Hadar and family were approaching, hand signals suggested they’d be descending together, one of the crew came to join us to help us down.

Heading to the last of the Bascote flight

The next two locks also required filling before we could enter and they are just a touch too far to walk ahead to set and come back to open and close gates. Behind us the Hadar crew worked well with their extra pairs of hands.

Model railway

The chilled medication sign is now tucked away at Welsh Road Lock, instead you can buy half a dozen eggs for £2. In the back garden there is a model railway set all laid out, just a bit too far away to have a good look.

As we worked our way down the lock we could hear Hadars engine thumping away in the distance, or was it getting closer? I think the only time we couldn’t hear it was when it was stationary.

Don’t go too far!

The next pound is where HS2 will cross. Huge earth works are on going here, on the south bank of the canal a digger perched high up flattening out an embankment. To the north you can certainly see the route the line will take through a dip in the hillside, is this a man made or natural dip?

Wood Lock always seems to be the shabbiest of the locks along this stretch, the paintwork peeling off the paddle gear. We worked our way down pulling in a short distance below the lock, this would do us for the day and we’d be able to let Hadar and family go past.

Wood Lock rusty paddle gear

Yesterday I’d asked for my panto felt order to be chased as it still hadn’t arrived, well that was how it seemed at my end, no parcel had arrived for Lizzies attention. Mid morning I was forwarded a copy of the signature the delivery driver had received, most certainly not Lizzies. But if someone had signed for it, last Thursday, where was it?!

Bye bye Hadar

Lizzie and the chaps at Unusual checked everywhere again, but there was nothing. Oh blimey! I was starting to write an email when I got a message from Lizzie, she’d found the parcel, at The Wharf pub across the road! Their address is very similar, but the parcel did say Unusual on it, oh well now we just needed to sus out getting it to us without being too much hassle for Lizzie. A rendez vous tomorrow lunchtime was made, a what3words location sent, we just have to get there in time.

NB Puzzle in June

Plenty of boats have came past us during the afternoon, including one called Puzzle. ‘Didn’t we share some of the Trent and Mersey with that boat? A lady with her daughter?’ Don’t know why I ever ask Mick such things, but I do. Looking back through photographs there was NB Puzzle back in June, but were the colours on the cabin side the other way round from the one I’d just seen? Maybe, maybe not. Cream top and bottom with black in between. Or had it been black top and bottom with cream in between? Could there have been two boats built at the same time, both called Puzzle but painted the negative of each other? Could this be why they were called Puzzle so people would be puzzled about if they’d seen the boat before or not.

Wish I’d taken a photo now!

6 locks, 2.6 miles, 1 thumping boat behind, HS2, 5.75 hours, 1 dropping pound, 4 paddles checked, 1 boater puzzled, 1 parcel at the pub, 4 shades of green, 1 week late.