Lifting The Swing. 31st May

Dover Lock to Plank Lane

No need to rush this morning as we’d only got a short distance to cover. So a cuppa in bed was enjoyed then over breakfast I added notes to my sketches for panto and sent them off so that John could have a good look before my meeting with him later on in the day.

Surely we can stay another day!

We pushed off at around10:30 and pootled our way towards Plank Lane. Passing the Dover Lock Inn, it’s such a sad sight. It’s been empty for years and has certainly had an inferno inside. A sign along the towpath says ‘Canalside Care The Dover Lock Inn, Working in partnership to improve the local environment’ ! Wonder how long that’s been there?

What a sorry state

Soon we arrived at Plank Lane. The bridge here forms part of a busy road and time limits have been put on it so as not to hold up the traffic during rush hour. You cannot work the panel between 8 – 9:30am and 4:30 – 6pm. We were well out of those times, but I still had to wait a while before I felt there was a gap in the traffic.

Red light is for traffic from the car park

Pressing the OPEN button seemingly does nothing for a while, that seems to let any cars waiting through the bridge before it drops the barriers. By the time all traffic lights turned red I’d already caught a few cars. At panels like this I always make sure I read the instructions before operating the bridge. Press and hold today.

Open sesame!

Looking up from the panel there was a newish sign in blue saying not to open the bridge all the way up, but just enough to get through, as when fully opened it may get stuck! You would be seriously unpopular then!

A top up of the water tank, the pressure now we’re on the flat considerably less than up in the hills, this took quite some time. Should we pull up behind the next boat or carry on a little bit further? Further was preferable so that Tilly was less likely to head towards the road. Spikes hammered in, cat let out.

This would do us for the night. I spent the afternoon quickly jotting down some new ideas to show John I’d had this morning, then realised that my meeting was via teams. We’ve only used Teams once about two years ago, clicking the link to join the meeting with just a couple of minutes before it started wasn’t wise. Updates, then passwords that had to be changed as we seemingly didn’t remember the correct one. Then it said no way! My IT department deserted me to cycle off to collect a car! All really annoying, but John and I got there in the end via zoom.

Has Liz Truss been along here?

My meeting was good, my basic setting was given a big thumbs up, but I’d maybe been being a touch cautious on the built pieces of scenery. The budget hasn’t risen this year, so this was a good thing. But with a director who wants to push the budget to it’s maximum there were plenty of new ideas to add to the mix. Numerous notes were taken and I’d just put them into understandable order when Mick returned.

He loaded the car with a big bag of washing and our first bucket of offerings for this year to return to the house. He also dropped off a large click and collect shopping order that needed stowing away. Then off he headed back to Scarborough for the night, checking on Olivia our new lodger and to wash our socks and pants, along with a dentist appointment tomorrow.

Sunset over the basin opposite

Boats arrived to fill with water, others carried on through the lift bridge, plenty of footfall on the towpath that Tilly managed to dash her way through to the friendly cover. An evening of working my way back through panto, Act 1 completed new squiggles of ideas. Tomorrow I’ll do Act 2 and then translate the squiggles for others to view.


Prawn and pea risotto tonight for me and a Tempo Special for Mick, both things we each like but the other one doesn’t. Looking at Facebook this evening I came across news from Peter Baxter the volunteer at Wigan. More pounds on the flight had been drained last night on the flight so passage had been impossible again today. Thankfully the pound worst affected isn’t that big, so the hope is that tonight the bywashs will top it up sufficiently to be used tomorrow. This does mean though that volunteers may not be quite where boaters would like them to be (right ahead of them) as they may be doing more important things managing the water down the flight so passage is possible all the way up or down.

0 locks, 2 miles, 1 lift bridge, 14 held up, 1 full water tank, 2 boxes wine, 6 bottles, 1 slightly squished melon, 1 panto meeting, 2 pages notes, 1 bag of dirty washing transported to Scarborough, 10C lower than at Plank Lane.