Talking Of Palins. 8th June

Burrow’s Bridge 85 to Coxbank Visitor Moorings

On the move just before 10am another chilly start but the potential to be a lovely day. As we pootled along the rest of the pound towards the bottom of Audlem I gave the inside of Oleanna a bit of a tidy up. My work things tend to get sprawled out over a few days of work, they needed to be confined back in their boxes. With this done I was back up top shortly before we arrived at the bottom of the locks.

Sorry not the best photo

The bottom lock was just being emptied as two figures both holding windlasses walked beneath the bridge. A wave from us received a wave back, perfect timing all round.

Today we were being joined by two very experienced boaters, Carol and George. The Palins owned and lived on NB Rock ‘n Roll for seven years, then they upgraded to WB Still Rockin’ both built to their spec. WB Still Rockin’ was sold two and a half years ago when they decided to retire from the waterways, buying a house close to Audlem, so they could still get a regular canal fix. It would have been very rude not to get in touch with them.

Passing a water point at Audlem

I have only briefly met them both in passing, but Mick spent a couple of days in their company when the Thames was on red boards in October 2019 at Goring. Both boats eventually got to their destinations that year, battling up and downstream.

Up to the Shropie Fly

The original plan had been to climb the first few locks, fill with water and then head for an early lunch at the Shopie Fly. But with such efficient crew we were very quickly up the first three locks and breasting up against a hire boat to await the water point.

It didn’t take long for the hire boat to fill, the chaps had headed into the pub to get a half of Landlord each. So we helped the lady pull the hire boat out from the inside so that we’d be able to reach the tap easier. The elder of the chaps was on two walking sticks and was a bit concerned at getting back on board the boat, the crew had managed to help him on board so far but the bank was that bit lower, making the step up too high for the man to be confident.

We held the boat steady then someone came up with the idea of standing on the gunnel to dip the side of the boat lower. This almost worked, some rockin’ was required along with good timing and the chap was soon back on board safely.

That bywash can get fiercer than that

Our tank took that bit longer to fill, but we were soon heading up to the next lock behind another boat. Plenty of boats to help up and down. The one in front of us had obviously never been up Audlem before. Their approach was very candid, the lady hopping off the gunnel as the chap slowed the boat right down for her to do so as the bywash thundered down pushing them hard against the bank. Planks have been positioned so that boats don’t get totally stuck and not be able to pull out towards the lock. The lady pushed the bow out all the time her boat getting further away from the bank. All I could think was that if she fell in right now I hoped she’d be behind the plank. Thankfully she didn’t fall in and all was well in the end.

Here Oleanna comes

Next up was Mick who gave Oleanna some wellie, a couple of bumps heading in, but no chance of getting pinned to the bank, just a big burst of reverse to bring Oleanna to a stop before meeting with the top of the lock.

Very experienced crew, Carol and George

As it was still quite early we decided to carry on up the flight, boats were coming down and it was worth making use of empty lock chambers. George or I would walk up to the next lock to open gates (if they hadn’t been left by a downhill boat) and Carol would open a paddle at the top to start the fill. We were a well oiled machine working up the locks, a bit slow at opening the gates at times because we were too busy chatting.

Walking ahead you get a good view back down the flight

We were soon up the main flight of locks and decided to leave the last two for tomorrow.

Carol and George invited us back to their house for a late lunch, their car was parked just by the last bridge. So much to Tilly’s disgust we headed off for the afternoon for more chatting. Having read each others blogs for years we already felt like we knew each other. Then there was news of other bloggers, who don’t post so much anymore. There was so much to talk about my camera didn’t come out again.

Nearly at the top

Their house has all that they need. Plenty of garden with fields stretching out behind and a hut where we sat to have lunch. Views and the equivalent of the stern deck with pram cover of WB Still Rockin’.

Last lock of the day

George gave us a lift back to Oleanna late afternoon and Tilly was allowed ninety minutes of shore leave, meaning we could leave all the doors and hatches open to get a nice breeze through the boat.

Hmm, today’s outside went that way!

What a lovely day. Thank you for your lock wheeling and your hospitality, if there’s any chance of the recipe for the sticky pork Carol, that was yum.

13 locks, 3.9 miles, 2 extra windlasses, 1 full water tank, 1 immaculate bin compound, 1 lovely house, 1 lovely day.

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