Sunday, 14 September 2014

Stoned again

Yes, obvious, I know, but I'm feeling relaxed, though not under the influence of psychoactive substances (yet, beer o'clock is later). Indeed, it's been a relaxed sort of day; leisurely start, read emails in bed, eat breakfast, set off for Meaford top.

The weather was pleasant without being exciting and we got to Stone without much incident. A boat we crossed with at Meaford bottom said that the Stone moorings were quite busy, so we've stayed at the top, tied just short of the lay-by full of old boats.

The only fly in the ointment was a Black Prince seemingly full of first timers, who managed to give us a rap as they went by, zig zagged about all across the cut further down and finally got into Stone top lock. It quite reminded me of our first trip hiring, when we managed to batter our way up the southern GU from Iver on the Slough arm to Marsworth top and then back down.

At one point we ran the boat up a small stream on the offside and later on one of our companions nobly rescued a dog from the lock on the River Chess branch into which it had fallen.

It promptly bit him.

All this was in 1975 when they still gave you a shovel in case you couldn't find anywhere to empty the Elsan bucket (and it was a bucket. "Bucket and chuck it" wasn't a misnomer in those days. And folk wonder why we've got a pump out...)

But we didn't do what the lockwheeler of this Black Prince did, which was to draw a top paddle without checking that the bottom paddles were down. He stood looking at the water running merrily through the lock for a bit whilst all we moored boats started to lean over as we found the bottom.

We've been walking about with a bit of a slope on all day as a result, though the pound is slowly coming back up as excess water comes down Meaford.

We've had an amble down the flight; quite a bit of space down there now, naturally. Some boats must have left after a weekend sampling the cosmopolitan delights of the birthplace of the Trent and Mersey. (Well, that's what Stone claims for itself and it's true in a way.)

Tomorrow, we'll do a bit of shopping then lock down to Aston marina to get a pump out. It's probably going to rain...

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