Friday, 17 July 2015

Back up the Bratch

I've noticed before that, in my mind at least, there are some places, usually lock flights or tunnels, that seem to form a boundary between one part of the connected system and another. It's not usually to do with changing canal or even moving from one CRT area to another, it's just the feel of it. Harecastle is one such, separating the northern Midlands waters from the north west ones and Atherstone is another, a barrier between what feels like the home waters accessible from the Fradley/Alrewas/Mercia axis and those further south.

The Bratch is like that, once up or down those locks, you've moved into or out of the truly rural part of the Staffs and Worcs and from or onto the part that relates to the whole Four Counties bit. So today we've crossed one of these boundaries. It was my turn to steer and Sheila's to lock, working up Hinksford, Swindon, Marsh, Botterham staircase and Bumblehole. We didn't have to wait at any of these until we got to Bumblehole, where a CRT gang were working a hopper, a tug and a workboat down, followed by a privateer. The CRT guys made the privateer turn the lock though they knew we were waiting below.

Mind you, I couldn't have got past the CRT convoy to get into the lock anyway, but it all took a strangely long time. This wasn't a particular bother – Sheila had started a wash load between Marsh and Botterham and we needed the time to let it finish – but when at last I got Sanity Again into the lock, I found Sheila muttering to herself. Apparently, even though they were filling an empty lock, the CRT ganger had insisted on only drawing the ground paddles halfway initially and wouldn't let them raise the gate paddles until the lock was half full.

Presumably that's what it says on his method statement, so that's what you have to do. The temptation must have been nearly overwhelming to ask him how long he'd been working on the cut and then tell him that we'd been doing this for forty years all over the country, "so why don't you b****er off and get on with your work and we'll do the boating". But Sheila had nobly resisted it.

In contrast the lockie at the Bratch was great, had his own way of working the flight and soon had us zooming up it. Mind you, he was doggedly maintaining the great tradition of moaning at the boaters. When Sheila appeared by the bottom lock he greeted her with "Oh no, don't tell me there's a boat waiting at the bottom?"

"Er, sorry, yes"

"Then how am I supposed to get my tea break?"

We've had a pleasant afternoon, pottering around with odd jobs like cleaning up the outside of the boat to remove bird droppings and the dried splashes from the leaking middle gates at Botterham, which had got all over the front and even onto the roof. I've made a load of bread dough, tomato and garlic again, and I took a photo of the sign at the greyhound rescue place to please some of my most dedicated followers:

Oh, and sit down quietly, No Problem Sue – Sheila's fixed that cord into my pyjama shorts, but there's no photo of that, I'm not that much of a sadist...



Dogsontour by Greygal said...

And there lies temptation...start your hols with two hounds, end it with three!

Enjoy your weekend


Davidss said...

I don't know if anyone else has mentioned it, but for a few days now, perhaps as long as a week, there has been a problem accessing this blog.
After the page builds the process stalls, in that scrolling down to see any additional script doesn't work. After maybe 30 seconds a pop-up arrives with the following:
A script on this page may be busy, or it may have stopped responding. You can stop the script now,
open the script in the debugger, or let the script continue.
Script: chrome: //global/content/bindings/browser, xml: 428

I am invited to continue, debug, or stop the script. I select stop. If I immediately attempt any other action, such as scrolling, Firefox adds 'Not responding' to the title bar. Wait another 10/15 seconds and normal service is resumed.

I do not (knowingly) use Chrome, so am not sure what action I can take, apart from not visiting the blog.
I visit several blogs each day, but cannot say right now if any use the same blog software as this one.

As I say, I don't know if anyone else has experienced the same problem.


Bruce in Sanity said...

Hi David

Sorry to hear of your problem reading the blog. No one else has mentioned it, so I'll ask in tonight's about it. First thing to try would be a different browser, I guess.

I've not changed anything in the template for a long time.



Jo said...

I have no problem ..... Chrome and my PC see it as usual.