Friday, 14 April 2017

Slogging it down to Greensforge

We'd planned to start down The Bratch at eight today, having checked with the lockie yesterday that that's when he opens up, but didn't wake properly (after a poor night, blame the Co-op tortelloni) until seven. However we still made it, just, and had a straightforward trip down that odd flight of three. Mark the lockie is a very pleasant and knowledgable chap, a boater of forty years, so much the same level of experience as ourselves. He was assisted by just one volockie this morning, though there were three volunteers about yesterday

As Sanity Again sank in the bottom lock, I was told to get on and the two lockies closed up behind us. As I did so, Sheila said "I thought you were walking to Bumble Hole?"

"I was," I said, "but the lockie told me to get on the boat and I always do as the lockie tells me." Many moons ago, I anticipated an instruction from a lockie at Foxton, the fabled and dreaded Mick, and after that I've always done as I'm told ;). Well, by lockies, anyway.

So I rode to Bumble Hole lock, just round the corner, worked us down it then hopped on with the intention of riding to Botterham too. Unfortunately I misread the Pearson's Guide and got Sheila to drop me at the wrong bridge, leaving me with about a mile to walk to the staircase. It's a while since I've had that classic lockwheeler's experience of trudging on and on and on, wondering where the h*ll the damn lock has got to.

Once there, at last, I soon had it set up, top lock full (it was already) and bottom lock empty. As we finished, a boat appeared from below so I didn't need to close up. The thing is, the next five locks really are all within walking distance, so I ended up hoofing it for most of the morning. At Hinksford I took over steering and let Sheila finish that one. She then rode for a couple of bridges before hopping off to suss the mooring opportunities at Greensforge.

There turned out to be a long long length of long term moorings, mostly vacant, then one boat length of visitor mooring before the water point, occupied. So we stopped to water and have a mid morning cup of coffee. There was a load of space below the lock and we found a spot reasonably clear of the shade. It's very pleasant here.

This afternoon, we managed to find the Ashwood Nurseries garden centre nearby, another walk along a couple of roads but not too problematic with grass verges most of the way. Just before getting to the garden centre you cross a strange single track iron road bridge over the Ashwood Arm that houses Ashwood marina. It's much larger than you'd think from what you can see from the mainline.

Sheila bought some petunias and a spearmint plant and has now planted up the other troughs and the big blue pot. It's been raining on and off all afternoon, just what the new planting needs.

Meanwhile, I've solved the Pages problem from yesterday by finding the install disc for iWork '09 and putting the old, fully featured version of Pages on the new laptop.

Tomorrow, on through Stourton Junction and Stewponey Lock to Kinver.


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