Friday, 9 June 2017

A good evening and some interesting locking

We had a very good evening at the Anchor last night, though it's a bit of a strange pub. We went in via the canalside pub garden and at first thought the place was closed, as all the rooms we could see into downstairs were in the midst of redecoration. However, the upstairs area, that on the level of the road, was in use if sparsely staffed. There was good beer and an interesting menu, once we'd managed to find some to look at. We ordered a bit before seven o'clock but didn't get our food until nearly eight.

OK, so it's all home cooked and delicious, but that seemed quite a long time to wait. No matter, the company of Des and Gill was as good as ever and the evening passed very pleasantly.

We got away at around eight this morning and chugged merrily round to the top of the Atherstone flight. It was my turn to steer and the flight passed pretty uneventfully at first, until we got to lock 4 in fact. A boat was leaving 5 as we came down 3 and, seeing us, left the top gate of 5 open for us. 4 was with them, so we crossed above it and Sanity Again was soon descending 4. Then the fun began.

As the bottom gates of 4 were opened by Sheila, I could see a lockwheeler drawing the towpath side bottom paddle of 5, though the top gate was still standing open. I warned Sheila what was happening, though there was little she could do as she was on the offside of 4. I sounded the klaxon again and again, until Sheila started to complain of earache, but the woman nonetheless crossed the lock and drew the offside bottom paddle as well, never looking at me as Sanity Again charged down the intermediate pound, still sounding like mad.

Eventually, she noticed the situation and with difficulty wound down the bottom paddles. She then went to the top gate and started to close it...

Sheila had now arrived at the lock and remonstrated with her. Incredibly, the woman explained that she was closing the gate as the lock was only half full and she meant to empty it. This with Sanity Again about three boat lengths from the lock in a pound which was now about a foot down. Finally she was persuaded to let us in and asked "Should I let my husband know you will be coming out?"

Well, yes, seems like a good idea since he'd brought the bow of their boat up to the bottom gates. I won't identify the boat, but it was very shiny, trad engine, loads of brass bling and all the rest. Like they say, shiny boat, no brains.

Having finally got below 5, we tied, shopped and had a coffee before carrying on. There was a volockie on 6 (pity he hadn't been on 5!) and he helped Sheila to work us down. As we were doing so, Farne appeared having caught us up whilst we were shopping, so we had the further pleasure of their company down the flight, Des locking and Gill and Shona steering. We've stopped above 10 as usual whilst they were carrying on to Whittington for the night.

Tomorrow, we'll do the last two locks and chug round to Alvecote or thereabouts. After that, there will only be the two more at Glascote before a couple of lock free days along the remainder of the Coventry canal to Fradley.


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