Sunday, 13 May 2018

Start early, stop early

We'd calculated today's run at around three hours, so set off before eight, Sheila locking and myself steering. We were soon up Swindon and Marsh locks – it's another area where it's hard to believe that it was once entirely industrial, with a rolling mill on the west side specialising in silicon steel sheet according to Pearson's. That's all gone now, replaced with smart smart new houses – the only evidence that it was ever there is that the towpath changes sides between the locks where it used to avoid the works.

On we went up Botterham staircase. No trouble here this time and the two hire boats that had clearly stopped for the night above were just getting going as we went past. Sheila hopped on board again and I coasted along to give her time to sort the washing machine. Once done, she left the boat at Giggety bridge, giving herself a bit of a walk to Bumble Hole lock. The offside ground paddle wasn't doing very much there, so we took a bit longer to get up, but we weren't in a rush.

There were fishermen between there and The Bratch, so another slow length. Not one but two lockies were in attendance at The Bratch, one of whom helped Sheila with the gates but was careful to tell her to take her own time in filling each lock. A boat was just arriving as we emerged from the top and we had no trouble finding a mooring above, indeed there have been only two boats here all day. There's not been much traffic around at all, odd for a sunny Sunday in May.

Things had gone so smoothly, we were all finished boating well before coffee time at half ten.

Weatherwise, it's been glorious, so much so that Sheila has just taken the washing in from the whirligig and put it away. This afternoon has been a mixture of odd bits of work like washing the gunwale ready for painting tomorrow and of loafing on the bow reading (me) and doing crochet (Sheila).

I mustn't forget to report that our fish and chips last night lived up to their reputation. Generous portions and particularly fine chips, crispy-crunchy on the outside and floury in the centre. Thanks to John and Evelyn for the recommendation!

Tomorrow, the plan is to walk into Wombourne in the morning and paint in the afternoon.

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