Monday, July 01, 2013

Sunday - week 5

Sunday started dull, but the sun broke through by mid-morning, and continued that way until about 6:00pm, when it resorted to dull. It was very warm though, and very breezy at times, too.

We're seeing a steady increase in canal traffic now. Since last weekend, the number of boats on the move has multiplied significantly, both privately owned and hire boats. And today was a good day to be out on the cut.

Because of the number of boats, and because we had two slow locks up ahead of us at which queues might form, we didn't leave our overnight mooring until 2:00 pm. We planned only to travel the three miles and two locks to Tamworth, where we would do some basic shopping.

We stopped for water at Fazely Junction, where the Birmingham & Fazely Canal meets the Coventry Canal.

It was good to chat with a “character”, an old chap who's been out in his 32' boat with his wife since the beginning of March. Their trip had taken in a good number of canals, and they were now on their way to buy a new boat, the current one being too small for “The Mrs”. “After 45 years of marriage,” he said, “I just do as she says.” No wonder a 32' boat's not big enough for them!

Another character was the man living in the Lock Keeper’s cottage at Glascote Bottom Lock, who had a 
great smile and a gentle sense of humour.

He too, however, had a thing about keeping as far away from “the wife” as he could. Sad. The funniest thing was him trying to share his witty repartee with a group of three Germans who had only a very poor grasp of English. Not realising this, the guy thought they were rather dim! It saddens me a little that Grace, who is always on Kantara in locks while I do the heavier job of locking, doesn't get to have these conversations with lockies, gongoozlers and other boaters. For me, it's part of the fun of boating. She does get to chat with other helmsmen from time to time, whenever she shares a lock with another boat, but really that's not that often.

Arriving at the top of Glascote Locks, we moored below Anchor Bridge (73) to do some shopping at the local Co-Op (who seem to have the small town supermarket monopoly in this part of the country.) Atherstone is the next town we pass through, and this has seven locks. We don't want to moor there overnight tomorrow, so we'll just have another short trip tomorrow – 8 miles and 4 locks. This will allow us time to get up the remaining 7 locks and 3 miles or so to get through the town in the day, and moor out in the countryside beyond.

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