Thursday, July 16, 2015

On into Leicester

Gold light flooded the bedroom when we woke on Saturday morning. We left before the rascals of the previous evening had even opened their eyes, probably. It seemed like a long day, with lots of locks in increasing degrees of disrepair, and neglect by all except graffiti scribblers. The weather was hot and humid, making the locking all the more arduous. But the canal was generally beautiful, and we were well-rewarded for our efforts. Again, we met very few other boaters, and they all commented how they, too, had seen very few.

At one lock, which attracted several gongoozlers out of the adjacent pub, one particularly gushy young lady approached me.

"Well! What a surprise to see you here!" (Oh, blimey! Do I know her?)
"Well, I didn't expect to see a boat here!"
"Erm, but it's a canal. Boats go on canals."
"So, do many come down here?"
"Indeed they do! It's the Grand Union Canal, the major link between Birmingham and London." (You're British. Don't you know about canals, for goodness' sake?)
"Well, it was most unexpected, I must say! How thoroughly delightful! Thank you!" (Gush, gush)
"The pleasure's all mine, I assure you."

Dontcha just love gongoozlers?

Freeman's Lock. The last lock before Leicester, sitting alonside a huge weir which that day had very little water running over it. A group of young people from Poland, Ukraine, (somewhere where people speak like that!) were picnicking alongside the lock, and very eager to help me with a couple of heavy paddles and a gate. I was grateful. I was very hungry, dehydrated and weary. We both usually skip morning breakfast. It was 2:00 am, and I'd not eaten since 8:00 the previous evening.

Leicester was a great disappointment. Dismay at the litter in the river and alongside it, grafitti on beautiful, old bridges, people's indifference as they threw their cans into the water and their crisp bags next to the seat where they were sitting. There were no rubbish bins or dog refuse bins at all along the entire river frontage, though I doubt that these locals would use them if they were there. Mosque Castle Park was the same. Great resources for local people and visitors alike, wasted.

We moored at the CRT mooring beneath the park, opposite where we'd moored the last time we were here. It's secure and adequate, but unfortunately close to a noisy road, much of the traffic upon which seemed to be emergency services vehicles.

A female duck peeped out of her nest just yards away from us, in small, scrubby plants and weeds on a patch less than a foot across, and at the top of a wall some seven or eight feet above the water. Egg-sitting, we thought, though there was no visit from a male in the time we were there, allowing her to go and eat and drink. Sad. I didn't take a photo. I thought it would be too intrusive.

We were pleased to have moored close to a Tesco Metro. We were short of food. It wasn't a good one, though, so we didn't buy much.

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