Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"There's no such thing as bad weather..." (cruise retrospective)

"...only unsuitable clothing.” (Alfred Wainwright) Which is why I wore six layers of clothing today, from T-shirt, through shirt, pullover, fleece, and another fleece to a cagoule. With a body-warmer standing by just in case. And I was warm. But the weather was very cold indeed, and we had several spells of snow and hail, and the wind gusted icily. But there were times when the sun broke through, pulling blue sky along behind it. Weather, eh?

We started today's trip behind a couple of Wyverne hire boats. The first, NB Foxglove, pulled away from the second as they left the bottom of Stoke Hammond Lock. The second, NB Foxglove, was clearly being driven by a novice. No surprise there. Every boater has to have their first trip, and for most, that'll be on a hire boat. It was for us. But what do you do if you're rather more expert, and the newbie is driving very slowly indeed, and finding bridges very difficult? It's very frustrating having to dawdle, even when you're not in a hurry. They wouldn't move over to let us past. The skipper kept looking nervously over his shoulder. We hung back. We didn't want to apply any pressure, to stress him. He's on holiday. He's meant to be enjoying himself. We sighed, smiled, and dawdled.
The two Wyverne boats shared Fenny Stratford Lock, aided by the owner of an old, battered boat moored nearby, and myself. I do believe that the American crew of slow Primrose thought we were paid hands. The two of us had a chuckle over that. They left the setting of the lock to us, and sailed off, and Grace brought Kantara down. The two hire-boats were out of sight by now, but we passed the Americans mooring not long afterwards. It came as something of a relief not to be following them any more.

Milton Keynes was next. I like Milton Keynes. The canal passes almost entirely through attractive parkland and woods. The water's clean, the miles of footpath are clean, too, and there's no graffiti. While there are stretches where mooring would be difficult or even impossible because there is neither armco nor grass verge, there are plenty of very good places to stop for the night, or several days if you wanted to.

But for a change, we carried on out of the city, passed bridge 75 where we've moored several times before, and on to Cosgrove. Here we stopped, just a few hundred yards from the lock.

NB Foxglove passed us not long afterwards. The Americans crawled past two hours later.
Views from our windows

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