Friday, June 10, 2016

A short visit from friends - Tuesday

Frankie and Andy ony had a 40-minute journey to do, but arrived late because of a road accident. The weather was superb again. We showed them around the boat, had a cup of tea, answered loads of their questions about the boat, living on the boat, cruising on the boat, buying a boat... and then we set off down the locks.

Frankie stayed with with Grace at the helm, and Andy assisted me with the locks. He got to chat with vollies, too, and they were their usual entertaining selves. At the bottom of the locks, we moored outside the Foxton Locks Inn, where we enjoyed a late, lazy lunch.

A yellow wagtail, having spent some time pecking at its reflection in a pub window, flew away to Kantara, landed on a gunnel, and strutted up and down it, pecking gently at the bird he could see in our paintwork. Vanity, vanity!
After lunch, we did the short trip north up the canal as far as Debdale Wharf, turning round in the winding-hole before the bridge. There were three boats actually moored in the hole, and the only way Grace could turn without hitting them was for me to jump off onto the bank with the bow rope, and help to pull her round in a smaller circle than could normally be achieved. Grace didn't go for the idea of bouncing off the offending boats that I suggested. We were the last craft up the locks on the way back.

"But you've only just come down!", protested the chief vollie.

Grace was told by another of the volunteers that she has a bit of a reputation there for being a driver who doesn't hit lock walls or gates on the way in. She has the same reputation at Watford Locks, I told them.
photo -
We looked up at the sky. There was an increasing threat of rain and thunderstorm. Frankie and Andy had no waterproofs. Nearly there, though!

At the Top Lock, we met an Indian guy with his sister and brother-in-law. He was the only one who could speak English, although the only adverb he knew was "bloody". They'd only just arrived at Foxton. The locks were now closed, and most other visitors had left. It was a great shame they hadn't come sooner. Locks and narrowboats were new to all three of them. They'd never seen a bloody canal before. So Foxton was bloody good, locks were bloody amazing, narrowboats were bloody fantastic... He was bloody very enthusiastic!

We took the very last mooring space before the bridge above the locks. There was some awful parking before that, with gaps left between boats, far too small for anything but the smallest of craft, but which would have made a space for a couple of larger craft if only they'd been much closer together. 
What's that about? British reserve? Shyness? Modesty? Stupidity?

A storm looked imminent, and Frankie and Andy now had to walk back down the towing-path to the car park. They hurried off without further ado, wanting to get back to car before the rain set in. Actually, that only happened a couple of hours later.

Before that, I was hooking a huge tangle of weed out of the canal next to Kantara removing weed, listening to a woman on the next boat reading out an awful weather forecast for the next several days.

"We'd better set off really early tomorrow," she told the others with her, "and get some distance behind us before it all starts."

How wrong could they have been? The next couple of days were totally dry, hot and sunny.


  1. A great account, Roger! I love the Indian guy and his bloody nonsense :) what a beautiful day and so much fun to show visitors what's what. Maybe I'll be one of those visitors one day!

    1. Thanks, Val! And we'd be delighted to have you as visitors, any time you're in the UK. :-)

  2. PS Well done, Grace! What a great reputation to have!

    1. Thank you, Val! I'm not sure how justified it is, but I've had a fair bit of practice (-: