Tuesday, 20 September 2016

East Mids Exploration: Day 20

We set off from Hopwas at about 8 this morning. It was pretty chilly to start, but the dramatic sky over Tamworth had just a hint that we might be in for a nice day.

When we got to Fazeley Junction, we stopped on the water point and while I dealt with filling the tank, Adrian went to the nearby Tesco to get some veg. Neither job took very long. As we approached Glascote locks, some ducks got a bit spooked, in the way they do. One of them took off alongside the boat, realised he was in trouble, took a couple of steps on the roof, and went down the other side. It reminded me of a triple jump.

A boat was just coming out of the bottom Glascote Lock when we got there. At the top lock, once the boat was rising, Adrian left me to it and walked up to the Co-op in what used to be The Anchor pub at the next bridge, to get the things Tesco didn't have. He reports that the Co-op is about four times the size of Tesco, and better stocked. At Glascote Basin, it looked to me as though Dave Moore was in attendance doing some sign writing.

The next stretch is through the back gardens of Amington, although it didn't seem quite so tedious today, perhaps because the sun came out. At Alvecote Marina, Chertsey looked very shiny. A little while later Bath passed us.

We went round Polesworth, then out into the country again, which looked very attractive in the sunshine.

When we got to the bottom of the Atherstone Locks, there was a boat going up, one to come down, and another waiting to go up. As it was 12.15 we decided to have lunch rather than following straight up. Of course while we were doing that, a single hander came past and started going up the locks, so when we were ready to go there were quite a few in front of use.

The single hander was very efficient, and kept catching up the couple ahead. We also helped each other out. Then two of the boats in front stopped in the long pound below Lock 5, while we carried on. It is a very attractive flight, even if the locks do take a long time to fill.

At Lock 3, we experienced rudeness without a word being spoken. We were just going into the lock when a downhill boat appeared round the corner, accompanied by three crew on the towpath. One of them walked straight past to the next lock without saying anything; the two women stood next to their boat, rather than coming up to the lock. I worked us through, opened the gate, wound the paddles down, and left the gate open for them. As I approached the women I smiled, and they looked at their feet, while the helmsman turned his back. He turned away from Adrian as he passed on the boat too. I don't think we'd done anything to upset them -- but they certainly weren't a good advert for the BCF, whose flags and stickers adorned their boat.

We cleared the flight in two and a half hours, not a record by any means, but not too bad considering we were following people up. We continued to a mooring we've used before, at Hartshill.

15 miles, 13 locks. (318 miles, 157 locks)



Gary Carolyn said...

Hi Adam , just caught a glimpse of you as you passed us today .Would have been good to say hello .. Maybe next time ! Enjoy the rest of your cruise .. Gary and Carolyn nb Inca .

Anonymous said...

Adam - Your blog makes uncomfortable reading. I can only apologise on behalf of our members. There's no excuse for rudeness. If it's OK with you I might refer in our magazine to what you have written. This would serve as a reminder to our members that if we identify ourselves as Christians certain standards of behaviour are expected, that people notice if we fall short and will judge us accordingly.
Jan Halford
BCF Chair

Mike Todd said...

I am glad that Jan has responded above as I would like to make it clear that membership of BCF (which as largely sleeping members we have) does not mandate such behaviour. Far from it. Inexcusable even if, in the event, it was just lack of good manners.

Elsewhere people have written about the apparent growth, especially 'in season', of boaters who keep well away from helping another boat pass through a lock whilst they wait. Some even recount occasions when a whole queue of boats just do nothing! One wonders what they think boating is about - surely, passing the time of day for just those few minutes is what makes it worth while.