Friday, 6 June 2014

Start as you mean to go on!!

What a day yesterday was!!  I completely embarrassed myself at Upper Thurlwood Lock 53, the first of 14 locks we would be going through on our journey of 3 miles. In my defence, I had only had one cup of tea but that is no excuse for basically forgetting how to work the lock!!
I left Yogi untying the ropes and headed off up the towpath, the lock wasn't far and already had a boat coming up inside it. Man was working the lock, I thought he was a single hander but his wife was off picking wild flowers :0). 
We chatted while the lock filled and I offered to open the gate for them as we were coming in anyway. 
I sat on the gate waiting for the water to equalize, having a little push now and then as you do. 'Erm' said the man 'you're on the wrong side of the gate?'  'OMG!!' I jumped round to the correct side and proceeded to open it for them 'I do know what I am doing, honest!!' I said, quite pink with embarrassment.  
The couple grinned and chugged their boat out of the lock watching whilst I had a complete mental block and couldn't work out where to attach the windlass to the paddle!!  'Other End' Lady says, seeing my confusion. I was so embarrassed!! And seeing Yogi pointing and laughing at me did not help!!
To start with, it was quite overcast, not too windy but most of all DRY. We had a couple of longish stretches where I got to ride on the boat. But most of the way I walked. Nothing unusual there!
 Some of the balance beams are starting to show their age but I kinda like that.  It adds character I think, all those gulleys and laughter lines :0). In contrast to the beauty of the beams are the paddles.  Theyre amazingly heavy and also very stiff!!  I consider myself pretty strong, rarely needing Yogis assistance but one of them I think I managed two turns before I gave it up as a futile effort. Sod that, I was knackered by this time too!! 
A particularly small pound, you can just see Yogi sitting at the bridge waiting for the next lock to fill. 

One thing we did see, which I've not seen before was a farmer in the field next to us rounding up his cattle to bring them in on a quad bike. The farmer on the quad wasn't that unusual but the way the cows made their way back was quite a sight!  Basically, they walked, single file, across the field back to the farm!!  
I had to take a picture!! Is this normal bovine behavior?
This was our last lock for the day. Wheelock Bottom Lock 66.  Just above the lock Yogi spotted some nice logs so he disappeared into the field to collect some while I attempted to get Judge off the boat. He has taken to hiding under the bed when we move and I called him many times but was ignored.  He even ignored Yogi when he called him!!  We ended up having to turn the engine off just to get the dog out for under the bed for a wee!!
This is where I ended the day as I had started it.  To begin I had lost the ability to work a lock. By the end I had lost the ability to use a windlass!!  Yup, you guessed it, I had now developed flying windlass syndrome!! Resulting in Yogs fave windlass residing in the Trent & Mersey just outside lock 66 :0(. Luckily I didn't hurt myself :0)
We moored up, me feeling sorry for myself and a bit banged about from the windlass incident and Yogi his normal sympathetic self 'Ha Ha'ing at me. 
Fortunately, the boat behind us had second hand ones for sale and he bought me a nice shines new one :0)

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