All posts by Duncan

Why do we love to moan!

Let me start this by saying, I love a good moan, and always have an opinion! However, I do believe there is a time and a place.

A couple of things recently make me think that we are too quick to rubbish our canals and the people who look after them.

How often have you had a conversation which includes the comment “ohh, I would never go down xxx canal, I know people who have had problems going through there!” It is however interesting that it is rarely the person themselves who have had issues, it’s usually happened to someone else.

It must be said that as well as going through some fantastic countryside, canals go through many more urban settings, and often through some rundown areas of towns.  Whilst there are places where I would think twice about mooring overnight, I would like to think that there are none that I would fear to travel.

Maybe we need to stop rubishing these canals and start using them. It is only by using them, that they will improve.

We are currently on the Macclesfield canal in what should be one of the busiest weeks of the year. It is interesting how few hire boats we have seen doing the Cheshire ring, and I suspect this is in part to do with the need to travel through Manchester to complete it.

The Ashton canal has always had a bad reputation, however, I must have done the Cheshire ring half a dozen times in my boating career, and I have ever had an issue!

The most recent of these trips was last year, and I have to say it was very much improved, with good overnight moorings in Manchester, and no sign of trouble whatsoever.

I would even go as far as to say that Castlefield Basin in the centre of Manchester is one of my favorite mooring spots.

The fact is that avoiding these urban canals means that we are missing out on some fascinating canal heritage.

On a positive  note, it was really good to read an upbeat  report of a trip down the Rochdale Canal in Waterways world (August 2017).

More of these please!

But enough of the canals, let me move on to those who run them.

Let me start by acknowledging there are issues with canals, and I don’t agree with everything the CRT do, but on the whole, I think they do a pretty good job. So why do we take every opportunity to moan about them.

Let me give you an example. 2017 is the 5th anniversary of the CRT taking over the running of the canals, and quite understandably, much of their media is currently celebrating the fact.

But why did one Twitter user decide to reply to a tweet from the CRT, which highlighted their successes since taking over, with a moan about the way they had restored a particular bit of towpath.

Whilst they may well be right that this bit of work and the decisions behind it have issues, maybe pouring cold water on the CRT’s birthday celebrations was not the time or place to point them out.

The fact is that as a nation, our canals ore one of greatest assets and generally, they improve year on year. All in all, 5 years on from when the Canal & River Trust took over their management, I would suggest that on balance thy have done a good job.

Let’s start supporting and engaging constructively with those tasked with the challenging job of managing the canals and celebrate the whole network, and not just the bits that travel through green and pleasant countryside.

 

The Shroppie

So, we are on our way to Worcester to buy a guitar. However whether we will actually get there is far from certain.

One of the things I have grown to enjoy about boating is the lack of need to plan, and the fact that most of the enjoyment is the journey rather than the destination. 

In my early boating years I was the type of person who, on picking up the boat, would already have calculated that given the daylight available could do the 4 counties ring plus the Caldon canal (both branches) in a week without breaking a. Sweat!

This trip felt a bit like a return to those days, and I am not sure if I will be able to keep up the pace, but on the other hand, I do like a challenge!

So…. The Shroppie. Everyone loves the Shropshire union Canal, but me, I am not so sure. 

But before I get to that let me talk for a moment about the feature on the canal printed in the latest issue of Waterways World. Whilst I would never accuse them of lazy journalism, I do wonder how much time they spent researching this article. Rather I suspect, they dusted off some copy printed in a previous edition. As eveidence, I present the following:

Barbridge – “with a pint or 2 from the couple of pubs vying for attention! – In fact there is only one pub at Barbridge now, The Barbridge inn. The other – The Jolly Tar I believe – was knocked down a couple of years ago! – in their defense, they do only show one pub on the map!

The Anchor – It mentions the quaint use of “Enamel Jugs” to serve the beer. Unless they have gone back to them, they had a hand pump on the bar when I visited last year.

It does feel a little like  they have dusted off some old copy for a feature on the Shropshire Union to save some time, but I may be wrong!

Anyway back to our trip, and my view of the SU canal. In my eyes it’s a bit dull, yes it does have some epic cuttings, but it was built to get from A to B in a straight line as fast as possible, and today it definitely still has that air about it. 

In this instance, we did infact want to get from A to B as fast as possible and in that it serve its purpose!  And it does feature may favorite sign on the whole canal network!

Good Job Mr Telford. For the canal – not the sign!

A Trip with a Purpose

It is said that every trip must have a purpose. Whilst, when it comes to narrowboating I would not always agree, in this case, our current trip does infact have a purpose.

To begin my story we need to go back a couple of months when, for no particular reason I decided to learn to play the bass guitar.

Rather than dive in and buy one I decided to see if I could borrow a bass so that I could give it a go. And sure enough, someone was kind enough to oblige.

The only issue was that it had too many strings! All the lessons I can find on line, bass, tabs etc are all for a normal 4 sting instrument, but the one I borrowed had 5!

Not a problem I thought, a 5 string Bass is just a 4 with an extra string (B if you are interested), so I can just ignore the 5th sting and use it like a normal bass. This was fine, but the probelem was learning an instrument is hard enough without having to negotiate unused strings. My so, solution was to remove the offending string!

Problem solved.

“So what does all this have to do with the purpose of a narrowboat trip” I hear you ask. Well let me tell you.

We had decided that this years big trip would be to Worcester. I also thought that if I am serious about learning to play the bass, I should at least learn on one with the correct number of strings.

As Worcester has a number of music shops, I thought I would combine the two decisions, and head to Worcester to buy a Guitar.

Hence the trip with a purpose.

So watch this space, and I will keep you up to date with how the trip and the Guitar playing go!

 

Beer and Brasso – Broken Cross BC Closing Cruise

closing_cruise-21-of-24Boating in September is always a bit of a gamble where the weather is concerned, but in this instance it was defiantly an each way win as the day, whilst not sunny, dawned dry & bright.

With the fire stoked, the good ship Blue Rover set off from Anderton armed with 4 copies of the observation quiz and eight eyes set to take on what was touted as the fiendishly difficult task of getting a perfect score.

Things started well up to the Salt Barge with answers flowing freely, but the monk’s hoods at the salt works sent the crew into a wild debate as to what constructed a cowl, and by the time it was resolved we were a couple of clues down! As anyone who has been in a tricky maneuvering situation knows, it’s amazing how fast narrowboats travel when you need time to think.

The quiz gave this very familiar piece of canal a new interest and it is remarkable how many times, the exclamation “well, I have never noticed that before!” was heard on the trip.

3 1/2 hours later, and fully confident that we had scored well on the quiz we arrived a big lock to discover we were pretty much the last to arrive with boats moored 2 deep from big lock to the corner.

A quick trip through big lock to the winding hole and back, and by 5 we were securely moored up just around the corner from the other boats. Ample time to finalise the last few quiz answers before setting off for the pub at 7:30.

We had been warned about BCBC time and that 7:30 for 8 meant be there by 7:15, and sure enough we were the last to arrive (well almost) when we turned up at 7:30.

I say we were the last to arrive, this is if you don’t include one member ( I will let you guess who!) who having just purchased a new headlamp for his boat, decided to wait until after dark to arrive so that he could test it out. I guess that could explain the reports of bright lights drifting slowly over the Cheshire countryside, that came in that night!

Having visited the London Camera exchange on a recent cruise to Chester, I was keen to try out my new toy, and thus being in possession of what looked like a proper camera, was quickly volunteered as scribbler & official photographer for the event (That will teach me!).

Throughout the meal, an excellent rendition of traditional British pub fayre, the wine (other beverages were available) and conversation flowed freely, and soon came the highlight of the evening – the results of the quiz!

Whilst some of the answers did spark some family lively debate; “was that REALLY a gold finger?” 20 minutes later the results were in – And the winner was – (obligatory 20 second pause) –  Peter & Judy Jones – a fitting result following Daeve Hook having triumphed in the last observation quiz – set by – yes you guessed it Peter Jones. All in all, a fitting result for the rematch.

With an uneventful and, without the stress of the quiz, enjoyably relaxed trip back the following morning, it was all in all a great end to the season.

Roads to nowhere

Before I start, an update on Floodgate – it seems the water pump was the culprit and the offending pump is now serving time in a CRT waste bin. 5 days later with stirling service from a battery operated caravan fan purchased from Lidl for a fiver, the cabin bilge is now pretty much dry and normal service is resumed.

The last couple of days cruising the Caldon and currently moored in the idyllic surroundings of the tunnel pool on the Leek branch, with only 3 ducks and 2 families of geese for company, has got me thinking about the joys of dead end canals!

Over the past couple of years we have cruised a number of them:

  • The Llangollen
  • Shropshire Union to Ellesmere Port
  • The Caldon

And they are all, in their different ways, wonderful. First and foremost, they are wonderful because they don’t go anywhere. The only reason to cruise them is for the joy of doing so. Because of this, and because most people don’t understand the pleasure of this kind of boating, they tend to be pretty quiet.

imageThe second thing that these canals have in common is that if you make it to the end, you are rewarded with an amazing mooring spot.

Up til now, my boating has tended to be about doing the distance, (usually in a ring) you have a week, or 2 weeks, and it’s about working out how far you can go in the time. More recently the distance travelled in a given time  has been reducing, but it has been about using Pearsons ( other guides are available, but not sure why you would want to use them) to  divide the route by the days available, and that was your itinerary. This trip, we had 2 weeks and the plan was “to do the Caldon”. Using the above system, even on a leisurely itinerary, we would be back in a week. So Pearsons stayed on the shelf, and we are going with the flow.  So far the flow has taken us to the end of the Caldon Leek branch and a night alone with the geese. Tomorrow  who  knows, but after 30 odd years of boating, I think I am finally starting to get it!

 

 

Water Water Eveywhere

Back on board for our 2 week cruise and fortunate for us we had no real itinerary, as things did not start well!!

I read in Waterways World a couple of months ago that being on a narrowboat is a bit like being stranded on Mars (as depicted in the book/film The Martian) whilst the consequences of failure are somewhat more drastic on Mars (get it wrong and you are dead!), I can definitely see the parallels.

The skills of problem solving and lateral thinking are key boating requirements, and in this case the problem was water – Too much of it in the wrong place!

The crew who had brought the boat back from Crick commented that all had been well with the boat, but reported a calorifier leak leading to damp under the bed.

Further investigation suggested the calorifier was not the source – seems that leak is sorted. Now to a process of elimination.

  1. All other pipe work – dry
  2. Shower drain pump and all connections – dry
  3. Carpet next to the bed – wet – very wet

Lifting the cabin floorboards we found the source of the damp. The bedroom bilge was full of water! Now everyone knows that in a boat the water should be on the outside, so this was not good.

45 mins and 10 buckets later, the water was put back in its right place, and the question then was where is it coming from. For this, there were again 3 options:

  1. The central heating
  2. Rain from leaking windows
  3. The one we really didn’t want to think about – The canal!!

Central heating was the favorite – it had never worked that well,  we had topped it up a few times and that water had to have gone somewhere!

We had ruled out the domestic water, as the pump had not been running (tell tale sign of a leak). But I decided to check the water tank anyway, and glad I did. It seems that the above is only true as long as it’s not the actual pump that is leaking! And it was. Didn’t seem to be leaking much, but small leaks add up over time! Still not a conviction, but definitely charged and reprimanded in custody pending further investigation! I still think this crime was not committed  alone, and central heating is still in the frame and under surveillance.

image

Anyway enough of the crime metaphor. I think a visit to Kings Lock chandlery may be in order later, and a maintenance day is on the cards.

As I said at the beginning, lucky we didn’t have an itinerary!

Roll forward 4 hours, and a very strange shopping list (water pump and a pack of Incontinence pads) later, we were ready to start the repair job.

Replacing the pump was infact pretty straight forward, with the only complication being why, when the old pump had a built in pressure switch, was there an external one fitted. Deciding that it was probably because the built in one had failed at some time in the past, I chose to leave it out. If nothing else it meant 2 fewer connections in the circuit.

Fired up the new pump, no leaks (check) water out of taps (check) – so far so good – and as a bonus the flow rate out of the taps (and the shower) were also much improved. All looked good, and to top it all, the amount of water flowing into the bedroom bilge ( where all this started) also seemed to be slowing.

Given that the water had had to traverse half the length of the boat to get from the leak to the flood, it was reasonable to expect that it would take a while to dry out, hence the need for the incontinence pads. These were installed in the bilge to soak up the remaining water.  Tip for anyone doing plumbing jobs, inco pads are an excellent way to soak up inevitable leakages – obviously really, not sure why Tena  haven’t thought of this already!!

Tomorrow will tell whether the problem is solved! Fingers crossed.

Call me crazy, but this is why I love boating!

Last Weekend Daan Saarf

  • Trips through the Blisworth Tunnel – 4
  • New music systems installed on the boat – 1
  • Miserable blacksmiths met – 1
  • Continuous Cruisers with engine trouble – 1

Since our epic trip to Crick at the end of May, Blue Rover has been based at Gayton, allowing us a few trips to do a bit of southern boating, before the boat heads back Oop Naarth next weekend.

imageDuring our time down here it has been great to meet up with old friends and make a new one – the Blisworth Tunnel – 3rd longest on the network ( beaten by Stanage and Dudley) and in my opinion – the most boring- it’s wide, and straight, and for the most part concrete! At least the Harecastle has the jeopardy of hitting your head on the roof in the middle!

It seems to be the case that wherever you go from Gayton (South at least) you go through the Blisworth Tunnel – my record so far is 31 mins – I plan to beat that tomorrow on my 4th trip this month! I’m sure I will miss it when we head home.

Friday was an epic evening as we met up with Alpha – a boat belonging to a friend on which we had our first experience of non hireboat boating – it was the first time Blue Rover had met Alpha, but they spent a wonderful evening breasted up in Blisworth &  I am sure they will be the best of buddies. We were planning a cruise together but when we arrived I was shown Alpha’s engine, and could see the pistons – I’m not that mechanical, but I’m pretty sure that is not good – so we had to cruise alone. it made me think that continuous cruising must be bad for engines, as it is amazing how many CCers have “engine trouble”. Alpha having been as reliable as clockwork for 20 years, has major engine trouble within 12 months of being a CC.  Though the lack of a cylinder head definitely removes the “” in this case! – If you want my full opinion on the CC debate, you will find it on the letters page of the latest issue of Waterways world!

3 things I will not miss whe we head home are:

  • Floating caravans – Sorry wide beam boats – we did see one moving though, so the rumours that they don’t have engines are not true!
  • Wide locks – narrow locks always have a queue of boats waiting, so why, when you go through wide locks, where company makes life so much easier, is there never another boat in sight!
  • The lack of village shops – S of the Blisworth Tunnel, non of the villages seem to have shops! – makes catering V difficult. You have to plan, and I hate planning.

Which brings me on to the music system – nothing to do with planning, just seemed a good time to bring it up:

Ever since owning a boat, we have been looking for the perfect sound system – the norm being a very unsatisfactory car stereo with Bluetooth phone connection. I now think I have come up with the ultimate solution. In addition to an inverter (my solution requires 240v) To implement this you will need:

  • 2 – Sonos Play 1s – though on a budget, 1 will do.
  • 1 Raspberry pi
  • USB hard disc

Together this gives a fantastic solution allowing you to play music from a library stored on the USB disc as mp3s, all controllable from your phone or tablet and removing the streaming issues we had previously. – If you are interested in the details leave a comment to the effect, and if there is enough interest I will post more details – I will probably do it anyway at some point, cos I think it is a brilliant solution.

Which only leaves the miserable Blacksmith – the fact is he was so miserable I don’t want to drag you down with the details – so I won’t. But rest assured it was a sorry story.

I can’t finish a blog written during these interesting times when we have decided as a nation to leave the EU without mentioning it. So I thought I would leave you with the up and down sides of the decision as far as I see it:

Downside – It’s  crazy decision made by people who have been conned by the politicians into thinking the grass is greener – A decision that I am sure we will live to regret

Upside – Us boaters  should get cheaper fuel as the tax on propulsion diesel imposed by the EU will be removed – number 1 priority in the discussions from here, I am absolutely sure!

All in all its the reason why referenda are a bad Idea, as they reduce complex issues that few people understand to a simple yes no decisions. In reality, life is never that black & white. That’s why we elect a parliament.

Let’s face it, asking the nation for an opinion never ends well – Did they learn nothing from Boaty McBoatface!

Day 15 Yelvertoft – Crick

Hours cruised – 1

Debit cards lost – 1

Briar Roses passed – 1

Marinas visited for non CRT facility toilet emptying – a first  – 1

Classic album – The Clash – London Calling

Final leg of the trip was going to be short. Couple of miles from our mooring at bridge 19 in Yelvertoft to Crick Marina and the mooring that was waiting for us at the show.

Should be plain, stress free sailing until …. disaster struck. The number one priority was to arrive at the show with water tank full and toilet empty. We had filled the water tank the afternoon befor and so it was just going to be a case of carrying the quarter full toilet tank the couple of hundred yards to the disposal point at the show.

However this plan had not taken into account the presence of 2 small children on the boat the day before (the ones who stressed the dog yesterday) who, being excited about their first visit to a narrowboat (quite understandably) were making sure to use all the available facilities to the full and in the process transferred a significant quantity of water from the water tank into the toilet. Refilling the water tank was not too much of an issue but the quarter full (5kg) toilet tank had just become a full (20kg) toilet tank. Carrying this 200 yards to empty was no longer such a relishable (heard today that Shakespeare just made words up if he couldn’t find one to suit, so thought I would do the same!) prospect.

The solution was a trip to Yelvertoft Marina and the payment of £2.50 to use their facilities. Definitely money well spent!

Water tank full and toilet empty, we were ready for arrival at the show. So arrive we did.

Next couple of hours were spent cleaning the dog hair from the interior of the boat and being passed, for the final time, by one of the Briar Roses not sure which, they have blurred into one by now!

We now had a shiny (well half the boat anyway, as we never got round to polishing the second side, but no matter, as no one will see it) dog hair free (relatively) boat ready for the show.

The other half of the crew arrived later in the afternoon and decided to risk the wrath of the show organiser by getting the drone out. The result is a great aerial video of the crick show ground (being careful not to overfly the showground – Heath & Safety & all that).

Evening finished with a very enjoyable meal at the Wheatsheaf in Crick, and realisation that I had lost my bank card – now cancelled.

Back to the fairylight adorned boat for Classic Album, chocolate and an early bed, ready to hit the show tomorrow.
A fun 2 week trip to get here, that will be followed by a 2 hour trip home on Monday.

I guess that’s progress! Not sure I approve.

Day 14 – Yelvertoft (ish) to Yelvertoft

Hours cruised – 2

Boat sides polished – 1

Times passed Briar Rose – it’s complicated

Kingfishers – 1 – Finally a Kingfisher sighting

Other interesting birds – 1

Classic Album – Beatles – Rubber Soul

Today was another of those classic boating days, where basically after 2 hours cruising, you pretty much end up where you started from! In this case Yelvertoft. The trip was, however, critical to the plan. And the plan started by polishing and generally sprucing up the bank side of the boat. We obviously filled the day with something as I didn’t have time to take any photos! I have, therefore, found a picture of a Questing Vole to fill the gap – why will become clear.

It’s usually half way through the process of polishing, that a 30ft boat suddenly doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. 62ft is a lot of polishing! That said, once finished it did look very shiny!

It was during this polishing that we had our first passing by Briar Rose. This time not the one we had been playing leapfrog with all week, but a new Briar Rose – the one that had been stuck at the bottom of Buckby locks – I did say it was getting complicated!

Side polished and key areas painted, we set off the 2 miles to where we could turn round. Turning round was another crucial part of the plan because:

  1. It meant we were now pointing in the right direction to get to Crick
  2. The other, non polished side of the boat was now bankside, and accessible for polishing

We were now heading back towards Yelvertoft where we had agreed to meet some friends for the evening (at bridge 19). Given the total lack of visitor mornings at Yelvertoft, it was a bit of a gamble but as it turned out, one that paid off – more later.

Heading back to Yelvertoft, we passed 2 boats of note. Briar Rose – the original one this time, not the new one that had passed us earlier. I was now totally convinced that these people were following us, what other explanation could there be for so many chance encounters! Turns out ( sorry couldn’t resist it any longer), however that there was another explanation – they too are heading for Crick! What are the chances!

The other was Sleeping Otter. We have seen a number of water mammal themed boat names on this trip including pretty much every variation of Otter (Wild, Tame, Sleeping, and just plane unadorned Otter). Only one, however, was Vole themed,  and this was the Questing Vole – definitely the best boat name we have seen, with the exception of maybe “Aunt Mable” but I suspect the owners of this may have had an ulterior motive “We are just going to visit Aunt Mable,” would be their cry, as they escape to the boat, leaving people with that warm glow of what wonderful people they were spending so much time with their elderly relative ( for some reason Aunt Mables are always old!)

It was on this part of the trip that the kingfisher made an appearance – 2 weeks on a boat and this is the first kingfisher we have seen. Never mind water voles, I think Kingfishers need to be put on the endangered list!

Once at Yelvertoft, lack of mooring meant we would fill up with water, park precariously on a bend next to bridge 19 to go into the village to do some shopping, then try to find somewhere to stop not too far up the canal, close enough to bridge 19 to meet our friends.

However a lady across the canal, obviously overhearing our conversation as we were mooring said, “you are fine mooring there as long as you want”, and “you had better hurry if you want the shop, the miserable guy who runs it has a habit of shutting early”. When asked about the fantastic butcher/deli mentioned in Parsons, we were told, “Yes there is a good butcher but he is probably closed, as he only opens when he fancies it.” I am assuming that she is not a spokesperson for the Yelvertoft Tourist board!

Undeterred, we decided to walk into the village anyway. The village shop was open and was, indeed staffed by someone who would not win “Britain’s Cheeriest Shopkeeper” competition. He did however supply, bread, cake and fruit at a resonable price.

We then moved on to the Butchers/Deli. This too was open, and again surrounded by the price reality suspension field beloved of farm shops and artisan delis. So yes you guessed it – more £6 biscuits! The last ones were very nice though!

Back to the boat just in time for our friends to arrive.  By now the sun was out, and it was turning into the nicest evening of the cruise, time for the first BBQ of the trip and the appearance of interesting bird number 2 – a spotted woodpecker (not sure if it was lesser or greater spotted, so let’s assume it’s the common one – I will leave you to research that one).

I am obviously out of practice on the BBQ front though as I managed to burn pretty much everything! Most of the burned offerings were eaten though, so they can’t have been that bad and hopefully no one will die! We will know for sure tomorrow!

2 smallish children (7 & 9) meant the dog was a little stressed, but she is now asleep and snoring, so has obviously got over it!

Tomorrow – Crick!!

Day 13 – Braunston to Yelvertoft (ish)

Hours cruised –  7 – plus a 2 hour wait at Watford

Intertesting people met – a number

Domestics narrowly avoided – 1 – not ours I might add

Classic Album – Pink Floyd – Dark side of the Moon

Well the plan pretty much worked! Admittedly it was 8 that I got to the butchers, and 9 when we left, but other than that, the plan came together pretty much, well… as planned! Got to the bottom of Braunston locks just as 2 boats went in in front of us, so we would be on our own. But as I guess was to be expected, by the time we were ready to go, a boat turned up. Not the over crewed Hire boat one would hope for when looking for a lock companion, but a single handed boater! Oh well, if nothing else, we would have some “Lock padding” in the wide locks to stop us bouncing around.

In fact, the guy on the boat was pretty efficient, and def made the journey up easier. Fortunately, he also had pretty much the same opinions on all that is wrong with the world, so we were able to have a mutual moan as we went up – perfect!

At the top, we said our goodbyes and set off through the tunnel, and round Norton Junction – Buckby locks still closed, so free run to Watford, where there were only 2 boats waiting. The boat in front was going to Crick as a show boat. They had bought it 2 months ago and been asked by the company they bought it off if they could show it at Crick. Luckily it had not been out much since then, so still looked pretty unscratched! Made me think that maybe we should offer to show Blue Rover to show what a real boat looks like after being lived on by 2 people and a dog for 2 weeks. #notsoshiny, #doghairincluded.

  
Suspect the above picture may be different now! 

Whilst waiting, the news came through that the locks were open (for narrowbeams at least- one of the gates still won’t open!). The tsunami of boats up Watford was soon to follow.
Talking to the lock keeper having got our name on “the list”, plan was 4 boats coming down, then -wait for it- a CRT workboat doing some scheduled maintenance – we must remember that this scheduled maintenance prevents situations like the Buckby closure! – let’s think about that:

  1. The scheduled maintenance was – repainting Cill markers
  2. Buckby locks had closed because some idiot – yes an idiot even under the new rules- had been making a cup of tea in the lock whilst his boat lifted the gate off its hinges!

Struggle to see the connection myself

  
Through skillful negotiation by the lock keeper they decided to do their scheduled maintenance by carrying the paint can through the locks (rather than bringing  it down in a boat) hence removing the need to close the locks whilst they did it. It did still take 2 of them to do the job – one to carry the can, and one to paint the word Cill – and paint a nice block border round the marker. As they say – “You can take the CRT out of British Wateways but you can’t take BW out of the CRT!”)

Anyway – 2 hours later (not a bad wait for Watford) we were on our way.

By the way, the domestic had been about whether or not to go through a lock – fact is it would have made no difference – See Middlewich idiocy day 2 – so I left them to it. They were still talking to each other when we passed them later so obviously the issue was resolved!

On the way up the locks I saw a wonderful bit of Graffiti – on one of the Cill makers someone had added RIP (Cill) a – obviously a very big fan!

  
Past Watford, we cruised on past Crick – Enjoying the cruise so much, we didn’t want it to end – and on to Yelvertoft, though finding a pace to moor was a little tricky as every piece of Armco had a boat on it, many of which looked like they hadn’t moved in a while! The joys of southern boating – makes me hanker for those empty Northern canals!

Another post without using the phase “It turns out” – whilst still managing to get it in under the wire – Genius!