Today you have 2-4-1 Tuesday and Wednesday.
We left home just after lunch on Tuesday, Once we had got by all the tractors, skip lorries towing trailers and even Iceland, well that what it said on the back of an artic that only did 40 mph we had a reasonable run,all this was between Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds. The A 14 was no problem.
We arrived at the moorings at 5 30 pm and moved the boat straight down to the lock, this was to save getting Magic across the lock as he is getting decidedly doddery on his pins. As we left the moorings a LNBP boat was coming up the lock, they were on a training exercise with new crew onboard and they display a large notice telling you they are training so other boaters are aware of what's happening. As soon as they cleared the lock we went in and started loading up from the car,we had almost completed operations when a second LNBP boat approached the lock,so we had to carry the last box from the car to below the lock. Thy were only going as far as the Engine Arm to wind and then moor up for the night. We continued down the flight to moor in the bottom pound, from here it was an easy wander to the Folly for dinner. When we went in the lady behind the bar explained they only had a very limited menu as the chief was in Fenny doing a charity bungee jump, so I settled for ham, egg and chips while Diana had scampi and chips plus a couple of pints of Hooky.
This morning we woke to a clear,bright frosty morning and set off just after 9 am, we had already had several boats pass us. As we passed the moorings below the Folly we saw a duck with 17 ducklings only a few days old. Again there were boats moored right across the winding hole which would have made life difficult for anyone wanting to turn.
We continued on passed Napton Narrowboats, they had most of their fleet out which must be a good sign this time of the year. At Wigrams Turn we turned sharp left towards Calcutt, luckily we were stopping at the top of the flight for water as two boats coming up turned the lock as we approached, they had no idea we didn't intend going straight down.
While Diana topped the water tank up I went to the marina to book a BSS examination for our return journey, I now have to wait for a phone call confirming they can do it when I want it. Once filed with water we went into the top lock, closed up and waited until a Calcutt hire boat had finished maneuvering below the lock before drawing the paddles, Just as Diana drew the first paddle a boat appeared behind us, so paddle down, top paddle up, gate open and wait a few minutes for them to arrive. It turned out that the people onboard also came from Suffolk and were in the process of changing marinas from the Blisworth arm to Ventnor Farm so we didn't share for long.
We moored up for lunch just passed Stockton Top Marina on the long term moorings, most of which now appear to be vacant. Having just finished lunch a boat came by and I enquired as to whether he was going down the flight and could we join him. Before he agreed he asked if I was single handing, as there was a single hander waiting above Calcutt who when he joined them didn't do a stroke of work in any of the three locks.
We had a pleasant trip down to The Blue Lias where they stopped for the night, meeting only one boat half way down the flight.
After saying goodbye we continued alone hoping to buy an ice cream at Shop Lock, but Tim was closed. We met another boat leaving the next lock and then two more single boats before Bascote Staircase. At the staircase there were three painters working on the top chamber gates, each had a windlass as well as a paint brush and they set the top lock for us. I had already dropped Diana off so she went and emptied the lower chamber, I do wonder if any of them would have gone and done it if Diana hadn't. Once we were clear of the lock they drained the top chamber into the bottom one so they could open the intermediate gates again. If they did this after every boat they must have wasted many lock fulls of water.
We moored for the night just below Welsh Road Lock at about 4 30 pm.