Yesterday afternoon we moored on the new moorings at Benwick right beside the grave yard. Benwick lost its church in 1980 and since then most other services have deserted it as well. For more information about Benwick please visit their web site. http://www.lilyholtroad.co.uk/five-alls/ The only thing still running in Benwick is the local pub with the unusual name of The Five Alls. The present landlord has only been there since March 2011 and is working hard to keep it alive with regular events and web site http://www.five-alls.co.uk/.
Diana walked over to the pub when we arrived to see if they did food in the evenings which they do, but not on a Monday or Tuesday.
We walked over at about 1930 hrs. and stuck our noses round the door expecting to find the place empty, but no it was packed. There were 33 people sitting in the main bar playing Bingo, so I enquired at the bar if with this going on they were doing food tonight. The answer was yes and we were shown to the small restaurant through the back bar and given menus. The have a small menu of home cooked food as well as a Bar snack menu and a Pizza menu. We both decided to have the turkey pie with new potatoes and veg. What we received was a freshly cooked home made pie in a basin with a light crusty pastry top, not a piece of puff pastry floated on a bowl of filling. Served with freshly cooked vegetables. They had a choice of three beers , two of which were new to me so we sampled both of them and on top off everything it was good value for money.
This morning we woke it a cool but very mist morning following last nights clear sky when the temperature dropped to about 3 deg. When it did clear and the sun came out I just happen to look straight up at the sky and saw these vapour trails in the sky.
The Middle Level Commissioners have some very nice landing stages dotted around the system but for some reason they are not over the moon about boaters using them which is a shame as they would make very nice overnight moorings, something the Middle Level lacks.
At the junction of Whittlesey Dyke we turned left towards Whittlesey. We had gone about a quarter of a mile passed the junction with Bevill’s Leam when we came to a notice on the bank saying there works ahead and we should make sure we could pass safely before proceeding. If the sign had been at the junction we could have turned round if necessary. There was about a mile and a half of straight water ahead and as I couldn’t see anything we carried on, when we rounded the bend we found that the Middle Level Commissioners were cutting back the off side scrub and overhanging bushes. This has made a big difference to the look of things. I wonder what they will do when they get round the corner where this home owner has gone to a lot of trouble trimming his willows just leaving the branches that reach over the water.
We reached Whittlesey lock in glorious sunshine and of course the bottom gates were wide open ready for us. Last time I was this way I reported to MLC that it was impossible to draw one of the bottom slacker, Now they all have new shafts, threads and bearings, you still have to turn them 70 times. Inside the lock by the end of the old bottom gate recess there is the water depth engraved into the stone. On leaving the lock you have to close the top gates, drain the lock, open the bottom gates and wind down the slackers, if you use both slackers that is some 420 turns of the windlass, so stop moaning about Stockton locks. Once clear of the lock we winded and reversed the few yard back to the visitor moorings where we plan to stay the night.