Yesterday we came up Bourton Lock, the lock cottage is in the same state that it was last time we came this way. One thing I had never noticed before is that has been extended by about a third some time in the distant past. The joint and different size bricks are very obvious between the front door and the left hand window. I wonder how long it will be before its lived in once again.
This morning we set off at 10am to a miserable morning, not really raining but not dry. The Cropredy Canoe Club were out in force, the first ones came by about 9-30 and we met most of the rest of the club by the long term moorings. There were still a few at the club getting ready to go as we passed.
While waiting with the bows against the bottom gates to go into Cropredy Lock there was a load clonk and the engine which was on tickover stalled. I restarted the engine but no drive, there was something big in the prop. Down the weed Hatch I found a stick about an inch and a quarter in diameter across above the prop and under the weed hatch. I set too with my saw but I cut from the wrong side resulting in the wood jamming the blade and snapping. Saw No.2 on the job working from the other way and it was soon free and we were on our way.
We were expecting a fast run up the Claydon flight, a boat was coming down in the bottom lock as we arrived and there was nothing ahead, the second lock had one of bottom gates open so it should be good. However as we rounded each bend in the flight another boat coming down had just turned the lock and were about to enter, so we had to wait for each one.
As the day progressed the weather improved and just after we passed the Wormleighton tower Diana decided she would like to pick some blackberries, so I dropped her off as we went under the footbridge.What happens, the farmer has flailed all the hedgerow and there wasn’t a berry to bee seen for quite some way.
At Marston Doles Top Lock there are even more cars. I think there may be someone living in the Cannaught coach as I noticed that it has been levelled on wooden blocks. There is also an old enamelled advertising board above the door to the building advertising petroleum spirit.
When we arrived at the Engine Arm we decided to wind and back down towards the lock for the night so that we can unload the boat to the car in the morning. Whit I haven’t mentioned was the boat moored with its bows directly opposite the Arm. I swung the bows into the Arm with lots of welly to push it round then hard astern to drag back out of the mud. At this point the lady on the moored boat hurriedly opened her cratch and asked if I wanted her to move, but at only 57ft I was OK and the stern cleared her bow as we continued round. I have never winded from this direction before and its much easier than when you do it after coming up the flight. I reversed back to about 200ft from the lock and moored for the night, dead on 6pm. Tomorrow its just a case of taking the stuff to the car and then “Parking” Harnser down the Engine Arm before heading back to Sunny Suffolk for a family wedding.