After a very peaceful night, the day that awaited us was less than brilliant – in terms of the lack of sunshine – once again the weather report of periods of sunshine was not as accurate as we had wanted.
Nevertheless we left reasonably early, but with at least 5 miles of lock-free travel in front of us, I left it with Diane to steer the boat whilst I stayed inside and got on with doing some work – only emerging to the occasional whistle for something of interest or concern.
Soon enough we were at Tixall Lock and both of us worked the boat through – and with a boat coming up we were able to leave the gates open – the boat coming up just happened to be Gill and Malcolm (nb Shoehorn) – no time to talk – just a few passing comments – they were off and so were we.
Tixall Wide came along and whilst there were plenty of mooring spaces we were not stopping in this instance – Diane was on a mission – heading towards Sandon – for either afternoon tea or dinner.
We were approaching the junction, but decided to pull in after the first aquaduct to allow two boats coming towards us to pass through; Diane was readying herself for the lookout job on the front of the boat for the junction when I heard a mighty thump from the front. The boat was already in neutral and hardly moving – I looked down the starboard side and could see two feet overhanging – one dangling a bit in the water, but in no time at all, there were men on each side yelling excitedly to slow down; stop; throw a line; etc etc.
As I had said, the boat was almost stopped and in neutral; the look down the side allowed me to size up the problem – wife fallen on gas locker; feet still moving and body above water – not dead; time to move the boat to the side effectively without any panic – the panic was confined to either side of the canal.
I did chuck the centre line to the tow path side and the man helped to pull us in – many thanks to both of them for their concern but the situation was totally under control.
Diane managed to right herself and with only a few superficial bruises, she was OK – not as bad as when she had “broken” her leg last December.
The second of the boats went through and we carried on through the junction.
At that point we spotted Phil and Barb (nb Columbo II) at the water point – once again just a quick hello, how are you? , how is the engine? , how is the heater? , see you back in the marina. – and that was it.
No more problems with the rest of the cruise up to Sandon where we moored up on the Armco.
A booking for dinner had been made at The Dog and Doublet – Elaine and Paul were to join us.
The meal, as usual, was excellent; the after dinner drink was less so – not because of the drinks, but one obnoxious gent (term used very loosely), took exception to us moving one chair a few inches to give us a bit of room (he wasn’t even there) and didn’t impinge on where he was sitting.
He went off a bit, so we ignored him; he finished his drink (I presume – I was with my back to him) and then got up and had a go at us for not even apologising for moving the chair – a bit blue in his language.
Paul took offence at his manner and arose from his seated position; the guy continued to be obnoxious; I wasn’t going to apologise for something that happened when he wasn’t even there; told Paul to sit down because he wasn’t worth it – he mouthed off a bit more and then left – apparently he was staying in the accommodation annexe of the place – but he had already been a bit abusive at the bar earlier.
We carried on with our chatting; the people in the other corner were a bit dumbfounded about his attitude and we laughed it all off.
|Where's a pheasant plucker when you need one ?|
|A horny cow|
|The welcoming home committee|
Diane managed to get a couple of loads of washing done in the time from leaving Sandon to mooring up in the marina – remarkable woman that she is – nothing stands between her and the chance to wash (maybe except for actually having something to wash)!
14 Miles, 4 Locks
Totals: 2184 Miles, 1629 Locks, 74 Tunnels, 32