Sunday, 10 August 2014

Grumpys' Saturday

Saturday 9th August 2014

Our intention was to cruise for 4 miles and through 6 locks and moor up at Scotsman's Flash.

Another chance for just a pleasant cruise.

So you would think.

But interactions with 3 old farts fellows presented the types of characters that you meet and really feel like throttling.

Old fart fellow no.1
            Working through Pagefield Lock and down he walks along the towpath with his 2 dogs in front of him - the dogs were great and very friendly - the antithesis of the owner.

When one of them - one of the dogs I mean - although the owner might well have been the type - does his business right next to the towpath at the lock.
Owner walks past it and we politely ask about him picking up after his dog - owner frowns, simply turns his head away and starts to walk off.
Our words to him become a bit louder and more intense - but enough to get him going, by which point we couldn't hear or understand him anyway - must not have had his teeth in.

Old fart fellow no.2
            Working through Bottom Lock (Wigan) and old fart fellow no.2 with Mrs old fart fellow no.2 walking past with their two dogs on the lead.
We comment that they are nice looking poodles.
Well you would have thought that we had called him a member of the Tory party - "they ain't b____y poodles, they be Bedlington terriers"
Our reply was to do with our unfamiliarity with the breed at which point he remarked that we should learn our history.
I think when next we speak with the relatives in their teens, we might ask about how their studies in animal history and husbandry are going - even though we are not "from around these parts" I am pretty well sure it isn't a subject at O or A levels - but I could be mistaken.
You could just imagine old fart fellow no.2 standing around the bar with a pint discussing with his mates the development and breeding of the Lancashire Dick Hound - or maybe it could be how well Wigan did in their last game.

Old fart fellow no.3
            Working through Poolstock Lock No. 1 - are you seeing a pattern to all of this.
The Lock was half full (although some might say half empty) and with no-one approaching from around the corner I opened the paddles (after unlocking), then proceeded to go around the lock to repeat that on t' other side (see I'm getting the language almost right) - the lock was now 3/4 full (or a 1/4 empty), when a person appears walking along the towpath - still too far away to determine if he had a windlass or was actually with a boat - but then the boat appears.
Now this is a lock that is slow to fill the last bit to enable the gates to be opened.
Whilst the water is still piddling in, old fart fellow no.3 walks up to the bridge above the bottom gates - then standing with his back to us, surveys something or other - no acknowledgement to us in any way; walks back to the boat; repeats this another couple of times - still no acknowledgement and certainly not an offer to help.
By the time he was on his way back to the boat for a third time, we had managed to open the gates.
I explained the episode to Diane over the walkie-talkie as she was coming into the lock - she slowed the boat to an uncustomary crawl - she was taking great care to not touch the sides (or was it that she was just going to take as long as possible to get through the lock).
Very methodically we closed the gates and slowly lowered the paddles taking care to not let them drop and be damaged for the next boat through.
We carefully raised the bottom gate paddles slowly so that the turbulence of the water wouldn't upset the boat moored below.
By this time I think he guessed what we were doing and he appeared to help open the gate. Still not a word and with a look on his face that would kill someone given the chance.
Diane could now see that they might have been in a hurry to get through the lock so she exited with a bit of hurry (not excessive) - just enough to ensure that may caused the other bottom gate to open - OOPS!! - now he would have 2 gates to close.

Brenda and I said hello to the lady woman on the boat but we only got a look away.

As we walked to the next lock we could see that the boat was stuck on the side - dammit we must have let that water out too quickly.

We carried on through the last lock where we managed to find and pick a hat-full of blackberries to go with the apple crumble for dessert; then moored up where we planned; the two girls had the chairs and books out to enjoy the sun - it may be the last for a while; and I got on with finishing painting the engine bay and got 3/4 of the gas locker done as well.

All-in-all a bit of an entertaining day with a pleasant end result.

Day's end - a lovely sunset

4 Miles, 6 Locks

Totals: 2763 Miles, 2058 Locks, 94 Tunnels, 33 Lift Bridges, 151 Swing Bridges

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