Monday, 13 July 2009

Two pints well earned

"You must have lots of muscles" said one lady (unfortunately a somewhat elderly one). By the end of the ten Foxton locks, I was wishing I had more than the aching set with which I'd been endowed.
Foxton on a sunny summer Sunday swarms with visitors; they're everywhere, mums buying ice-creams, dads trying to explain the working of stairase locks to bored kids who just want to push a lock open, tourists photographing each other, Harley riders on a club run looking looking, well, tattooed, old men re-living their boating youth.
And through this mayhem is coming a string of boats, encouraged, in a none-too-subtle way to keep going down at a decent clip so that the queue waiting to come up won't have been waiting so long they' ve got totally rat-arsed at the Bridge 61 bar below.
Open the red paddle, then the white, then while the lock's emptying, you've got time to hurry down to the one below and open the red paddle there to get that started before running back up the steep hill to open the gates for Vicky to motor out, then lower the paddles, close the gates, run down, open the white paddle etc etc.
And all the time saying "excuse me" to people who've blocked the bridges, "you'll have to move or I'll be knocking you in when the beam moves", "yes, you can shut the gate for me, thank you" and, occasionally providing a quick, breathless lecture on how the staircase and side pond system actually works.
How the flyboat teams did this descent in 45 minutes I can't imagine. But at least they didn't have an audience.
After closer to an hour and a half we moored up, showered off the day's sweat and headed to the Foxton Locks Inn (okay but a bit of an eatery really) and the much more gritty and enjoyable Bridge 61 bar across the way for a couple of well earned pints.
Just a little side-step into Market Harborough tomorrow for some shopping - but no locks.

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