Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Voluntary lock-keeping ... and a stoning

Walking back along the towpath from the railway station to our boat at Festival Marina we spied a single-handed working boat about to come up through the five Stoke locks. So we did a deal: he'd carry our bags on the boat and we'd help work him up through the locks.
The boat was the very smart looking Cowburn & Cowpar 'Skylark' helmed by an affable chap who was happy to chat boats and engines - his being powered by a hot bulb single cylinder Gardner. (Sounds a lot like a Bolinder without all the hiccoughing and hesitancy.)
As we neared the top lock he introduced himself; turns out he was Rupert Smedley, Boat Safety examiner and writer for Waterways World - a member of the 'opposition' when I was editing Canal Boat!
This afternoon we headed back down the same flight in Star and found ourselves behind a single mum with two young daughters. Single as in single-handed that is. So, being the gent, I helped her through the locks as well as locking our own boat through.
I think that's enough of Stoke locks for a while.
Then as we headed out of the town to the leafier suburb of Trentham we spotted some youngsters on the bridge above. It was all too obvious what was about to happen - and it did. We went under the bridge and a flurry of grit and pebbles came raining down. I looked up but the kids had scarpered. No point getting riled - these things happen on sunny afternoons when the kids are on holiday.
Moored tonight near the Wedgwood factory; tomorrow it's Stone and a spin round its multiplicity of charity shops. It's the last town before we're back at Streethay once more.

No comments: