Evening Lady talk 8/8/11
So this evening, Chris and I were discussing how we don’t miss television. Yes, we do get some news but not to the same scale we used to have in our old daily routine. In place of tv I have started looking at Birds in
. We have a tea towel bearing that name (bought from a 2nd hand shop in Foxton, NZ) which we have used as a colourful curtain to cover the glass and booze shelves located close to the dining table cum spare bed. Britain
I was observing a moorhen swimming on the “cut”. Moorhens and ducks are in big numbers on the canals. Swans appear, at times, but are common on the
Thames (HRH owns them). The number of ducklings, moorhen chicks and cygnets that we have seen doesn’t make me think these birds are on the verge of extinction. I wonder what they used to eat before canal / towpath traffic entered their lives, as they seem intent on getting food thrown to them. In a way these birds are like seagulls, with food demands, but not as aggressive.
The canal birds appear to have 4 activities
4) raising their chicks (that happens fast)
And No.3 on my list is cleaning. The ducks and swans preen and clean themselves on the towpath. If you see a pile of feathers on the ground, it is not the result of a fight but is the result of bird laundry. Sometimes, we have walked past grooming swans. They show their wariness in our presence and look ready to attack us if necessary.
Enough bird talk! Today, we had a BIG day going up the 21 Hatton Locks. This flight of locks is comparable with the
flight. We teamed up with another narrowboat, owned by Jean and John. Jean and I worked the locks, while the chaps patiently worked the boats. John kept giving a countdown of how many locks remained. At one stage he said “We’ve done six locks.” I replied “at least it’s not five!” We worked hard and pretty fast. It took @ 3 ½ hours from the start of the flight to the finish exiting the 21st lock. At one of the locks, British Waterways were mowing the grass, and one of the blokes offered to wind up the ladder and open the gate. Of course I said “Yes please and thankyou very much”. It was a grueling run. I was OK until the 16th lock when, I think, my (L) Deltoid muscle had had enough. It was very painful winding up the ladders and I thought I was not going to be able to continue. When 2 people are operating the locks, one stays behind to open / close the gates while the other goes ahead to, hopefully, have the lock ready for the boats to enter. I made my way to Lock 19 where I had an audience of gongoozlers. I greeted the “crowd” and set about to wind up the ladders so the lock would empty out and the gates could be opened for the 2 boats. I slot my windlass onto the ladder and could hardly turn the windlass. Some of the ladders are really hard to turn! Seeing my difficulty, a couple of the chaps came to assist and they were really pleased to be involved in operating the locks. It was great to have their assistance. They also helped Jean out at the next lock and then they left us to deal with Lock 21. I realized that I had been giving my body the start of a RSI by not changing my method of winding ladders. So, on the final lock, I approached the ladder from the opposite direction and it worked, I could do it! Then lashings of arnica cream and a healthy dose of Ibuprofin. Caen
9 August 2011
The day after, and yes it is not all roses in muscleland but it’s coming right. We have just left the Grand Union, after going through the Shrewley Tunnel and have now turned onto the
Stratford and . What a sweet canal this looks like. Yes there is the fair share of locks to be done but I’m off Lock Labouring for a wee while and about to build my skills as Tiller Girl. (We got more badges including Duck Spotter and Deck Scrubber!) Avon Canal