We emptied our rubbish and filled up with water and made our way towards the Bunbury staircase lock. (Two locks together).
From here on into Chester the locks are wide ones (the first we’ve encountered since travelling as “Wasp” in June) and we were delighted to see a boat ahead of us. We’ve travelled this way many times before, usually at the beginning or end of the boating season when few boats are around, and we’ve never seen another boat to share the locks with us.
As we pulled in behind the boat in front of us we overhead the end of a conversation that suggested that the boat ahead of us would be entering the top lock alone as there were two boats in the bottom lock already and they would be performing the “Bunbury Shuffle”.
With that another boat came up behind us and we got chatting and agreed that we would go down through the locks with them. With that a lady from a hire boat below the locks came up to say that there was a boat being towed and that the two boats would be coming up together. When we said that was fine but they would have to wait their turn, we discovered that they’d already entered the bottom lock. By this time a third boat had joined the queue at the top of the locks so the boat behind us agreed that they would wait and go down with the boat behind them.
That meant we entered the lock on our own again and we too performed the Bunbury Shuffle, (well almost – the idea is that the boats shuffle in a circular motion in the locks and one boat moves forward into the space left by the boat shuffling sideways, but the broken down boat couldn’t shuffle sideways so we had to squeeze by and cross over diagonally in the space left.)
The boat ahead of us was nowhere to be seen by the time we cleared the locks and so we locks we met a boat coming up towards us so we didn’t have to empty any before we could enter.
We moored on the outskirts of Chester at Christleton where we will stay until after the party on Saturday.