When we woke we felt a bit chilly as after yesterday’s high temperature we’d not banked the fire up at bed time and the stove had gone out. As it was thick fog this morning we didn’t rush off.
After a Skype call to Laura and to my Mum, we said goodbye to Pip and Mick and reversed back to the winding hole, winded, and headed off into the fog, back the way we’d travelled yesterday, switching on the washing machine as we left.
We didn’t have anyone to share Shardlow Lock with but we shared the next two locks with a hire boat. There was a volunteer lock keeper on duty at Weston Lock who had prepared the lock ready for us. After this our lock buddy stopped for water and so we continued on again alone towards Swarkestone and caught up another boat so shared a lock with them, after which they pulled in at Ragley Boat Stop (a pub with good moorings and electricity for boaters). By now the fog had lifted and the sun was shining again.
We arrived at Stenson Lock to find a widebeam in the lock. There were three volunteer lock-keepers on duty here and a lot of people standing around watching the action.
By the time the wide beam had left the lock we were ready to enter, a boat came up behind us with music blaring and a young couple on board. The young lady got off to operate the lock. One of the lock-keepers opened the ground paddle for her and suggested that it would be best if the young lady didn’t open the gate paddle immediately but the young lady knew better and didn’t heed the advice. With that the volunteer lock-keeper walked away, as did her two colleagues and they didn’t reappear.
The young couple didn’t engage in conversation with anyone around the lock, nor did they turn down their music, and as the lock filled with water they edged their boat further and further forward and when the lock gates opened, the young lady got back on board and the boat sped off, leaving someone else to close the lock gate behind them and me on the non-towpath side of the lock. I closed my gate, and walked back round the lock, closed her gate, and got back on board. In five years of boating, I don’t think we have ever encountered such inconsiderate boaters before! I hope we don’t bump into them again.
We carried on to Willington, stopped for water before moving off into open countryside and mooring up early so that we could make the most of the late afternoon sunshine to dry our load of washing.
The hedgerow beside us was still well stocked with brambles and so I picked a jug full which I’ll cook and strain later.