Tuesday, 6 May 2014


Norton Junction to Crick : 5 miles, 7 locks, 1 tunnel
To date : 1319 miles, 888 locks

Lovely misty morning that cleared to yet another beautiful day.  Every boater we spoke to today commented on the weather on this bank holiday weekend.

Today we had Watford Locks to do..... a bit more interesting than the usual lock flight with this one having a staircase of four.  They are managed by a lock keeper and when we got there we could see why!  Our arrival was well timed with just one boat ahead of us ready to start the flight. As instructed I walked up to the lock keeper to have him log us into our place in the queue.  Before it was our turn to start there were two more boats behind waiting.

I had read in one of our cruise guides that the boats waiting at the Watford Lock flight are "like ramblers waiting to cross a stile".  It did feel a little that way with each boat waiting eagerly for their turn.  The boat crews gathered to chat while waiting.  Most anyway.

It's the first time we've been through such a large staircase.  This one had both paddles on the same side with one of each set painted red.  The lockie gave the instructions...... the red paddle first and then the white.  The red paddle would let water from the side pound into the lock to fill it.  The white paddle let the water from the lock above into the side pound.  Slowly we made our way up.  I had told Mick I didn't want to be the steerer in the staircase.  I'll never forget the story from nb Two Jays of water cascading over the lock gate in front.  It meant I got to do all the work today which was good.  Seven locks is just a nice number.  At the top of the locks were three boats waiting for the tide to turn.    It's quite a long wait with four boats coming up before any of those three can star their way down.  We have to remember that there might be a long wait when we go back down again in a day or two.

Next came the Crick Tunnel.  Another three boats coming the other way to pass in this one.  We moored up at Crick and had a wander around the village, bought milk at the co-op, checked out the boats for sale at ABNB and chatted to some neighbouring moorers.  It feels so different here than what it did when we came for the boat show.  Firstly we came by car, but then there were dozens of boats lining the edge of the canal and people everywhere!

We have a little moorhen nesting across the canal from us.  The teeny chicks are ugly little buggers but still rather sweet.  There was an interesting sight of a male mallard duck gliding down the centre of the canal with 14 ducklings in tow.  There was no mother in sight and he wouldn't pause to let the little ones have some bread that we threw out.  I wonder why they're in Dads care today?

We will be back on Braunston for the weekend with a get together to look forward to!

On the home front, I had a bit of a shock at the cost of electricity when I got online to have the power connected at our house.  I'm hoping my calculations are wrong.  Either the power company's estimate of how much power 2 people use on average is much more than we actually use or the price per kWh has jumped considerably.  Without one of our past bills for comparison I can't be sure.

Then we got a water bill that was an even bigger shock.  How can an empty house be using 200 litres of water a day?  My mum watering the garden once a week could be nowhere close.  Some investigating is in order.

I've been getting emails and messages from home with comments about how soon our return is now.   We've been discussing how we will get home from the airport.  We have been looking at second hand cars for sale. We've been researching which washing machine we should buy.  We've even chosen a new barbeque.  Going home is beginning to feel a whole lot more real.

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