After a pointless walk to the Post Office in Audlem (closed till further notice), and having Gary Spruce delivering a new CO-alarm, we set off. No sun today, and strong winds, guess who’s on the tiller? And who’s doing the twelve remaining locks of the Audlem Flight?
To keep up my lock skills I do Lock 13 for a single boater. When I open all the paddles I’m sure I see the grass next to the lock ‘wave’ and fall. No, I’m not drunk, and my glasses don’t play that kind of tricks with me. I report this to the CRT crew that’s gathering here at the moment. Somehow I don’t think they believe me…
All locks are set for us. I.E. they are empty. Except for when we approach Lock 8. There is a CRT crew examining the lock for future maintenance work. One of them sees us coming, and decides to help us: he starts filling up the lock. He explains his mistake with the words: usually the boats come from the other direction…
While the lock gets empty again I have to deal with the weir just after Lock 7, the strong winds, and the by-wash at Lock 8. Like I have to deal with the weir after Lock n, the strong winds, and the by-wash at Lock n+1.
I manage to rip off the remains of the Alde flue cap, and some paint miraculously disappears as well.
At Lock 1 (in the middle of nowhere) a lady helps with the lock. My first thought: hookers? No, she lives at the cottage and sells cream-teas-to-go. A very welcome lunch, after all the work.
When we get to Adderley Locks I realise I found a way to handle the wind and the by-washes.. All these locks are set for us as well, but an oncoming CRT barge decides not to wait, and makes us get stuck between Lock 3 and Lock 4. This Lock 4 is a bit of a pain, because with all the paddles open, it fills till just under two inches, and starts unfilling again. It needs two people to force the front lock door open to fill it completely and to let us out.
We moor at Bridge 62 at Market Drayton. A few minutes later I see a boat, reversing towards us. An oldish women, with an old boat, reverses from one 48 hour mooring to the next. She doesn’t have a clue how to reverse her boat, and she runs straight into our freshly painted WRT. Both WRT and me scream, but the woman (certainly high on something) just shrugs her shoulders.
That’s enough for us, after about 6 miles of cruising and 17 locks. Lawrance is knackered, I’m frozen. So we call it a day (or two).