While Lawrance is loosing balls and teeths in Portugal (and probably winning himself a Jester’s hat) me and WRT are starting to head home before the winter stoppages begin.
I know, we’ve been out on our own before (see Girl’s weekend out), but that was on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. A canal with almost ocean-like proportions, where even novices can hardly do something wrong.
No, now we’re on the proper canals. Narrow canals, with narrow bridges and, even more important, locks. Narrow locks, of course.
And we’re freshly blacked and touched up. Well, WRT is. I’m still blondish, and battered.
Although I’m sure I will manage to do the 60-odd miles and 44 locks, I think it’s wise to do a single handing course first.
With Linda from Cheshire Cat living just around the corner from Swanley Bridge Marina it’s an easy choice. With a double result. While she teaches me how to deal with the lack of hands and strength, and how to do locks, she can get me through the always horrible Hurleston Locks. All the way to Audlem. By then I also have some new rope handling skills (replacing the trucker’s knots with proper boatman’s knots).
For the next day I booked two ‘volunteers’. Pat and Stephen, who will help me through the rest of the Audlem Flight and the five Adderley Locks.
It’s the coldest day so far. They have to scrape the ice off the car windows!
One hour and forty-five minutes sees us to Audlem top locks, and another hour and I’m through the Adderley Locks as well.
For the third day I have booked a real CRT-volunteer. To get me through the Tyrley Locks. Locks in a gloomy setting, and with notorious bywashes.
After that me and WRT are really on our own. But, as per usual when Lawrance is not on the boat for a while, the weather is gorgeous, so with having no locks until Wheaton Aston me and WRT happily trundle along. In summer clothes.