Friday 12th May
I texted Zavala to see where they were this morning and they are not far behind me at North Grove Lock, so I decided to wait for them. I reckoned it would be two hours before they arrived and they were only ten minutes later than that. We had a good chat before going for lunch at Sainsburys, which was very well priced and good for the money.
Moving on, we did a few locks together before they moored up at a place where they could walk their dog. They also were meeting friends at Winkwell on Sunday and did not want to be there too early, because of a limited mooring time of 24 hours.
I did several more locks solo before getting to the Winkwell electric swing bridge. So as to get through without holding up the traffic, I asked a man on a bike to operate the bridge for me, which he agreed to do as long as I showed him how to do it – success once again. I think most people are quite chuffed to be asked and actually enjoy the process. As usual on a sunny evening there were plenty of gongoozlers on the pub terrace waiting for a mistake to be made.
I tied up and had a pint of Courage Directors, which is rarely available nowadays; it was so good I even had another one. I also completed a write up for NBT Pubs database, which I can also use in The Steerer magazine later.
The Three Horseshoes and swing bridge.
It was now time to eat that delicious chicken and prawn curry that I had made earlier.
Saturday 13th May
I was fiddling around again with the hot water system and had read recently on Canal World Discussion Forum that another boater had also fitted a tap between the engine and skin tank to improve his water heating, so I am not alone in doing that, but getting the setting just right is difficult.
Shortly afterwards a lone live aboard boater came through the swing bridge and I requested his company up the next few locks. As always, I offered to close up the top gates on leaving the lock, expecting to do just one gate; on two locks the opposite gate opened of its own accord, much my annoyance; I just left the second lock with both gates open, as the other guy did not hang about.
On arrival below The Rising Sun Lock at Berko I moored up, having told the other boater where I was going to stop. He was just setting the lock above where his boat was, so I assisted with the next two locks and said cheerio to him. A very nice guy who had bought a boat to live on after he and his wife split up, so he had nowhere else to live. On the cruiser stern of his boat was a 650cc motor bike and he told me that he had his own business landscape gardening and odd jobs and was almost overloaded with work; he also had two vans, so another partner was working with him.