Yesterday evening after dinner we took a walk along the river bank to the bridge, crossed it and walked along the other side, past the theatre and stopped at The Dirty Duck for a drink. A fellow patron turned out to be the actor, Charles Dance.
This morning brought some welcome blue skies and although we were in two minds as to whether we should stay another day, decided to move off the river and start our climb out of the Avon valley. After making a short stop for water, Sue walked off to set the lock that would lift us off the river and into Bancroft Basin while I picked my way through some early morning rowers. As soon as we reached the first lock after the basin, we realised that we were probably following another boat meaning that until we met someone coming down, we would have to drain every chamber before we could enter it. After five locks we caught the boat in front who had stopped to dump his rubbish, we wanted to do the same so Sue hopped off at the bridge with the bin bags. As I started to draw level with the aforementioned boat’s skipper (Derek as we later found out) asked if he could could go ahead as his friend had gone ahead to set the next lock. I wasn’t happy about the request but figured that with so many locks it didn’t make much difference and that I didn’t want to be hounded by an impatient boater. Sue had other ideas and told Derek as he passed that if she had been driving Caxton, she would not have let him pass.
When we reached the next lock, Derek was holding his boat on the bank and offered to let us go first but explained that he was travelling with another. We insisted that he should carry on and that we would follow him. Sue then walked up to the lock with him, they had a conversation, “hugged it out” and made friends. While this was going on, another narrowboat, “James Arthur” appeared behind us. Anyway, over the next couple of hours we all helped each other up through the locks in the sunshine. By the time we reached Wootton Wawen, Derek was on the bank waving frantically to indicate that there was a space big enough for us. As it turned out it was a little short but the crew of the boat in front of him and just behind us were on a lunch stop and about to move off so within a few minutes we were tied to the bank thanks to Sue and her new best friend Derek.
We took a walk to the local farm shop and craft centre where we bumped into, of all people, Kerry Katona! We’ve no idea why she should be there but Sue went to speak to her and of course gave her a hug. She was really nice, friendly and down to earth, a lovely girl despite what the media sometimes report.
We ended the afternoon with tuna steaks, dauphinois potatoes and mixed vegetables for dinner.
17 locks in about 6 miles today, below is tonight’s mooring.