Sunday, 14 August 2016

Waving and Flashing

Tricky thinks it's time to get going

I started this week's jotting while we were down on the River Weaver a few weeks ago but never got around to sharing it.  I'm sure you won't mind me reliving a few of the highlights from the magical kingdom of the Weaver World.  Every lock is manned by cheerful Lockies, who manage our passage through their domain with anecdotes and information about the local area.  The keeper at Vale Royal issues a dire warning about Winsford Flashes and tells us tales of expensive rescues for the unwary who have ventured into the shallow, inviting waters.  They stop short of forbidding you to take your boat under the last bridge but make it clear that anyone stupid enough to do so is on their own.  I think that might be the favourite part of their job, relating those tales of woe, but it's still nice to meet people who actually enjoy what they do.  Our favourite mooring is on a field downstream of Dutton Lock called 'Devil's Garden'.  It's a very isolated place - just a few cows share the space and they stare idly in as they wander by to their favourite watering hole.  Walking the dog becomes a game of hopscotch to avoid the cow pats and there are thistles and nettles to be beaten into submission before you can settle into your deckchair to enjoy the peace - probably not your idea of paradise but we love it and return every year.  Whatever the weather, we are never disappointed.

Dutton Viaduct

 We rarely see any signs of life as we chug by the grand houses along the river  - there is a pub right by the water but its riverside moorings are in a terrible state of disrepair - even the ducks can't pop in for a pint.  Round the corner, a row of terraced houses have sundecks and jetties adorned with flags and bunting - these people are really making the most of every inch of their waterfront.

Beautiful riverside location

Some little bungalows further along caught my attention and I peered shamelessly in through their patio doors.  I was just going to wave 'Good Morning' to an elderly gentleman standing in his lounge when I realised he was only wearing a pair of underpants.  I quickly averted my eyes and pretended to scratch my ear to avoid embarrassing the poor chap.
I do a lot of waving you know.  I bet I do almost as much waving as the Queen.  I wave at small children standing on bridges.  I wave at fellow boaters to say hello.  I have a special wave for fishermen which depends on how quickly they get their rod out of the way as we approach.  Some of them leave it till they can check my teeth for spinach before they begrudgingly whip their poles out of the way.  I wave 'hello' to dog walkers and ramblers on the towpath and feel obliged to wave at passing trains and buses, just in case anyone is looking out of the window.  On Saturday we paired up with Naga Queen and took the Boat Lift back up to the canal.  We passed a pair of boats going down to the river as we were coming up and I restrained myself from giving them the full-on wave and just lifted a hand to acknowledge them as they sank out of view but then there was a whole bridge full of people waiting to see us come off the lift and of course, they were expecting a wave so I was off again - I just can't help myself.  The best wave of the day was when a little girl on a scooter stopped and pointed at Tricky, sitting in her usual spot on the hatch.  'Hello doggy' she called.  So I lifted Tricky's paw and waved back and did a little 'woof, woof'.  It was priceless to see the look of absolute joy on her face.
On sunny days, I turn the radio on and sing loudly as we chug along - it's usually just us but if it's a good song then I'll share it with anyone who happens to be passing by.  Pick of the Pops on Saturday afternoon is a must and the other week it was 1958 - not a year I can really remember, being just an infant (who's sniggering?) but I could remember most of the words to such delights as the 'One-Eyed Purple People Eater' and 'On the Street Where You Live'. Anyone else like a sing-song?
Today, we're moored by the tile factory just outside Burton-upon-Trent.  It doesn't sound idyllic I know but on a Sunday it's quiet and we usually get the place to ourselves until the forklifts start beeping early doors Monday morning - that'll get us up and on our way before rush hour.  Of course, rush hour on the canals doesn't compare with the mayhem of the M6 but we do get bouts of 'boat rage' when it's time to cast off in the morning and 10 boats have the same idea.  If you're a boater you'll be nodding and agreeing!
So that really is it from me for a while,  I hope you have a lovely week, whatever you're doing and I'll write again in September
Love as always
The Floating Chandlers