We spotted a Canal Boat Club boat, “Mad As A Hatter”, heading for the lock and we were in Romy’s words “off like a rocket” to share the heavy load down the Buckby Locks. We were just in time as another boat came round the corner just after we had set off. He thought he was going to go down the locks with us until we pointed out another boat was actually waiting in front of us.
Although not frantically enthusiastic about helming into locks with other boats Romy managed the whole flight very skilfully.
A single hander entered lock 11 and emptied it, just after Oliver and Mad etc. left lock 10. He was still there unable to open the gate to get out when we arrived. For some strange reason he had closed the bottom paddles before opening the gate and the lock had started to fill up again because he had not closed the top ground paddle properly! He claimed “these locks have been a problem for years”. He did the same thing at the next lock, so we rescued him again.
At the Bottom Lock, number 13, we were surrounded by staff from Santander who were on a team building day. It seems a shame that they were just pulling up weeds rather than something a little more challenging and helpful to the boating fraternity.
We stopped at Rugby Boats for diesel and a pump out. Our estimate was 100 litres and we actually squeezed in 108.9. Unfortunately the attendant, Josh, dropped the pump out adaptor in the canal and didn’t have a spare. It was comforting to know that we could use the facilities at Heyford Fields.
We turned neatly into the marina and proceeded to reverse onto the services pontoon until the wind caught the bow and absolutely refused to allow it to turn in the direction we wanted. We changed tack and went in forwards.
If we reversed down to Oliver’s mooring perhaps we could get into that without having a similar problem. No chance. When we were half way there the wind caught us again and so we entered the berth forwards as well. At least there were no dramas! Just two failures. In defence the wind was probably gusting between Force 5 and 6 so it may have been a tad over optimistic to even try.
That’s the end of another lovely holiday with Oliver who has served us admirably. Only one day of rain in a whole month, fantastic, and no dramas this year.
Thank you Toby and Sarah for allowing us to share Oliver once again. He is not as black as he was when he left his home but he probably will be after the weekend.