As there were so many boats moored here at Norton Junction Graham and Jane have spent a few days breasted up with us. It is lovely to have such delightful neighbours and to be visited by “Paw” their cat while they are out during the daytime. He has been in and out of Oakfield like a yo-yo to be stroked, purring loudly. The weather has been fine and sunny while we have been moored here and Paw has been sunbathing. We went for a meal at the New Inn one evening and have enjoyed being on each others boats for drinks together and chatting.
As “nb Alnwick” was booked in to moor while the Crick Boat Show was on we offered to help work it up Watford Locks. Graham wound up the engine, it awoke from it’s slumbers and the gert beast sprung noisily into life. We took off in full wet weather gear as there was thunder and intermittent heavy rain. En-route Graham went below to light the Squirrel and left the Cabin Boy in charge of the steering etc. Soon we were at the locks, booked in and luckily as there was no-one queuing, started our ascent straight away.
We caught up with butty ( for our Ausie readers a ‘butty’ has no engine) “Raymond” that was being bow hauled slowly up by it’s volunteer crew. We had to wait in the lock below the top for a boat to come down into the pond, then we were into our last one, hurrah! As we entered Crick tunnel we could just see Nutfield towing Raymond in the distance near the other end. We made good progress through as there were no boats coming towards us. Emerging back out into the daylight we all had our eyes peeled for Alnwick’s allocated mooring spot in Zone 3’. Now, how the organisers expected anyone to read the wording on the A4 signage attached to the bushes from a moving boat I don’t know! I called out to one lady to see if we were in the right zone and she didn’t know. The moorings have been extended this year so it seems, and stretched from the tunnel mouth right up to Cracks Hill Footbridge! This consisted of a distance of over a mile and a half and if we didn’t see our spot we would have to turn and come back for another look. Of course it was still gently raining all the while. As luck would have it a few boats along, another boater was on the towpath and called out that we were to breast up with him. He kindly helped to haul us in to tie up to his boat. meanwhile Paw had been desperate to jump ashore to go exploring, as cats do. This meant shooting across the back of the two boats and then a long jump to land. We were all chatting when he returned and gasped when we saw him only just make it back over to the boat. Next job was to pin the plank out to span the gap twixt boat and bank, so Paw didn’t fall into the mud soup below!
We pealed off our wet clothes and hung them in the warmth of the engine room to evaporate. Yes, blog readers you may have guessed that as soon as we went inside for a warm drink the rain stopped and it brightened up, typical. It had been an eventful, but very enjoyable day for us. Soon Jane arrived by car and we all went to The Moorings for a delicious evening meal together, perfick!