Penkridge to Compton

Today’s much more pleasant journey to Compton:

A totally different day today with a much nicer weather to be enjoying the waterways and today did not disappoint. Waking early with the school kids making their way along the canal we got a lovely early morning start. The first lock made me laugh as the water went all bubbly and the photo doesn’t do it justice but it looked like the boat was getting a bubble bath!

The cygnets are starting to change their colour now

We met a few boats coming down in the locks which is always a good thing as less work all round. Gailey top lock was particularly pretty.

Busy place here as it’s another location for an Anglo Welsh hire base. Luckily lots of the hires were out but it was still a bit of a squeeze to get through all the moored boats.

Richard kept on walking towards the next lock, I was concentrating on getting past all the moored boats with the bit of a wind against me. It wasn’t until I got clear of that and into the country I realised I couldn’t see Richard ahead anywhere. I rang him and we joked that he’d buggered off but then he admitted he wasn’t seeing a lock coming up either. I left the tiller to run in and grab the map. There wasn’t going to be a lock for miles! I told him to stay there and we had a laugh about it once I’d managed to get him back onboard. I think he secretly wanted a nice half hour walk by himself.

Lots of interesting sights along the way including a time travel back to 1980’s style graffitti work!:

Today was a day for people being dicks near bridges. I had sounded my horn twice before going into one on a bend only to find myself nose to nose with the guy when I was half way through. They looked annoyed I was on their waterway so I mentioned when passing ‘oh I’m sorry, you mustn’t have heard my horn that I sounded twice’. Given the speed we’re travelling it’s wise not to let your emotions get the better of you as you pass so slowly it just gets a bit awkward like a bad comedy sketch.

It started to shower again so a quick run in for the waterproofs.

Another bridge I could see someone coming through but it was directly after a bend so as boats have no brakes I popped her into reverse to just slow the forward motion. Often when you do that, the nose of the boat will go whatever direction it likes. Mine swung out into the middle and the boat coming hadn’t even looked up to acknowledge anyone was there so I bipped my horn and he saw me. Now I wasn’t totally bent out of shape but I needed some time and space to bring her right again (and therefore to give him space to come through). Looks like I wasn’t going to get that with him as he kept coming the speed he was going and I get very frustrated that he just wasn’t being patient for me to get Māhina out of his path.

Luckily the rain was short lived and the sun came out again. I felt a plop on my head and thought it was rain from a tree so put my hand there to wipe it and felt a massive sting in my finger. Turns out a bee had landed and I had scared it enough to sting me. I pulled the stinger out and went inside to find something to alleviate the pain. I then got grumpy as I wanted to enjoy the next narrow section but I barely caught a glimpse beyond the tears and pain. Thank god the baking soda worked and I did manage to capture these shots in the middle of it even though my eyes were blurry!

We’ve now joined back up with the part of the Staff & worcs canal we started up two months ago. Another downpour came just as we were mooring up and after that it dried up nicely and I had this fabulous view out of the window.

The day was rounded off nicely as friend and colleague Emma came to stop by for a chat as she lives locally. Was so good to see her, we’re all going through this mess together and having an in-person visit makes all the difference to my mental health.

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