The Cruise of the Dondevoy

    


Up the last five locks of the Southern Stratford, and past the canal office, where no-one asked to see my licence. Thankfully, for it was three days overdue, so it was with a sigh of relief that I moored for lunch in Lapworth Basin. Afterwards there was the long haul up the first part of the Northern Stratford Canal, back on British Waterways territory where the locks are so much easier to work.

I was amused to see a boat out for the weekend, loaded with people all shouting instructions at each other, and pulling aimlessly on strings, with the apparent purpose of grounding the boat still further.

In the thick of the flight, I had an interested audience, who followed me up a few locks, and asked me questions as I walked briskly about. This sort of thing is very ego boosting, but wearing, as one has to put up a good show to impress them fully with efficient locking.

Lock 8 of the Lapworth Flight on the Northern Stratford Canal. Picture from the blog Boats, Beer and Buses

I moored just two locks from the top, where the Birmingham Level begins, just by the unconverted narrow boats Redshank and Greenshank. I had worked hard all day, passing twenty-two locks, and realised that I was still in the same flight, at least by name. Nick and Corinna lived on this working pair of boats, with their two children. I had heard about them and was glad to meet them. They make a very bare living doing Punch & Judy shows and a few other things. They gave me coffee and offered food, which I refused, for apart from not being particularly hungry, I knew they could ill afford to be so generous. We spent the evening in the usual way, talking.

Nick & Corinna Grey on Redshank & Greenshank a few years later in Bristol. Picture from this article in The Bristol Post


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Copyright ©1972 Ben Newsam. The author of this diary may be contacted at ben.newsam@gmail.com