Friday, 21 October 2011

Friday 21st October
On Wednesday morning I jumped out of bed (well crawled) early in order to get to the doctor's surgery early, hoping to be among the first to be seen. It worked, I was in fact first in the queue and was out again by just after 8.30.  This left plenty of time for our trip down river, heading to Castleford. We were joined by Ermantrude, a narrowboat crewed by a singlton heading back to his mooring at Melbourne on the River Derwent, he had asked if we minded his joining us to make life easier for him in the locks.
The day was bright and cold as we chugged our way through the countryside. It took us about 3 1/2 hours to get to Castleford and we moored up about 2.00 o'clock.
Thursday we set off again, intending to return to Leeds where Liz could pick us up for our weekend playing grand parents. Damon is working and Liz has a L.A.R.P event so our being close worked out quite well.
Things didn't go quite to plan. Just as we got to the lock the keeper changed the light to red. There was a tanker coming and of course that takes precedence.
All went well as he slipped into the lock and out the other side, but then there was another large one coming down stream and the lock gates decided to jam. The lock keeper did a lot of running around and phoning. Finally she got a large hammer and hit the hinge bracket retaining pins a few times and the gate decided to work. This boat was a sand barge, and while the lock cycled I had an interesting conversation with the skipper. He's the 11th generation of his family to skipper boats in his family's business, which is the oldest family owned barge company in England.
After he had locked through, the keeper disappeared in her van to chase after the barge and operate the next lock for it, leaving us to wait for her return. Finally she came back and opened up the lock for us. All this had cost us about 2 hours, so we decided not to go all the way to Leeds and only go as far as Woodlesford, where Liz could pick us up.
This morning we did a bit of laundry while the batteries were charging. We will probably be away 3 days so I wanted to leave them topped up.

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