After leaving our overnight Radford mooring, and the fastest broadband connection yet (80+MG), we pootled along to the first of our ten locks for the day, which was Radford Bottom Lock, rather isolated, full of atmosphere, and feeling very spooky!
At the next lock, Fosse End Bottom Lock, we found a family who were battling to control their hire boat, they wanted to descend the lock, while we wanted to go up. Two of their 'Grannies' were standing helpless by the locks, not knowing what was expected of them... anyway, to cut a long story very short, one of their passengers stayed behind to 'help' us set the lock, it was a sort of courtesy token because I had stepped in to help them. Trouble was, John was in lock, which was designed to take two boats side by side, when the 'passenger' wound up the lock paddles with gusto! Resulting in Cyan being tossed around the lock as torrents of water gushed in. Ooooo John wasn't happy!
By the time we got to Bascote Locks we were caught up by a boat with three strong, and very polite young men; all with Rastafarian hairdos. With their help we were soon through the last five locks, including our first 'staircase' lock experience. While sharing the locks it's surprising what you learn about people, and those young lads had very interesting and colourful lives; it was compelling to chat.
Continuing our cruise, we soon came upon a row of crab apple trees on the towpath. Crab apples make fantastic crab apple sauce for pork and ham! So we moored up to collect half a bag of 'nature's bounty' which will eventually be turning into a delicious sauce/preserve. As we moored we did give a passing glance to the small yellow boat that was moored further along from us, and remarked that the man was sunbathing in the glorious October sun, and saying how lucky we are with the weather.
It wasn't until we'd had our cup of tea, and eaten the toasted crumpets we had for lunch, we noticed the small yellow boat was on the move. Well sort of on the move! It became obvious the boat had lost it's engine, whether through lack of maintenance, or theft, who knows? One man had a length of two-by-one wood, which had a bit of plywood on the end to make a paddle. The other man had a length of rope, and was attempting to pull the boat along, just like horses used to do in 'olde times'. When they got to our boat the man with the rope, and his small staffie, clambered over our boat to continue moving theirs. It was such a bazaar situation. We popped out of Cyan to witness the scene with some form of amusement.
We couldn't get cross with them, poor guys were in dire straights. It seems they have been travelling this way since February! They had bought their broken-down boat from a Polish guy, and were trying to get the boat to Birmingham where they have family who will help them. They were harmless, and appear to lead such a simple life. It wasn't until a few hours later; we realised one of the men had left their make-do paddle on the roof of our boat! It'll come in handy for fire kindling, as soon as we get round to buying an axe for chopping wood.
We decided it was a good time to make headway again, in the opposite direction of course to the little yellow boat. After a short trip we pulled into our night's mooring right next to 'The Two Boats' (a pub), and just before the Stockton flight of locks tomorrow.
Just as we were settling down for the night, "all hatches battened down", there was a load knock/bang on the side of the boat. It was around 9PM. As John was in the shower, Rusty and I climbed up onto the deck. An Asian man of about 45-50 years of age stood on the towpath. He politely apologised for disturbing us, then he told me that it was his wedding anniversary next month, and that it thought it would be a nice romantic gift for his wife if he could rent our boat for week! Now that was exceptionally bazaar! I think he got us muddled with another boat, and when he realised we weren't the boat he was after, he made up a lame excuse, and the question is why? After talking to several other boaters, we were encouraged to lodge the incident with the police, which we have of course! The police appeared very interested!