Mind Your Ps and Qs

Now that’s what I call a leaky lock

We try not to upset people on the canals, and I’ve got matters of boating etiquette on my mind.

Great Haywood Junction. For once, we aren’t turning right

Earlier we were cruising down the Trent and Mersey past the Shugborough Estate. It was a beautiful morning, bright, sunny and drowsy. If it weren’t for the biting wind it would have been perfect. We were in no hurry, which was a good thing, as there were lots of boats moored up against the banks which made for slow progress. The topic of slowing down for moored boats is a bit of a hot potato in boating circles. I think the official line is to go no faster than 2mph causing as little disturbance to the water as possible. We were taught to crawl past on tick over and that habit is fairly ingrained, even though we privately consider Beau Romer to have the slowest tick over speed ever. This morning a boater leaned out of his hatch and thanked us for going slowly, commenting we were the first today. He also told me he was writing a song about it. I hope I’m not going to get prosecuted under copyright law, but it went something like this:

“Rushing to the queue at the lock, rushing to the queue at the lock

Got a two-week holiday and a three-week itinerary

Rushing to the queue at the lock!”

Just a sleepy day in Staffordshire – High Bridge No 60 – complete with it’s nasty bend

My smugness didn’t last long. As Martyn pulled over at Colwich Lock to let me off with my (brand new and untested) windlass, we spotted a lady opening the paddles to empty it. I was sure she hadn’t seen us approaching to descend, so I beeped the horn. She looked up and stopped what she was doing, moving to the head gates instead. When I got there she told me the lock had been only half full when she started letting the water out. I felt a bit guilty, but vindicated by the time we got through as by then there was a nice little queue of boats waiting to ascend and descend, and no water got wasted. Should I have alerted her, or let her be? Thoughts on a postcard please? We don’t plan to offend.

I can find a good G&T anywhere – even at Wedgwood

Since I last wrote while we were in Stoke on Trent we’ve passed through Barlaston and Stone, and have been on land for a week. We stopped at Wedgwood to visit the factory and thoroughly enjoyed it. Stone was a necessary stopping point because a) I had to work; b) we needed groceries and there’s a Marks & Spencer Food Hall conveniently right next to the canal; and c) secondly it lashed down with rain for a day. On days like that only hire boats move because usually they have somewhere they need to be.

The Armitage Shanks factory in, not surprising, Armitage. They’ve been manufacturing toilets and other sanitary ware here since 1817

Last weekend was the annual Crick Boat Show and even though every year we protest we aren’t going, almost every year we do. It isn’t the lure of the shiny new boats and the stalls with lots of tempting things to buy, it’s the people. We catch up with old friends and make new ones, and the whole thing is over far too quickly. Following Crick we went home for a few days. We’re leaving our car there this summer. Last year the mice got under the bonnet and had a good nibble on some of the insulation; we’re anxious to avoid a repeat.

Shopping for a new sofa at Crick? It’s hard to make up your mind

4 Replies to “Mind Your Ps and Qs”

  1. It must be a Bickerstaffe thing, we always say our boat is one of the slowest on tick over too!! 🤣

  2. Some people wait just to shout “slow down” We were going extremely slow the other week but because I was running the generator, which runs on high revs, they assumed we weee speeding rather than realising their boat wasn’t moving.
    Totally agree, for us, Crick is about the social aspect.
    Happy cruising. 😊

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