Sadly we have to turn near Weston and head back towards Nottingham, we are meeting up with family for the Easter weekend and - because of toddlers - don't want to be on the Trent at that stage.
We pass through Aston Lock again but with great difficulty. First we struggle to close the lower (northern) gate: it is huge but even the one opposite is comparatively easy. Then getting it open again is almost impossible without two people hanging almost horizontally off the beam and using every inch of muscle and sweat. Too much work! Then it won't stay closed. Ridiculous.
We continue apace back through Shardlow, but haven't time to stop. I do hate being on a schedule. Derwentmouth and out onto the Trent. Helen and M hate putting on the life-jackets and there is some tension on the boat. This is the problem boating with good swimmers - they are reluctant to look like nerds. I read the Riot Act. This heightens their resolve to simply ignore me and hide giggling under the cratch cover. I steer sniffily at the back.
We fly through Sawley Lock; so much easier with three or more working the boat and lock. We share with a couple who have caught us after refuelling at Sawley: it had been a real surprise to suddenly see them behind us as we slipped into the lock. Their boat is called Me and Mrs Jones - a really cool name, for some reason. I chat to the one who is presumably Mrs Jones, who is dressed in a boiler suit and a beanie. Again, the flood warning signs on the lockkeepers cottage astonish us as we gaze across the wide valley.
The Trent is now like a mirror; no sign of any wind or even much current. Within minutes we are approaching the entrance to Cranfleet Cut but there in the mouth, Me and Mrs Jones spins round to moor up on the north bank. She is a full 70' and takes up the entire width of the space, leaving me no room to pass for a couple of minutes. I am still extremely conscious that this is precisely where North Star had her hissy engine fit a couple of days ago, and I am - to be quite honest - still very nervous about rivers, so I am a little crabby at suddenly having to slow to a halt in water that is now quite clearly pulling us to the rightand away from the Cranfleet Cut. If they don't speed up their turn I'm going to have to turn fully in the river to come back for a second go. But they must have done this a lot and Mrs Jones moves her stern out of the way and we pass, smiling.
We moor up after the railway bridges and decide to head for the Steamboat Inn for dinner. We are also out of mobile phone power and really need to keep in touch with people, and the manager there kindly allows us to power up.
A long first day for the entire family on the boat and we are realising the shortcomings of North Star quickly - but it's all great fun and we look forward to fixing the problems.
8 miles, 5 locks
Stunning Thames steamer Alaska -
3 days ago