We have a long morning wait for the in-laws to join us, and then our crew is complete.
We had started earlier, descending through the first seven locks with a nice couple, but I could just sense the slight distaste of our somewhat rough and ready approach. Their boat was spotless and shiny and glistening and also could manoeuvre on a sixpence - they had a bow-thruster.
A bow-thruster makes it easier to move around, and at Hatton the overflow weir and the fresh westerly contrives to make it an interesting experience. However, maybe this is unfair of me: they charitably agreed to swap sides to allow us to be on the towpath side. It's complex! I won't go into details, but it's to do with the dog!
But we had to wait longer half way down and they motored on ahead. I think - unspoken - both parties were happy at the parting of ways.
Ninety minutes later we are looking to continue and almost immediately, NB Silver Lady, of Fenny Compton appears out of the lock above and we join forces. They turn out to be kindred spirits. Both parties are the proud owners of two 'not grumpy but not exactly ecstatic' teenagers, aged 16 and 14. We exchange tips about communicating by grunts. The only tension comes when bacon butties appear out of our side hatches. They have neither bacon nor rolls.
The rest of the flight slips by quickly as we lockwheel and chat, leaning on heavy beams, turning windlasses, get brown in the sun and exchange family histories with complete strangers. The canals do that. You either seem to love or hate your fellow boaters.
Hatton leads down into Warwick's Saltisford Arm, but we are thirsty for a pint so continued to the Cape, intent on a decent pint after lunch. In the evening, we moor up at the Tescos on Emscote Road along with two other boats. It isn't my choice and I would have kept going another mile, but the crew all want fish and chips, which are available nearby as well.
During the night, we hear plenty of local youth enjoying themselves loudly and raucously, and I even got up for a while as the voices seemed to be quite close at one point. But nothing happens.
4.2 miles, 23 locks
Stunning Thames steamer Alaska -
5 days ago