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  • clivenmel

May 2nd

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} May 2nd � it�s our great nephew Jamie�s birthday today � he�s 7 � Happy Birthday Jamie! (He�s in Tauranga, New Zealand!)   When Clive woke up this morning he looked out of the window and the view was quite surreal � really misty!  He took two or three photographs and whilst he had the window open to take the photos the mist was actually flowing into the boat!   Within fifteen minutes of the photos being taken all the mist had burned off and the sun was streaming in through the windows!  Brilliant, that was just what we needed with Caen Hill Flight to contend with � rain would have made it truly unbearable!   Whilst we were getting ready to set off I made sandwiches and hard boiled a couple of eggs ready for our lunch � there would be no time to make anything half way up the flight!  We left our mooring at Sells Green 09.15am and headed off for the first lock, which was about fifteen minutes cruise away.  It really was a lovely morning, the birds were singing their heads off, fish were jumping in the canal and we also saw another Swallow, this one was skimming the water snatching flies � lovely.   After the first six locks, which took us a couple of hours, we moored up at the bottom of the main flight and made a cup of coffee and had some chocolate biscuits, just to build up our strength ready for the ordeal!  A couple of boats had just come down the flight so we knew that some of the locks would be in our favour, but not many as there were boats part way up the flight already.  We looked in vain for a boat coming the other way in the hope that we could share the work but it wasn�t to be � oh well!    Finally at around 11.45 we set off.  As I have mentioned, it was a lovely day and I think everybody and his brother had decided to come and see the locks today, the place was buzzing with people, dogs, kids and SO many cyclists!  Of course everybody wanted to know how long it would take us to get up the flight; was it our boat; how long had we lived on it; etc etc etc.  All this takes time, well it would be churlish to ignore them wouldn�t it!  They talked to me as I was doing the locks, they talked to Clive whilst he was in the locks and this didn�t just happen every now and then, it was EVERY lock!!!   We do meet some characters though!   Clive had been hopping on and off the boat helping me with the paddles on the way up � its much easier going up because the boat is rising as the lock is filling and therefore he ends up on a level with the bank and can therefore get on and off, unlike when we are going down and he ends up six or seven foot down below!  We met another boat coming down and managed to swap places with them in the pound.  A couple of locks later Clive called out to me and asked me to check if there was anyone behind us because he could hear windlasses turning � I looked and unbelievable there was a boat about three locks behind us � how on Earth did they get there!?  I managed to attract their attention and signalled that we would wait for them � it wasn�t long before they caught up with us, which meant that we could share the load for the rest of the flight � brilliant!  Their boat was called Wewak, which is evidently a place in Papua New Guinea where the captain of the boat had lived at some point.  There were four of them on board, three Scots and said Captain (who wasn�t!).    Anyway, as there were so many of them available to do the paddles and gates, after helping with a few locks I stayed on board long enough to eat lunch and grab a quick drink, then I put myself to better use and went on ahead to set all the locks and get the gates open, this saved an awful lot of time.  However some time later, when I was about three locks up ahead, I looked back down I couldn�t see Lady Arwen!  I could see Wewak and as I was watching she turned broadside!  What the heck is going on I thought � I headed back down the flight and discovered that the other party had decided to pull in to the marina, which is at the top of the main flight, to fill up with water and ice cream!!  Clive didn�t know where I was, as none of the others had told him what I was doing!  So he was waiting in the pound not knowing what to do, bless!  He looked every so relieved to see me.  So we continued up the last six locks on our own and finally arrived at Lock 50 � the top!    However, no rest for the wicked, as soon as we had moored up we had to go straight to the launderette!  I knew that it closed at 6pm and the last wash is at 5pm and it was now 4.30pm � so it was a bit of a mad dash.  However whilst the stuff was in the washer we had half an hour to kill so we found a pub, right next door to the launderette (how convenient!) and we popped in for a quick one.  I had a whole pint of cider (well I was thirsty!) and Clive had a pint of some sort of ale, which turned out to be horrible!  I have to say, it wasn�t the nicest pub we have been in, in fact it was a bit grotty!  Oh well, never mind.  Back to the launderette, stuffed all the clean clothes and towels into two dryers, bunged �3 in each and then off to the supermarket � its all go!  Quick whiz round with the trolley then I had to leave Clive at the check out and run back to the launderette � just in time to get the washing folded as it came out of the dryer.  Clive appeared in the doorway with two rather heavy bags and said he would go straight back to the boat and I could follow on with the laundry.   We had decided (or rather I had) that instead of having to start cooking a meal on top of everything else, we would have a Chinese takeaway � there was one next door but one to the launderette!  I nipped in and fetched a menu then staggered back to the boat with the clean laundry.  At this point we were both shattered, however Clive rang up and ordered the food and then I sprinted back to fetch it � it was really delicious and it was sooooooooooooo nice not to have to cook.   Right now we are both struggling to keep awake and its only 8.00pm � I don�t think Clive is going to last long though � he�s watching snooker!  Oh well, that is the Caen Hill Flight well and truly behind us for the last time � I don�t think we will come back this way again any time soon!!!  Not many photos today I'm afraid - there just wasn't time to take them!

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