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  • clivenmel

May 4th

Normal 0 false false false /* 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;} Its Clive's father's birthday today - Happy Birthday Pop!  (We have a lot of birthdays in May!) Just as we were getting ready to set off this morning a boat passed us, when we looked out of the window we saw it was Wewak!  Clive quickly untied the boat and set off in hot pursuit � we had several locks to negotiate today and thought we might as well share them with Wewak!  We caught up with them just as they were setting the first lock at Wootton Rivers and we did the next four locks with them then they were going to stop for lunch, we however carried on.  I made lunch whilst Clive was taking us through the Bruce Tunnel!   Whilst we were at one of the locks Clive managed to get some great photographs of a Yellow Wagtail.  These lovely little birds seem to like the locks, we often see them flitting around them � I think they peck insects and things off the lock walls when the water has gone down.  Anyway, they are very pretty.   Soon after Bruce Tunnel we reached the summit again so it was all downhill from here!  As we were approaching one of the locks couple of locks down from the summit we passed a couple of old boats moored together, side by side.  I actually commented on the fact that the butty (the boat that is towed behind the one with the engine) had a great little greenhouse on the front, however whilst Clive was in the lock he happened to glance back and noticed that both boats had come adrift since we went past them and were completely blocking the canal!  So, as soon as Lady Arwen was through the lock we secured her to the bollards, grabbed the boat hooks and ran back to the two boats.  Clive knocked on one of the boats and shouted Hello, but there was nobody home.  We couldn�t leave them like that so Clive climbed on board and shuffled along the gunwhales until he could reach the centre rope, which he then threw to me and I started hauling the boats back into the bank.  Clive came to help pull them in then I went to the front with the boat hook and managed to grab the bow rope, which still had the pin attached, and pulled it the rest of the way in.  Clive then had to run back to our boat and fetch the mallet so he could hammer the pin back into the bank securely!    Once the boats were safely moored up again we headed back to Lady Arwen and continued on to the next lock.  Our good deed for the day! We soon reached the Crofton Locks and there were lots of people around out for a Bank Holiday walk.  One of the locks was extremely leaky and I couldn�t get the water to equalise so that the gates would open.  I called Clive over from the boat to help me but there was also a couple out for a walk with their two young sons and they came to help as well.  Once we had the gates open and Clive was ready to bring the boat in the gentleman asked if his boys could have a ride on the boat, naturally Clive said yes and so we had two more crew members, Toby and Ben.  It makes a change, Clive normally attracts stray dogs, not children!   Toby and Ben actually stayed on board for two locks and seemed to enjoy themselves, Clive said they were very good company � I certainly enjoyed having some help from their father with the lock gates and one extremely stiff paddle.     Just as we were saying goodbye to them all and heading for the next lock we saw another boat making ready to head into the lock as well, excellent!  We had their company all the way to Great Bedwyn where we managed to find a spot to moor at the end of the visitor moorings, which were almost full.    Clive popped up into Great Bedwyn to post some cards for me whilst I got the oven lit ready to roast a chicken.  Then whilst I was typing this blog there was a knock on the window � it was the crew from Wewak!  They were trying to moor up behind us and were six inches of space short � could we possibly just move up six inches so they could squeeze in?  Of course we could � Clive jumped off and moved the pins and now they are moored up right behind us!

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