Monday 20 February
Oh my life! Leigh is exhausted. I’m really not surprised as she’s no spring chicken, and she has endured two particularly physicallytoughdays. Yesterday, she worked the Lapworth Flight of locks – albeit she had a lovely helper called Catherine Holland, who answered Leigh’s plea on Facebook for help! Today, Leigh worked the Hatton Flight.
The Lapworth Flight is made up of just nineteen locks; Hatton has twenty-three. Don’t forget that there are other single locks here and there, meaning Leigh has worked twenty-five today. What amazes her (and me actually) are how many gongoozlers there are and how they don’t appear to think about offering to help. Several of today’s G.G’s were taking photos and videos of her; happy to chat, but not to help open or close a gate or two. Getting a little irritated, Leigh eventually said to one G.G (and his son), ‘Could you do me a favour and close this gate, whilst I jump over and close the other side?’ To his credit he did as she asked, and then even offered to help at the next lock – result. Yelp!
Luckily the days were brightened by the sighting of a great-spotted-woodpecker, several grey wagtails and the screech of many gem-coloured pheasants. Add to the glorious wildlife and general ambience of canal-life, the fact that three gorgeous little people worked the second half of the Hatton flight with Leigh today, and you can understand why (although exhausted) she loves working locks.
Her three helpers today were aged around ten, nine and eight years old; two girls and a boy – who are being home-educated and live between a house and the family NB. All three were respectful of the canal, confident enough and energetic enough to work locks, and mature enough to engage in conversations about Doctor Who (Leigh loved this as a child), Roald Dahl, prospective career paths, and the intricacies of how a lock works. The children were charming and so was their father…quite attractive too – in a Jack Sparrow kinda way, according to Leigh. Yelp!
As the locks at Hatton are all double locks both boats glided in and out of the locks together in harmony as Leigh and the children ran ahead getting the next lock ready. Tom and the children’s father jumped off and closed the gates of the lock they were exiting; all of this activity meant that we flew through the second half of the flight in super-quick time. I reckon Leigh averages about fifteen minutes per lock usually, yet I bet most locks today only took ten minutes. Is this a record, I wonder?
What was sweet was that on every lock at Hatton, on one gate a pretty-coloured crocheted flower had been attached. I wonder who crocheted these and what was the thought behind attaching them to the locks – they certainly brighten things up…as did the sign stating ‘Danger of Falling’ on most of the locks….Leigh thought this would have been useful for Tom last year when he ninja-rolled after slipping whilst working a lock. Yelp!
It is only seven-fifty in the evening as I am writing this, yet Leigh tells me she is soon off to bed – poor thing. Captain Tom has just told her she only has twenty locks tomorrow and a six-hour day – so an easier day. Yelp!
Think of the calories used Leigh, think of how much cake you can indulge in tomorrow evening…Yelp!