After another good night’s sleep, we were ready for the off quite early.
Hubby had already taken Maggie for her first walk of the day before I surfaced, but after breakfast whilst he was doing his maintenance checks, I took Maggie off for another wee as although it was only about 15 minutes to the next lock, we had a two hour journey and another lock before we got home.
For the duration of our trip, she had been remarkably good, getting out at locks to have a sniff around and getting back on board with no trouble.
Walking through the woods though, she got the scent of something and reacted as a dog half her age. Instantly alert, she was sniffing the ground, not missing an inch, her tail doing its helicopter impression as she got more and more excited.
I knew immediately what was happening and what she had sensed.
In Lincolnshire, pheasant or partridge didn’t stand a chance escaping her nose, and she wouldn’t rest until she’d ‘lifted’ them from the undergrowth.
Monday was no exception as she remembered the chase from years ago, and she was ready to take up where she left off.
I had to call her away and could practically see the disappointment on her face, but the woods and undergrowth were unknown territory, and from our blackberry picking earlier we knew there were rabbit holes and hidden ditches where she could possibly hurt herself.
With one last backward glance, she trotted back alongside me, and we returned to the boat.
A boat was locking up when we arrived at our penultimate lock, so Hubby stayed with the boat while I went to help with the gates. The couple concerned had been boating for about 40 years, but this was the first time on the River Avon so they were taking their time and enjoying the scenery. Unfortunately they had a gas regulator problem and so were making their way to a boat yard.
While we were waiting for the lock to fill, another narrow boat drew up behind us.
A gentleman on his own as his wife didn’t like boating on the rivers, we struck up conversation and it turned out he was heading to the pub about 20 minutes from our marina, so we would be sharing the final lock as well.
The wind was starting to pick up again, but those coming out got on their way with no difficulty, and we passed through relatively easily.
As he was longer than us, we let our new companion exit first, leaving me to put the footbridge back across the lock before getting back on board.
Apart from the two of us, the river was deserted, but we could see the bad weather gathering and hoped we would be safely home before it hit.
The gates were closed at both ends of the lock, and the lock itself half full due to a leaking gate. There wasn’t room for both boats to moor side by side outside, so he tied up on one side, and Hubby took our boat round the corner after I got off to operate the lock paddles.
Again it was all quite straightforward, and as we had further to travel, it was suggested we exit first, thus giving our friend manoeuvering space.
Rather than Hubby picking me up outside the lock, I climbed down the ladder and we came straight out.
An hour from home now, Maggie curled up on the helm and fell asleep, and I went inside to put the kettle on for tea.
We made good time, but it was getting windy again as we approached the marina, so Hubby decided to berth bow in rather than try to reverse as usual.
I got off at the bow and took a rope as Hubby gently brought her in, spot on, tidy and impressive…………. until we realised that our electricity cable wouldn’t reach with the boat that way round.
Leaving me and the dog on the pontoon now, Hubby reversed out and tried to turn her, but he kept being caught by the wind so it took him several goes to end up pointing in the right direction for his manoeuver!
When he did though, it was fantastic to watch, everything lined up as he slowly backed in, I was able to take a rope, and he didn’t so much as touch the pontoon finger, let alone the boat parked beside us until we were ready to tie up.
Home, with just a few grazes on the fender rubbers and a couple of scratches on the roof which Hubby has already addressed.
Now to get back to normalcy and do the washing……….. but first………….. Hit the showers!