Again another good value meal at the Hollybush before returning to the boat to bed. We were woken this morning to heavy rain but it stopped by the time we got up. By then it was just dank, almost drizzle and very low cloud. It stayed like this until after we had set off around 10 am, as we approached Hazlehurst Junction we could see a stream of boats coming up the three locks with more than one in a pound so we were pleased to be ahead of them.
Our first stop was Endon to top up with water and dispose of some rubbish. There was a CRT dredger moored at the service moorings as its also a CRT yard. The chap on the dredger had the weed hatch open and was performing with a Bargee Bill prop cleaner, its the first time I have seen one and they are quite a beast, but he sorted it. Here is a link http://www.bargee-bill.co.uk/propcleaner.htm
As we were leaving a lady on a boat coming the other way called out she read our Blog, she comes from Tasmania and she found our Blog due to a friend who lived in Malaysia who is married to and English chap. It so happened I worked with this chap over 20 years ago.
By now the boats that had been coming up Hazlehurst looks started to arrive to use the services, so we were still ahead. At the top lock of the Stockton Brook flight we found the bottom paddle up, Di walked down a bit but couldn't see another boat so dropped the paddle and I filled the lock, we just started emptying it when a boat appeared below, he was single handing and had walked up from the next lock, which is round a bend to set this one. He was only held up by 2 minutes, the time it takes for a lock to drain and then he also had the gates opened for him, so I would suggest he was a winner in the end. By this time the boats from Endon were also above the lock waiting to come down. We met a few boats in the locks, the best one was at the second from the bottom, when I got there, the lock was full, both top paddles up and both gates shut, a boat in the lock and the owners picking Blackberries. It wasn't till I dropped the paddle they realised I was there, by then I had also opened the top gate for them.
By the time we reached Planet Lock there must have been a boat ahead or us as it was empty, likewise the top chamber of the Bedford Street Staircase lock, what I didn't realise until later was that they had left a bottom paddle up about 3 clicks, so looking down it looked closed but was enough to prevent the two chambers making a level and the bottom chamber not coming to the weir, this is what alerted me to a problem. As we rounded the bend at Etruria I could see just one mooring space that looked just big enough for us to get into. It was right in front of fellow Blogger NB. Seyella. If you want to read their adventures you will find them here http://seyellas-journey.blogspot.com
9½ miles, 9 locks in 5½ hrs.