Saturday, 8 July 2017
High season change of mood
This is a rare picture of me! Being single handed I never manage to get a photo of myself in action. Having my friend Roger with me meant he could snap a couple. As you can see I'm in a very good mood as I go with the flow on the Thames.
Having got Roger back to his car at Banbury and off to Devon, I am back on my own cruising again. It is now July and I have noticed a real change in mood on the canal.
Take this morning; I was moored near Slat Mill lock and so, on my way back from Bonny's morning walk, I opened the gate so I could cruise straight in (early so no other boats were about). As I pulled my mooring pins out and pushed the boat into cruising position, I could see the gate closing again, but no boat was above the lock. As I approached I saw a dog walker sitting on the bench by the lock. He was the only person about and so must have closed the gate. Fair enough if he thought it had been left open and was saving water, but you would think when I approached he would realise his error and open it again. But no, he just watched as I got closer and closer. Eventually I called to him that I had left the gate open on purpose and since he had shut it, could he open it again. He did, but never said a word to me, even though I chatted gaily to him as I worked the lock. He just sat and stared.
Up to the next lock and as I entered it, a boat came from the other direction and stopped at the bollards. There were a couple on board but even though it took me time to climb up, close the gates and start to fill the lock, they never left their boat. This is unusual in my experience as mostly people will come forward from a waiting boat and chat and sometimes help. But in the last few days I have had boats both behind me and coming towards me, bursting with crew and yet staying with their boat rather than coming to help or even to pass the time of day.
Onto the next lock and as I was setting it a boat came up behind me and tied to the lock bollards. A man came from the boat in an extremely grumpy mood. He complained about a hire boat moored too close to the lock. Then he moaned about lock queues. Then he whinged about boaters who don't know what they are doing. Mercifully the lock filled and I managed to escape his torrent of negativity.
I assume that, being the high season, there are people on the canals now who perhaps only spend a week or two a year on their boats. For the rest of the year they are living in a world where they don't make eye contact with strangers, let alone speak to them. Where they don't offer to help as they are afraid of the consequences and where as long as they are ok then there is no need to concern themselves with others. And always there are those who aren't happy unless they are unhappy!
I am so glad I no longer live in that world! Moaning over, here is a nice picture of my boat.