Sunday, 5 October 2014

roadrunner roadrunner

Bringing a boat down the Caen Hill flight of locks is a day's work. And you need understanding friends. Which in my case, on Wednesday, was Richard, who came over for the day. We coupled nb Eve with my floating neighbour Dave's boat, and I piloted the paired craft in and out of the locks while they did the hard work. There's not much clearance when you have two boats together, and it was a bit stressful, though I tried to retain an appearance of nonchalance and possibly insouciance too.

Richard wonders when we'll be getting breakfast

Having negotiated the first few locks from Devizes Wharf, we paused at the locks cafe for bacon and stilton butties, as you do, and a couple of boats passed us on their way down. Dave got antsy and anxious to get on. So we did. And I was so busy that I didn't get time to take photos of our descent, on what Dave claimed to be the steepest flight of locks in the world (though I suspect that while it may possibly be the flight with the greatest height difference, it may not be the steepest. Wikipedia, be my friend here. Aha. Yes. Caen Hill has an overall gradient of 1:44 with the main staircase being 1:30 - the Bingley Five Rise has a gradient of 1:5)

Nor indeed did we get time to eat the humungous pan of gammon and pea soup that I'd prepared for the trip, so Richard and I had some for dinner instead, before walking back up to Devizes to fetch our cars, and to admire the sunset.

By Thursday evening I had eaten a lot of gammon and pea soup, and woke up in the night feeling rather ill. Then I got to sleep, to be woken again at 4:00 by the carbon monoxide alarm, which was chirping in a desultory manner. I tried to look on the internet to find out what the message on the display meant, because I couldn't find the alarm manual in the dark. But my phone battery was flat, so  the phone died just as the page was loading.

This, dear reader, is how things ALWAYS happen on boats.

This boat, anyway.

"If I go back to bed and die of carbon monoxide poisoning," I thought, "I shall feel VERY SILLY INDEED."

So I drove over to Somerset instead, because I had a busy day planned that involved all sorts of errands in the Bristol area.

I occupied my brain by composing haiku as I drove. It started in Melksham when I saw

The nonchalant fox
its shadow loping slowly
under the street light
There were several dead badgers on the road too, either knocked down or dumped by unscrupulous badger killers. They had yet to be flattened by the passage of the coming day's traffic, and were quite alarming when they were

picked out by headlights
the temporary speed bumps
of dead badgers

Some creepers in the hedgerows were so vividly red that they were red even in my headlights. As I arrived in Long Ashton, I saw that the first great shedding of leaves had begun on the ash trees, and there was a great carpet of beech mast in the lane

Diverging tyre tracks
through a carpet of beech mast
still too warm for frost
ahem, poetic punning. Right, that's enough haiku and time to watch the sunrise over Somerset 

at the launch of Tangent Books' Bristol Boys Make More Noise

bloody funny bluebird of happiness

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