Saturday 11 July
We picked up Jill and Den from Nottingham station and they helped with the first lock. After that it was back onto the River Trent where all the locks are manned by lock-keepers. Our aim had been to moor for the night at Gunthorpe, but unfortunately Jill asked one of the lock-keepers where the best pub was along the route and he said ‘The Bulmers Arms’, at Fiskerton. So, although it looked like a good place at Gunthorpe, we decided to continue on. Once we arrived at Fiskerton we realised that there was no-where to moor up! We did try one pontoon until we realised that the only thing it was attached to was another boat!
So our journey wasn’t broken into two days and we arrived in Newark-on-Trent late in the evening. We encountered, along the way, the most aggressive lock-keeper you can imagine at Hazleford, just before Fiskerton. To be fair, Den was being a little playful and had pretended to climb up the lock gates, which was rather foolish. He then went up the ladders at the side of the lock, thinking he had to hold the ropes from above, and the lock-keeper came out of his little room and went ballistic, totally over the top.
“Get back on your boat right now. What do you think you’re doing? Who is the skipper of this boat? You are in charge of your crew, and I’m in charge of the safety of boats coming through this lock, and if you don’t behave yourselves I will not be allowing you to continue your journey but will eject you back from where you came from.”
Of course Jill and I could see that Barry and Den were bursting with testosterone, the usual male cave-man stuff, and if they had been on land and at the same level as this little Hitler I dread to think what may have occurred. Actually Den was very calm and said very little, but there was no stopping the kiwi captain from negotiating with this man who wanted to know where we’d been and where we were going. Having been on the rivers and canals for over three months and never been asked that question before, Barry understandably wanted to know why he wanted to know. He mumbled something about having to log our journey, how he’d got records of every boat that had come through for the last ten years, etc, etc. Eventually he apologised for being so rude and abusive, and waved us out of the lock.
My fear was that we were going to be banned form the River Trent and the rest of our trip would be somewhat curtailed!
Ah well, an unfortunate interlude on an otherwise very enjoyable journey. We had a lamb Rogan Josh (home cooked of course!) and then went into Newark for a few drinks. I had had the most terrible hay fever all day and my eyes were incredibly sore and swollen – mostly because I’d run out of piriton and was too stingy to pay £1 for seven tablets in Sainsbury’s when I can get loads of piriton from Boots for next to nothing! That’ll teach me. Jill and Den got chatting to Adam, the Landlord of the Mayze pub, and he drove them to the nearest shop to buy some ‘piriteze’, bless him!
We met some lovely people in the pub, three Adams and a Jodie, a great atmosphere. Jodie recommended we continue to another pub, but once we got there we found there was a £4 entrance fee so we went back to the boat. Barry was a little worse for wear and went to bed early—almost unheard of! Maybe it was the homebrewed rum he had shortly before we went out …
Anyway, no photo’s until tonight (Sunday) as he’s still not too good and we’re off to look around Newark Castle and whatever else we find here. Jill and Den are leaving us this evening, back to Tamworth and London and work tomorrow …