After the glory of yesterday, we should have expected fog today. I am not sure if we should have expected a pair of giant cargo ships blocking the entrance to the first lock though, but that is exactly how things were first thing this morning.
I wandered up to see the lock-keeper in his lofty tower and enquired as to what time, if indeed it was to be today, the lock would be open for business. He looked quite puzzled at this interruption and told me quite firmly that it was open at present if I cared to look around.
I thanked him for his advice and asked for a suggestion as to how we might actually get into it then. He was initially surprised that I hadn’t considered a few hundred millimetres between a pair of three thousand tonne payloads to be and adequate channel width, but in his defence, once he had grasped the problem he very quickly and efficiently found a solution which involved asking the behemoths to kindly shuffle themselves out of our way while we passed. I am not sure how they resisted the urge to swat us like the annoying little fly we must have seemed as we passed, but they did, and we did.
At the very next lock though, there was no sign of life at all.
After climbing the wall and walking the entire hundred and fifty metre length of it I found a man, head down in a pit, up to his elbows in electrical wiring and hydraulic plugs, just under a sign that read “Danger of Death”. He looked up, thankfully without dying, and cheerfully informed me that he’d be finished in two minutes.
I in reply, not wishing to have a fatality on my conscience, told him not to hurry, after all I said, we are on holidays and can wait as long as it takes.
“On holidays!” he replied with a laugh “(Expletive!), I am sorry, I will finish in ONE minute then!”
And he did.