This cruising life.
Contrary to all that we know and understand about cruising, we made a plan for today.
That is without doubt the most incredibly stupid thing we have done so far this year. In the blink of an eye we had decided that we’d have many miles under our keel and be resting in some shady dell in a forest in the afternoon.
So we braved the morning chill in the village and had bought pastries for our morning tea by eight, timed our departure to perfection, and arrived at the first lock exactly when its lights came on for the day. Naturally we were a little nonplussed when those very same lights shone a very bright shade of red, indicating that the lock was out of order and “could you please wait a bit while someone comes to fix the problem?”.
We did, thankful for our splendid morning tea as an hour slowly passed.
Finally underway, we arrived at the very next lock in time to see a fully laden barge entering ahead of us. This is the canal equivalent of pulling onto a patch of highway with no overtaking lanes behind a Morris Minor towing a caravan.
After three mind numbing hours during which we encountered another lock breakdown, we had travelled almost six kilometres but had arrived at the point where we could finally detach ourselves from the behemoth and skip gaily at our own pace. The nice man at the lock promised a fault free ride up the chain of locks and we would finally be on our way.
We were too, until number six of the eighteen, then number seven, with nought to do but wander up then down the cycle path and as patiently as we could, wait.
Had we been on a weekend excursion, we might have become perturbed. But we aren’t and we didn’t. The weather was glorious, the spring springing around us and when we did eventually find ourselves happily watching the sun go down at Richardmenil, we took consolation in the thought that tomorrow we will have no plan.