After a quiet stay in the peaceful surroundings of the King’s Marina in Newark for just over a week, ‘Futurest’ and I resumed our journey today.
It was poignant again having to say goodbye to Janis as she went off to work this morning. Over the last few weeks we had spent quite a lot of time together and undertaken many exciting quests during that time. It was sad to see her go but a new adventure was about to begin.
Sue, the lady who had agreed at the reqest of my friend John, the JP2 engineer, to tow 'Futurest' around to a yard on the Shropshire Union Canal where he could work on her, arrived at around nine o’clock and as soon as I had settled my bill with the warden Greg we breasted up and chugged gently out of the marina towards the Town Lock. I had my VHF radio switched on and was able to contact this lock and the three others during the day so that they had the locks open and ready for us to enter when we arrived.
‘Futurest’ breasted up with ‘Thea’ on the River Trent
Through the first two locks we continued breasted up together, with ‘Futurest’ made fast to ‘Thea’s port side. But after we had emerged from Hazelford Lock we decided that we might make better time if we were in tandem with ‘Futurest’ slipstreaming ‘Thea’.
This proved to be very effective from then on and we discovered that for the same number of revs on ‘Thea’s JP2, we improved our speed by one whole mile per hour on the original speed of 2 mph. It was a beautiful day; warm when the Sun shone frequently but chilly enough for us to don our fleeces when a cloud momentarily had him hidden.
A 'White' Heron?
Autumn was also visible in the number of leaves on the trees that were beginning to turn brown and gold. The air was calm and the river flat and glassy, reflecting the myriad of autumn colours in its depths. Waterfowl congregated in the mudflats and close on the banks of the river while the Swallows and Martins still dived and frolicked on the surface, as they had all summer, whipping up the odd insect from the surface with split second precision. At one point there was a large flock of Egyptian Geese foraging on the bank. This species was most distinguishable by its brown back and exotic eye patches while soon after, I spotted a white Heron standing statue-like with its long black legs in the mud. It was about the same size as the common Grey Heron but with no crest. He or she was pure white with black legs and flew off as we approached in the same way as the more common Grey, with neck hunched back into his or her body.
It was altogether a magical day.
We covered seventeen miles altogether in eight and a half hours so we were ready to call it a day as we arrived at Stoke Bardolph Lock. The keeper let us through just before he knocked off for the day and we tied up for the night abreast of one another on the upper lock landing high above us.
We had had a good first day.