For our last day this turned out to be one of the hottest and sunniest of the lot.
After breakfast we set off North again, passing through Nash, where the demolition of the old paper mills seems to have stalled. There doesn't seem to have been any change since we went through at the end of the Easter break.
Once again we took turns to change from steering to working the locks every half a dozen or so locks. Then I began to realise something. When I'm working the locks, it's common for people passing to make a comment like, "typical, he's expecting you to do all the work". I had sort of thought that this is because, in general, women do tend to do the locks. However, while steering the boat I had several of the many gongoozlers call to me, "I suppose he's leaving you to do the difficult work".
I realised, it doesn't matter what I'm doing, people make a comment to suggest that I am doing the 'real' work, while Alan is skiving. What I haven't yet worked out is - WHY?
At Winkwell we passed several 'Reach Out' boats from Kings Langley, returning to base after being out for several days. I had the opportunity to talk to a young man from one of the narrowboats as they worked down through the lock. He was a pleasant and personable lad, who told me that there were 12 of them from an Essex youth group, who made a week's trip to Aylesbury every year. They were of all ages from year 7 (age 11) upwards to young adulthood, and they seemed to be really enjoying themselves. A couple of the older boys were lying sunning themselves on the roof - which, given the heat of Chalice's roof in the blazing sun, I was surprised that they were actually able to do.
Being passed by the Mikron Theatre at the Rising Sun lock in Berkhamsted
We carried on through, not stopping for breaks, and eating sandwiches as we worked.
Two locks from home a couple of lads on mountain bikes sped past on the towpath. With a screech of brakes the second one slewed the bike around to face me. "Hello, Miss! I didn't know that you lived on a barge," he grinned cheerfully.
"I don't, I just go out on in the school holidays." (I didn't feel that it was time to explain that it isn't a barge.) We continued for a while having a pleasant exchange, and talking about what he was doing the following Activities Week at school, until he decided that he had to catch up his companion. As we left the lock Alan said that my pupil seemed quite pleased to see me - I agreed, but have to admit to being somewhat puzzled, since this year I've had several major run-ins with this boy. All kids are different outside of school, I suppose.
Arriving at Cowroast - a perfect evening.
Although this has been hard work, and we didn't have time to stop and really appreciate the places that we went through this has been one of the best breaks that we have had in ages. We've had a really great time, and I can't wait for the next opportunity to get away.
Miles: 9.5, Locks:24
Total Distance: 155.7, Total Locks: 150
Scenes from the museum
15 hours ago