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Archive for August 9th, 2011

The Odyssey 2011: Day 30

Posted by indigodream on 9 August, 2011

Rhodesia to Hope Pole pub (East of Retford)

Sunday 24th July

A great place for hounds - Forest middle bottom lock...

We got up reasonably early – prompted by various hound shennanigans and by the fact that we were expecting some more guests – Kym and Nick, who came cruising on the Trent with us last week. Kym and Nick have really taken to boating and joined us twice this week.

We started the day with the usual car shuffle – we needed to end up with Nick’s car at the Hop Pole and Richard’s car back in Shireoaks Marina. In the meantime, we had a girlie cruise – Sarah and I took Indigo Dream down to Worksop Town Lock, with Kym enjoying the view from the front (Kym is a willing crew member but is unwell so can’t do the muscular stuff). It is a great joy to have guests on board, but experienced crew like Sarah who can turn her hand to anything are a sheer delight – we took turns to helm/do the hard work and had a lovely bobble down the canal.

I did have some trouble in getting Sarah to drive the boat past the canalside Costa in Worksop -she wanted to stop – even though she had a large home-made latte in her hand, though a little on the dark side as we were low on milk. It’s so sad when you see an addict so out of control – I just had to stop her – she’ll thank me one day! 🙂

In a superb bit of timing (unassisted by mobile phone technology) – I was just closing Town Lock’s bottom gate having let Indigo Dream through, when I spotted Richard’s car on the road bridge – Nick quickly joined us on the boat with much needed extra milk supplies while Richard took the car to Shireoaks and cycled back to meet us. His trip was not without incident – coming back over a steep hump-backed bridge, his handlebars locked on the way down and he flew a”£$ over tip onto the towpath. I was impressed – he managed not to break anything though he was in some pain and had a fine collection of cuts and bruises. He says he’s learnt by my example – having broken bones trying to “save myself” when falling, he made a point of not doing so, bounced a few times on his beer gut (he wrote that – honest!) and fortunately came away without major injuries.

I was pleased that we had guests – we were enraptured by the Chesterfield last week and it’s been a great pleasure to share our delight with others. As a newcomer to canals, Kym was particularly excited to be cruising what has become one of our favourite waterways. Nick is a fisherman and was enjoying the clear water and the sight of all the fish passing by. Sarah, of course, knows the area, and was reliving some more  family memories and myths as we passed through Retford and took photographs of the Packet, known to Sarah because her aunt always referred to it as the “filthy Packet” – not so much a problem of hygiene but more the fine collection of lady customers in her old uncle’s day.

Chesterfield view (1)

With fewer locks to do, we had time to enjoy the scenery once more – I’ll let the photos do the talking, though it is a landscape that makes me come over all poetic! Nick pointed out the flock of lapwings in the fields near Osberton and some huge carp in the winding hole below the lock. Past Ranby, the landscape was enhanced by the sculptured shapes of scots pines outlined against the perfect sky. It was a glorious summer’s day so I’ll just indulge in a quintessential British pastime and complain that it was too hot for me 🙂

Our guests were equally entranced and we had a vote on whether Osberton Lock surpassed Forest bottom lock as the prettiest place on the waterways. The consensus was that Osberton lock won it – Kym thought it fulfilled her vision of how a canal should look. However we did decide the Forest bottom was the best for the hounds – Sarah and I had a bobble with the pack between Forest middle bottom and Forest bottom lock – they had a great off-lead rummage and Lou found a route into the canal where the shallow sides made it a perfect place for paddling. Lou loves to paddle and leapt out of the water with a big grin on her face, energised by the cooling water. A little cruiser had moored on the lock moorings below Forest bottom lock – they were having a picnic and I wondered whether they’d stay the night – I was very envious!

We met a few boats coming through Retford – wow, the canal has been busy this weekend! While we were waiting at one lock we spotted nb Deryn Du and said “Hi” to their crew in passing – we last met them two years ago on the Stratford Canal.

We reached the Hop Pole in the early evening and said a regretful goodbye to Sarah and her pack – they had a long drive home. Kim and Nick stayed on for a meal at the Hop Pole. But first we filled with water (fantastic pressure and flow at the tap here) – I’d estimated that we’d have just enough for the day’s cruising and, sure enough, as Kym was doing the end-of-day washing up the taps started to stutter – what timing! Having reached our target for the day, we were also able to book our passage through West Stockwith lock on the following day – we’d spend the morning on the Chesterfield Canal then the afternoon traversing the tideway and exploring the first few miles of the Fossdyke navigation.

Picnic at Forest bottom lock - so tempting...

Unlike the Gate pub, a little way along the canal, the Hop Pole combined classy decor with very fine food indeed. The pub had some extremely colorful patchwork sofas – as Nick quipped “don’t sit there Sue, we’ll never find you again” – I was wearing my own very colourful patchwork cruising outfits! Dogs are not allowed inside the pub, but they are allowed in the garden and on the upstairs terrace so Lou and Lynx came out for some leftovers and a bit of a fuss. A few of the locals were the worst for wear, though one man did give us some useful advice about getting past Laleham on the tidal Trent – he lives in a large house overlooking the ‘narrows’ (I’ll explain in the next post) and often sees boats going aground there.

We were set for a comfortable evening on the terrace when I succumbed to a sun-induced migraine which I’d been holding off all afternoon. Richard and Lynx stayed on for a drink with Kym and Nick while I went back to the boat with Lou, whom I thought would benefit from some peace and quiet………..Ha!

I was getting ready for bed when I heard Richard bellowing from the pub balcony “Oi, what are you doing on that boat” – I dashed outside and found a young man lying flat on our roof

“Gerroff” I told him “what do you think you’re doing – this is our home””

“Just doin’ a plank” he explained, as if this legitimised the trespass.

He and his friend with the camera phone seemed harmless enough and scarpered immediately. I didn’t know whether to be cross or not – the only other plonker planker I’ve heard of is Gordon Ramsey so that is one fad that is now so last year. It must have been their intention to be a nuisance though – they didn’t ‘plank’ on the unoccupied canal trust boat moored behind us!

Richard came back soon after and we settled to quiet night on the mooring – both pub and car park were deserted by 10pm and we slept untroubled.


Bridge made of railway sleepers at Osberton Hall...

Another view of Osberton Hall...

Gongoozlers come in all shapes and sizes....

The BW workboats are still brested up but at least their equipment isn't in the canal this time...

Big works on the railway by Manton viaduct...

Haystack jenga (1)

Haystack Jenga (2)

Hello gorgeous!

Nursery - this huge 'farm' was cultivating all types - including orchard trees....

Chesterfield views (2)

Chesterfield views (3)

Chesterfield views (4)

Chesterfield views (5)

That looks like a good place to explore....

Fine facades on the outskirts of Retford....

Sarah at the Packet - a fine bit of family history there!

Our overnight mooring - those people had all gone by 9.30pm leaving us a very peaceful spot...

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