Busy at Bosley (and 2 picture puzzles)

Lyme Green to Bosley Bottom: 4.29 miles, 12 locks

            It took a couple of hours to trundle along to the Bosley Locks this morning. There were to have been two points of action en route, the two swing bridges. At the first, no action, the Broadhurst Swing Bridge had been left open for boats. The second one, at Oakgrove, by the Fool’s Nook pub, is usually an interesting location. There will never be as much road traffic backed up as at the Aldermaston Bridge on the K&A, but the bridge operator does get the close up thrill of red lights flashing, barriers descending and a clank and a hum as the bridge platform begins its swing. The Captain took the boat through and prepared to bring in the stern to collect Boatwif (on bridge operating duty) when an oncoming boat appeared. Tight space, limited visibility: the boats performed a sort of dozee doh dance step, the oncoming boat squeezing past – and then the bridge could be closed, no doubt to the relief of the waiting two car drivers. “We didn’t touch,” breathed the Captain, reassuringly.
The canal next clings to the base of the hill, the road to Leek soaring over it. Trees provide shady cover and at this time of the year gunnera leaves screen the tow path like gigantic green canal side platters. Young sheep gathered by the waterside, was the odd-looking one a different breed?  On the Macc goes, passing boats beside the tow path as well as on the offside below the farm.
Then comes the approach to Bosley – first glimpse of the Cloud, standing 1126 feet above sea level. Action at the top of the locks: a boat arriving, one ahead preparing to start down, boaters using the service block, a lock keeper on duty. The descent started, in no great hurry today. At about lock 4 an upcoming boat rose in the lock, its roof covered in all manner of herbs, and attached to the cratch board was a lily plant in full flower. “Drives me mad 49 weeks of the year,” said the young woman, dressed in what looked like a modern nun’s habit, “but then for three weeks of the year it’s like a perpetual tunnel light!”
The next point of interest was parked, not moored or in cruising mode. In the field beside the lock was sitting a dainty aircraft, a real boy’s toy – a microlight. No crew lurked nearby, nobody to fire questions at!
Into Lock 6 Cleddau sailed – remember this, it was here!  Calendar girls – we received a copy of the calendar! The sun shone warmly, the canal water sparkled, what a glorious day it was becoming.
Next came a fine-looking boat, recognised by its name. Eleventh Heaven was the Braidbar showboat at the Crick Boat Show in June.  And yes, the owners are delighted with it.
At Lock 9 the lock keeper reappeared – with instructions. Boats were below, locks were set, do not move from this lock until the upcoming one appears… If you have to stand around waiting well, what pleasanter place could there be? A short queue formed behind and very soon the Huddersfield  Narrow and the Standedge Tunnel were under discussion. “So it didn’t take three hours then?” asked a lady, seemingly disappointed by  misinformation. That’s the thing about boaters – there’s always some experience to describe, opinion to pass.
Lock 12 completed; time to moor up for lunch and for the rest of the day. The River Dane flows far below the canal aqueduct, the Cloud rears up just across the fields, it’s a peaceful area, unbothered by any other form of traffic.

Solved the picture clues as to how the Captain spent his afternoon?

1.      He polished the tow path side of the boat
2.      He de-rusted a few damaged spots on the cabin side
3.      Minor job –he fitted a longer lead for a simple repair on the engine (warning light on the alternator) – and in replacing it discovered the alternator was loose, the fixing of which became a very major job…
(Note from the Captain: he’d like it recorded he served dinner only 15 minutes late…)

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