Not all plans run true – and a Monkton Moment
Church Lawton to Rode Heath 3.5 miles,10 locks
A cold night – a blue morning.
No need to hurry off, not planning to go very far… So, after several more old working boats had chugged past, returning from the Ellesmere Port Easter Boat Gathering, Cleddau was made ready to set off: TV mast and phone aerial dismantled, washing machine in action, side hatch closed and a second coat of blue paint on the repaired bollard. Extra clothing layers were donned and the two close together Church Locks tackled.
Downhill. Then comes Halls Lock, quickly followed by the Lawton Triple Locks. Two hire boats, both with large crews, were met.
At the top of the Triple Locks an energetic young woman shouted over that a lady was selling jams and marmalades further down the locks – and she’d bought plum jam for her porridge. Aah – this is a familiar figure to the Cleddaucrew, last time we met she’d raised £13,000 for the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.
It was while heading out of a lock across the pound towards her that a Monkton Momentoccurred. Long-term readers might recognise this term and this occasion was fairly typical. A boater announced:
“I know the Cleddau river. It’s near my home – Narbeth.” Well, well, Narbeth was mentioned on the radio last night, its museum shortlisted for a national prize. So, this was the first Monkton Moment of 2013, a recognition that Cleddau has a link to Pembrokeshire!
There was a scrabbling with gloves and purse and then a purchase made – chutneys. Now the lady’s donations have reached £15,000 and she has added home-sewn aprons to her wares.
During past cruises Boatwif has gazed curiously over Rode Heath Rise.
Now she knows it falls steeply down to Lawton Brook which races along the valley bottom and where children paddle and play in the summer.
Forty years or so ago a conveyor stood there, a relic of the salt works.