Closed All Hours

Monday saw more lovely weather, as we wound our way back to Watford Locks. On the continent you quite often see large barges with a car parked on top and narrowboats are frequently adorned with bicycles on the roof but we were quite surprised to see this chap bearing down on us. Must be quite a struggle to unload.

Keeping Mobile

Apart from that, our meander in the sunshine back down the Grand Union Leicester Line passed slowly, gently and delightfully, albeit with little more to remark on.

We’d been so taken with the deli cum butcher at Yelvertoft (closed Mondays and Tuesdays) that we’d slowed down – if that’s possible – and arranged to moor again on Tuesday evening back at Yelvertoft, ready for another assault on Wednesday morning. Which (it’s getting boring) again dawned crisp and bright,  and after a ten minute walk down the hill we reached the establishment at 10 o’clock, the time it was supposed to open. Ten minutes later there was still no one around: a call to the mobile number on the door established that the butcher was some way away getting his van fixed and might or might not be opening sometime after 11, depending on whether the part for said van arrived. A subsequent conversation in the post office elicited the remark that they didn’t know why he bothered to publish opening times on his advertising and web site, as basically he just opened when he fancied it. You can go off places surprisingly quickly…

Just before Watford Locks sir decided to jump ship for a constitutional, so after an early lunch we found ourselves number three in a queue that were already starting to go down, but would have to wait and be the first in the next batch, as there were three coming up who’d been waiting a while.

Watford Locks Queue

Mooring up properly, Captain and Cook went off for a decent wander, and after about 45 minutes we headed downhill (“White before Red – smack on the head”); there were another five in the queue behind us by then. (Incidentally, the bridge just visible in the picture at 2 o’clock from Song & Dance carries the M1, so not the quietest place to while away some time).

Once down, we made our way via Norton Junction back onto the Grand Union Main Line to Welton Wharf, just before Braunston Tunnel. Only about 2 miles from Daventry town centre, Google Maps suggested that the new housing estates had spread north, and there was a Tesco and a Boots in small parade of shops about three-quarters of mile from the bridge where we were tied up. In need of provisions from both supermarket and pharmacy we set off late in the afternoon: the Tesco shop was way smaller than you would have deduced from Street View and didn’t have much of what the chief cook required. And – having been reliably informed by t’interweb that Boots closed at 19:00 – were somewhat put out to arrive at 18:02 to find them locking up and be refused entry because they closed at 18:00. Obviously our day for opening/closing time hassles.

A discussion established that (a) we’d made a special trip down from the canal on the basis of their website and were marginally unamused, and (b) they’d told head office several times that the website was wrong. On the basis that we merely wanted something over the counter rather than a complicated prescription, they agreed to let us in, and we parted on friendly terms…

… only to get some way back to the boat before having a light-bulb moment, and on checking the bill, found that Tesco’s computer hadn’t done the biz on the “special offers”, and overcharged us by nearly £10. So back to the shops, and by the time we were back at the boat it was nearly dark… a frustrating day. Maybe the sunshine will come out again tomorrow.

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