A longish day today. When we awoke the sky was blue and the sun shining, so an early start was called for. On the move by 7:30. Unfortunately by nine o’clock the clouds had gathered and the rest of the day was grey and overcast. Still not many boats around and we didnt have to queue at locks at all, though we did occasionally have to wait for a boat coming towards us. We didn’t mind as it means we get the chance to natter to other boaters.
At Rodbaston lock there was a boat going down when we arrived, as they were going down a short, old tug style boat approached below the lock. As it went to slow down a huge cloud of black smoke belched out of it’s exhaust stack. The other boat left the lock and I waited for the tug to come in. There was another cloud of smoke and a young woman carrying a windlass walked up the path. She was covered in flecks of soot and had black hands. I got chatting to her and the boat’s steerer and it seems that they had bought the boat only a couple of hours earlier in Penkridge. The vendor started the engine, but it didnt smoke then, but since they are covered in soot everytime they open the throttle! They have a barge on the Leeds & Liverpool, but fancied doing the narrow canals so bought the tug on a whim.