So the causes of my original exasperated post…
Week before last, Grindley Brook, going up. The volockies were quite definitely not there to assist, they were there to be In Charge, checked in with, and their instructions followed - the signs say so, so it must be true. Anyway, first rule of a leaky staircase is not to hang about, and the bottom gates at GB leak like a sieve, so on entering the bottom lock I gave SWMBO on the middle paddles the usual “straight up” hand signal. “Half a turn! Half a turn only!” shouted the volockie, and insisted the paddle was wound down almost all the way again. And so it went on, the paddles being opened a crack at a time, so that by the time the first set of intermediate gates opened, the level was more than a foot below the markers and I was seriously concerned that we would get caught on the cill. Repeat procedure middle-to-top chamber, thankfully with less leakage. And one of the volockies remarked at the top, that they had to be really careful, because boats were getting stuck on the bottom… 🤦♂️
Last week, GB going down. Arrived at the top just as the last-of-three was had cleared the top chamber, and the staircase was to be reversed for boats to come up. We would then be next first-of-three going down after that. Volockie had cracked open one top paddle half way to refill the top chamber, so I wandered up and opened the other one. Ordered to “wind that paddle down, please!”. Pointed out that the top chamber had to be refilled, but no, “wind it down, sir, we’re regulating the water!”. Wound it down, gave up and went to make a cup of tea and admire the view while they faffed.
And then Hurleston, last week, going down. Two volockies on. The first one refused to let me out of the top lock until she said so, deliberately holding one bottom gate closed against me. Now we’ve done probably thousands of locks over the years, but the idea of being stuck in the bottom of a narrow lock, usually with water pouring round/through/under the leaky top gate, still gives me the willies, and I like to get out of there, or know that I can, with some alacrity. Deliberately obstructing my exit for no good reason was in my book completely out of order. Further down, the other volockie was blithely lifting bottom paddles without waiting for a thumbs up: That really annoys me, and I’m always slightly wary of random boaters ready with windlasses poised when entering a lock, but this year almost all the other boaters we met at locks checked before winding, even the hirers, but not this volockie.
But anyway, otherwise pleasant trip up to Llangollen, and plenty of water