So as you’ll have gathered we did make it into Devizes after all by nightfall, and Margaret and I took shore leave to experience the bright lights and Bank Holiday nightlife in a low-budget remake of On the Town. In fact Devizes turns out to be lovely once you can tear yourself away from the Sainsbury’s, which was easy for us to do as they’d closed by the time we got there and we were freed up to be sternly put in our places by the giant allegorical figure of Ceres louring over the Corn Exchange against the darkening sky.
Piloting down the Caen Hill flight in the morning is a great gig. You’ve got the view in front of you, the sun at your back, and everyone else scurrying around doing the actual work, while you push a couple of levers from one side to another and every now again bump emphatically into something to remind everyone to take you seriously. With help from the family on Carol Ann, our companion boat for the duration, we got it down to six and a half minutes a lock, which included 75 seconds where enough of nothing is happening that with a bit of practice you can make yourself a cup of coffee in kitchen dashes over the course of four locks. After 29 locks and three such coffees there was a bit of a queue at the lock gates, if you know what I mean, Pegotty not being the place to boldly go no. 2 unless your definition of bold is several notches bolder than mine, but the pub lunch in Seends Green prevented you from needing to hear more about this from me except that you now understand why I’m pulling that face in Andrew’s pictures. Paula took over the cockpit in the afternoon while I joined Margaret on lock and bridge duty, with the sun in my face but half masked by my hair, so that I came out of the shower looking like Eclipso.
Now we’re going to play charades. Hold left fist in front of face thumb upwards, rotate right fist alongside at ninety degrees.
“It’s a film…”
Pose with guitar in bow of Pegotty, one foot on seat, the other up on the prow.
Margaret is flummoxed. “No idea. What is it?”
“Mad Max: Fury Road.”