“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, ….. it was the season of Light……! “(Apologies to Charles Dickens – A tale of Two Cities for this misquote). With the sun shining from blue skies at 7:30 am I decided to head for the canals to capture the golden light falling onto the greenery surrounding the canals – enhanced by many months of rain, rain, rain. It certainly was the “best of times” as there have been few good days of late. The “worst of times” was when the sun disappeared in the early afternoon. The age of wisdom was deciding to move the car between groups of locks instead of parking once and walking 3 miles to see all locks and three miles back again. The age of foolishness was loosing my car keys – eventually found in a hitherto unused pocket of my cargo pants (are these pockets  infinite!). It certainly is the season of light – the sun rsisng at about 5:30am. And what a day it was! Whenever the sun shines, boaters go on the move, and with smiles! (As usual click on an image below for a larger view). At the Atherstone Bottom Lock pair I met Alan Partridge – no that one – a guy from Canada. His early years were spent in the UK but latterly he lives in Canada but returns to his native UK every year “I feel at home here” he declared. He bought his cruiser Thames Invader this year and is  single handing it around the network. He bought the boat because he couldn’t hire ine – the hirers insurance policy doesn’t cover single handing. He admitted that the learning process had its moments and admitted falling in to his first lock! He collects amongst other aesthetic items Rupert Bear books and visits like minded gatherings of people on his travels. His acquisitions are stored in his boat but space is running out. On his return to Canada he will leave his treasures behind for next year but may swop to a larger boat. A very friendly and interesting character. Also at at the bottom locks I met Sue and Roland and their vintage working boat “No 141 Fenny”. When they are not cruising their boat is stored in the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port with many others. .   The boat was built in 1930 and was originally intended by GUCCC as pairing with butty 280, Feltham. It was shortened 1960s to 52′, but this is an oversimplification as Sue told me it had been altered several times over the years. Roland told me the engine was losing oil at the moment and this was puzzling him. . . I’m sure Sue and Roland will sort out their splendid boat pretty quickly. . . . . This is Tony. He lives aboard his boat Geezenstak Risa in the Barry Hawkins marina. He told me he sold his flat and boat his boat which he now lives aboard. He was single handling his boat when we met with great skill. He made me jealous by saying he had been invited by a girl friend to accompany her on a Florida holiday next week. The condition she has imposed is that he shaves off his beard. That’s a shame but we wouldn’t want him to be mistaken for someone he isn’t by the US immigration control! .Bon voyage Tony! Send us a photo of you less beard. His marina is on the right and he says he always makes a mess of the sharp right to enter it. He did OK when I was there. . . .  Approaching Atherstone top lock is a romantic place and quiet even though just 1/4 mile from the town centre. . . . . Now here’s a treat. Two Basset Hounds aboard. I have to say I’m not a dog lover (I have enough to cope with keeping myself spick and span) but I fell in love with these fellows instantly – and they were very friendly not barking in defense of their boat as I peered in. Their boat is named Dog and Duck. I asked which dog was the Duck and was pointed to the model duck on the stern and the iron work on the side , just visible. . Off they go and off I go again back to Birmingham and the canals around Brindley Place. A great day!