There are some remarkable facts about Foxton locks, both modern and old. The flight of 10 locks allows the canal to drop down 75 foot of a slope. Each lock has a small reservoir called a side pound, designed to save water. A couple of weeks ago a lady fell into a side pound while a lock below was being filled from it. She was sucked down through the pipe and ended up in the lock with a small boat. She survived, the boat was small enough to allow room for her to come up beside it. If it had been a large steel boat she would have been trapped underneath it.
About a hundred years ago a lift was installed that allowed boats to be floated into over sized bath tubs that were then lowered down whilst another was raised up, a bit like a funicular railway.
Foxton marked the end of my outward trip, and seemed to mark the end of summer. Before the rain set in the afternoon was marked by a crosswind that stirred the thistle heads. There were so many millions of floating seeds that the air currents were practically visible. The wind blew the seed heads onward and they poured down across the fields and rose slightly over the fence and across the canal. Many dived down into the water near the fence to leave a silver white verge floating nestling next to the edge. Some glided up over the boat like horses racing over beaches brook. Others seemed more inquisitive, like sprites they investigated the inside of the boat. They were unabashed about floating in on the swirling currents, passing part way down the cabin then, deciding against it, returned to exit and rejoin the team of horses and raced on across the canal and off to the field on the other side.
For the sun lovers it has not been so idyllic in the last couple of days. I and the ducks don’t seem to mind the rain, it is very atmospheric to cruise with the rain pouring down as you glide past all the other boats that have pulled over, moored up and closed all hatches. There are mirriads of circles on the surface caused by the rain drops. Each one grows and fades as it interacts with its neighbours and new ones form over the patterns. As the boat wake passes the water lillly leaves they appear to close up and sink gracefully below the surface, as though they are embarassed to be seen.