The first three locks at Meaford had been empty and I'd been able to go straight in after Martin opened the gates so when I approached the top lock, which has a long, dark, bridge over the tail I wasn't concentrating and just assumed that I was about to enter an empty lock. I was brought up short by the bow hitting the bottom gates of a full lock instead! Once I'd reversed off to allow the descending boat to leave we assessed the damage. I got off quite lightly: just a broken glass in the cupboard and the clock falling off the wall losing its battery in the process, which timed the incident precisely at 14.42hrs! The front fender however was hanging on even more lopsidedly than usual as the weak link in the chain holding it on had broken. This link is deliberately weak so that it will break if the fender gets caught up on a lock gate and so prevent a sinking.
We didn't fix it there and then as the lockside was inhabited by a canal artist displaying his wares and sounding increasingly desperate to sell them to us. The longer we stayed there the more likely it was that we'd have to buy something so we carried on until we found some mooring rings at Bridge 106 in Trentham. There, with Martin supporting said fender by means of a pole and three bits of wood I'd found some time ago and kept on the roof "just in case" I re-attached the chain. An added bonus was that the fender, which has been sitting lopsidedly since I hit some bottom gates on the Middlewich branch when another boater opened the paddles too enthusiastically, now sits almost perfectly straight again!
|The re-attached fender|