Day 27, Waltham Town Lock to Hertford, and back to Broxbourne.
Nothing very exciting happened today, so I worked a little on expanding my skillset (that's the latest new buzzword in the world of education, don't you know, although what education (as opposed to training) has to do with skills, I don't know. Ask the government).
Now, locks I can do. After a few years of practice I can do locks upside down and in my sleep, like a well oiled machine. I can climb up and down slimey ladders (very useful on the Nene where the landing stages are the size of matchboxes) and as of today can walk across top gates even without a handrail.
I am also quite good with ropes. I can coil them so they don't tie themselves in knots (whereas Jim, mysteriously, can make them tie themselves in knots very impressively). I can throw them at bollards with a fair degree of success, and I can tie a boatman's hitch, about which I am quite (but generally unsuccessfully) evangelical. Frankly I think that this alone should make up for any shortcomings.
I can steer, going forwards, with some facility now, and I can go backwards in a straight line. What I still cannot do, much to my chagrin, is manouevre with any degree of subtlety. If you are awkward enough to want the boat in a particular place, particularly if this is a place we have already passed, then I am not your woman. I had another go this afternoon. Oh yes, I merrily trilled, I am a little tired after all those dreadfully heavy locks, so on the way back I shall steer and you can have the opportunity to improve your locking skills... Well, after two locks I was practically begging to apply my bruised sacrum to the Lee Navigation's recalcitrant gates again. Once in the lock I was fine - backwards and forwards; no problem. It was the picking up and dropping off, and the stopping and waiting, and the holding off (but there was a weir...) that did for me. I could no longer stand the frustration. Generally I just avoid doing things I'm not good at (swimming, drawing, socialising, singing....) because I hate being bad at things, but this I have to work on. I have laid in a stock of chocolate in anticipation of another attempt tomorrow.