The Foxton Flight


It rained all day today. Aaron, who could not work in such weather, came for a pleasant chat over a mug of tea.

I will not bore either my readers or myself with full details of today’s BT episode. But it does warrant a brief mention. Yesterday, as you know, I had been promised a phone call from a manager about the charge of £50 to change the name on my account. The young lady who telephoned me from India this morning was certainly no manager. When we came to an impasse she transferred me to someone in England. The best I could glean from her, after she had consulted with her manager, was that this could only be done free of charge was by changing the phone number then transferring it back. There was no guarantee that our existing number would be accurately returned. I told her, for the recording, precisely what I thought of her company, stated that it was only my reluctance to change our number and my e-mail address, that kept me with them; and that I wouldn’t bother to take her up on her kind offer.

Then I scanned another set of colour negatives from my longest walk.

I don’t usually tinker with the colours in my photographs, but I did have a play with these three landscape shots.

Sam in Pacific Pete 7.03

Beyond Oxford, Sam took to the Grand Union Canal

alongside which the footpaths were often completely overgrown, albeit

with pleasant wild flowers, such as meadowsweet and willow herb.

Of the many butterflies flitting about, I only recognised the red admirals. (See John Knifton’s comment below)

Oak leaves 7.03

The shade from trees like this oak was often welcome in the heat of the day.

About the Foxton Flight of Locks, built between 1810 and 1814, Wikipedia informs us:

‘Foxton Locks (grid reference SP691895) are ten canal locks consisting of two “staircases” each of five locks, located on the Leicester line of the Grand Union Canal about 5 km west of the Leicestershire town of Market Harborough and are named after the nearby village of Foxton.

They form the northern terminus of a 20-mile summit level that passes Husbands Bosworth, Crick and ends with the Watford flight

Staircase locks are used where a canal needs to climb a steep hill, and consist of a group of locks where each lock opens directly into the next, that is, where the bottom gates of one lock form the top gates of the next. Foxton Locks are the largest flight of such staircase locks on the English canal system.

The Grade II* listed locks are a popular tourist attraction and the county council has created a country park at the top. At the bottom, where the junction with the arm to Market Harborough is located, there are two public houses, a shop, trip boat and other facilities.’

On the day Sam guided Pacific Pete down this staircase, family visitors were out in force. For once I was ahead of my son, and reached the locks in time to learn that the canal-side telegraph was buzzing with the news that a large rowing boat was on its way through.

The audience gathered to watch Sam use his giant oar to steer and propel the boat through the locks because there was no room to row.

Asian family leaving Foxton Flight 7.03

Did you notice the Asian man gesturing to his family in the first picture, and shepherding them over the bridge in the last, in order to lead them down the slope to see the rower on his way?

Child helping at the locks 7.03

There had been no shortage of helpers to push the long balance beams operating the gates.

There were plenty of narrow boats on the waters, but no other ocean-going rowing boats.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s glorious sausage casserole; crisp carrots, cauliflower and red cabbage, and creamy mashed potatoes. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished Helen and Bill’s Malbec.

48 responses to “The Foxton Flight”

  1. sounds like a headache and a half, all of those techno problems with the phone/internet….sigh….so much for prompt customer service. But the walk through images was splendid as always <3

  2. My advice is get a gmail address, then you can swap ISP’s to your hearts content and keep the same email address through it all – plus they are kind enough to keep all your on-line info if ever your computer crashes and you lose everything 🙂 And if you set up a forwarding link on your current email you won’t lose contact with anyone. I’m still receiving emails sent to my old address through this system. The photo of the oak tree leaves looks like a painting. Really beautiful!

  3. Sounds as if it is time to contact the telecommunications ombudsman! Funny you pointed out the Asian family particularly. I’d been enlarging the screen so I could get a better look at what was going on there, and then got to your text where you also mentioned the family.

  4. Sorry that the phone/internet issues are still on-going, Derrick.
    But your photos are splendid as always. I liked the footpath–another magic-filled path–and the wildflowers. Of course, your action-packed photo essay on the locks was wonderful, too.

  5. Why can you not change your phone providers/companty and take your number with you like we can here in Australia.
    When I lived on the Northern Beaches for 35 years we moved 3 times and took our number with us whereever we went. Even when we changed service providers.
    I couldn’t be bothered when we moved into the inner west.
    My mobile number was issued sometime in the 1990s and Ive changed the service provider 3 or 4 times and kept my number AND IT’S NEVER COST ME A CENT TO DO SO!

  6. Ugh, BT is…awful. I wrangled with them back in the nineties. And in the eighties, I worked for a company that had sent some people to London for a year to finish a job. One guy I worked with took his family and had a tale of getting the phone hooked up. They told him it could be 6 months and he turned into the ugly American and ripped them a new body opening and said he couldn’t understand the customer service issues because in the US he called before he moved, gave the new address and date of move in and the phone was on…he must have shamed them because they were there fairly swiftly. But everyone has these awful issues now with essential services. That aside, your Sam in his youth was an adventurer!!! Nice to see his boat in the lock.

  7. The stuff you are telling us about your interminably intractable problem belongs to the realms of fiction such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Perhaps some day, as in that fiction, BT will come to realise that the meaning of Life is little else than ‘42’. That was a miniature commotion caused by Sam’s row boat. I loved the ‘helpers’!

  8. Additional FYI: To train your email users to use Outlook, first have all your email forwarded to outlook so that when you reply it gives the new email address. Also add the new email to your signature. After a month of two you can close the old account.

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