I have done 11 locks in two days. And, in that two days I have discovered a new love that MAY make me think about leaving Michael. :)
Let's backtrack a bit. When we go through a lock there are several steps that must be gone through. First, you walk up to the lock and determine if the lock needs to be filled or drained. Then, no mater which, you open the two paddles to either add or delete water. This requires a bit of physical exertion to open the paddles, sometimes more than one would expect since the equipment can be VERY elderly.
Then, once the water levels are even, you open the gate to the lock by physically pushing the gate into the proper location. The boat moves into the lock. You close the gate at the back of the lock and go up and open the paddles at the top of the lock to either, again, add or drain water as needed. Once the water pressure is even, you can open the gates at the top of the lock by physically pushing it into position.
Now, a point of clarification, to open the paddles one must walk across the wooden gates (about 8 inches wide) at the lock. This is a Challenge for someone who is afraid of height (like me). But, I sometimes do it many times a day. (Please hold your applause.) Then you use your winch handle to open the paddles on both sides. (Later you need to close the paddles by reversing what you did before which also means walking back and forth a few more times.)
Now remember, I have done that 11 times in the past two days.
Remember my 8.5 out of 10 score? Well, it seems I have really ticked off my back due to the fall. That can make opening and closing paddles and gates a challenge. Yesterday, I did five locks (10 gates and paddles) and at the end my back was really letting me know it was less than pleased with me.
Last night, while trying to get a good night's sleep, I had to deal with a back that liked to spasm. It made me less than anxious to do the other 6 six today.
But, I have discovered a new best friend.
First, when people build a narrow boat they tend to position their solid fuel stoves near the bow of the boat. That means it does a good job of heating the living area and kitchen but doesn't do a good job at all of heating the kitchen and bathroom.
Therefore, a couple of months ago Mike and I bought hot water bottles. They are wonderful to help warm up a bed at night.
It seems they are also great for keeping a sore back feeling better when you have to work it.
Today I used a wide and long neck scarf to position and secure my hot water bottle to my back in the perfect position. Enjoying the warmth on my sore muscles helped me get through the last 6 locks today.
Of course, to people who saw me thought I looked like someone who had a genetic condition or a fatty growth on my lower back. (Hey, that could explain some of the looks I got, couldn't it.) But, I don't care. My hot water bottle and I are now fast friends until my back heals.
I just hope Mike doesn't make me choose between the two of them.