He took it on the chin!

Now moored up at the top of the Bingley 5 rise, at Crossflatts. There is a railway platform at Crossflatts with a really good and regular service into Leeds. Paul has left this morning for a meeting with George in Oxford. Expecting him back tonight.

We came up the Bingley 5 Rise Locks yesterday morning with another couple on their cruiser. Barry Whitelock (the appropriately named lock keeper) was there to get us up the 5, making sure that all went smoothly. His tartan cap (which looked new last year) is now showing signs of a hard life in the sun and rain. I think it fair to describe Barry as a man of few words (he has a lot to concentrate on – water, boats and crowd control) but he spared a few for me. Our conversation went something like this
“You were lucky to get up here today”
“Oh, were we Barry, why was that?”
“I gave the boss words about this” he said pulling at the life jacket he was wearing
“I gave it to him, right to his face”
“How did he take it?”
“On the chin”
“How many accidents have these prevented?” he asked me again pulling at his life jacket
“I’ve no idea, but probably not many”
“Not one!”
So that is Barry’s view about the life jackets the lock keepers and other British Waterways staff have to wear. He has been looking after the flight for 30 years (another 12 to go before he can retire) and in all that time he has made sure boats go up and down safely. Its not an easy job and needs a lot of concentration. BW and all us boaters would really miss him if he left.

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