Sunday, 8 November 2015

They Unlocked the Lock

Today has been such a dire, windy day, that it was difficult for me to motivate myself to go running, and as soon as I started to cycle, I felt that the wind was blowing me backwards. I went to the park to have a cup of tea and indulge in some photography, but the light was so grim that it would have been pointless.

There weren't even any striking skies like yesterday. Everything was a uniform dark grey, like a tank needing a lick of paint. It was awful.

However, it wasn't a total dead loss of a day. Twitter reminded me that there was an open day on the town locks today, midway through the replacement of the gates. I came hurtling along on my bike, only to be told by the guy on the gate I had to get off it. So I locked it to his gate.

It's the first time I've ever been able to walk through the boatyard, and they had opened up the dry dock, once the largest inland one in Europe, for folk to walk through and be towered over by the dredgers that were parked there. For once, there were no dire warnings about not looking at the acetylene lamps.

From there, you entered the sensory garden next to the river, and then down into the lock itself, down a metal staircase that made you feel like you were entering an archaeological dig. If it had been, collectors of decaying bicycles and shopping trollies would have been excited, but no-one else. The muddy stench that had been present a few weeks ago had gone, and I was excited - weirdly - to see a little stream winding its way along the mud. It reminded me of those beaches in Scotland.

Rust decorated the metal sides, and there was the strange thrill of being below ground level. I was reminded of J.G. Ballard's "The Drowned World" and the horror the protagonists had when a flooded London was drained, exposing that which should not be exposed.

There is also frisson of being where you aren't supposed to be normally I think. As many people would say, bicycle studded mud shouldn't normally be exciting, but many are the urban explorers who might disagree.





Dry info for a dry dock


Tea was welcome on a windy day!

Crane at work

Into the deep

Possibly rideable

This one comes with its own spare tire

Undersize trolly must have aroused disgust

Some sort of Hemingway figure has edged into shot

Gate replacement

The empty river

Muddy stream


  1. You have a way with words - my favorite phrase from today's post is "bicycle studded mud." I would have loved it too.

  2. So interesting Si to see this side of a town I know so well.

  3. An interesting post and images Si!

    The notice 'Newark Dry Dock' notice made me smile when I read the water capacity...2.2 million Litres or 480,000 Gallons or 6000 Bath Tubs!!! I wonder who checked the figures out?lol

    1. 6000 bath tubs seems a little lightweight to me