"I'm used to carrying shopping bags down the towpath, but it can get muddy in winter. I've lived here in the old lock keeper's cottage since 1993. I love living here. We tried to buy it twice before we eventually managed to get it. We had a narrowboat at that point and were already interested in canals, so when we saw an advert in a waterways magazine we just had to go for it. We've still got a boat, although we don't get out and about on it as much these days. I work full time, so when I retire I may do more travelling on the canals.
I don't think I will ever leave our life in the lock cottage though. We moved here when my son was two and my daughter was born here, so we've seen the family grow up by this lock. When he was little my son fell in the water a few times as he was playing, but he was ok! I didn't worry too much about having young children living by a lock because I don't think a lock is as dangerous as a road. They really got to know the canals as part of their life, even spending their holidays on the narrowboat too. And, now that they’re grown up, the kids still enjoy boating. My son often goes off on our boat for weekends away with his friends.
Not much has changed about the cottage in the time since we've lived in it. As a lock cottage it has lots of heritage and is protected by the Canal & River Trust. So if we want to make any changes we have to get their permission first. I think the people who lived here in the 1870s saw some of the last big alterations. Pat Warner, the lock keeper's daughter who lived here in the 1920s to 30s, wrote a book called 'Lock Keeper's Daughter'. It was written as an autobiography telling the story of the lock cottage and her family's struggles. Her father, the lock keeper, was poor and suffered hard times. His wife and most of his children all died here, but Pat lived on to write the story. She came down to the cottage one day with her son and stood outside. She just stood there. She wouldn't come in, I don't know why."
Nina, Reservoir Lock Cottage, Tardebigge Flight.
Worcester & Birmingham Canal