It worked out rather well and whilst they were camera shy, they did muck in and treat us (AND the boat) as old friends... just what we were hoping for.
ANYWAY - to update.
After a lovely few days in Tarleton (it really IS a nice town with the best diy store you could ever want) we left on a cold and VERY windy day for our trip back up the Rufford arm .
Wendy and Eddie came with us to share the locks/swing bridges and whilst the wind did it's best to twang both boats into trees at every opportunity, the skippers managed to avoid any major incidents.
Ahem - that's not to say one of us (*whistles innocently*) didn't pull a wide-beams pins out as we went past it in the strong winds...