Whilst wandering about we saw a familiar boat, No Problem, with Penny and Meg keeping watch at the stern. Presently Sue and Vic came out for a chat, They are very knowledgeable as shown on their excellent blog which contains everything you need to know if you are on a narrow boat! On our return I joined a man who was looking over the wall playing his Harmonica to this little group in the orchard. They seemed to be attentive, if not a bit bewildered by the sound though! This is the cat on the boat moored in front of us who peeped around the corner to check us out.
Friday, 29 November 2013
It was a cold and frosty morning when we moved off down through Enslow where we thought there were more big white dishes across the field than there were on our last visit. I was warm and cosy with my salopettes on and the cabin boy was also well muffled up. The River Cherwell level indicator board was in the yellow when we exited Bakers Lock, so a bit of a flow on it. We opened up our engine and swiftly arrived at Shipton Weir Lock. We really enjoyed our trip today as the sun came out to warm us up and the water was so clear we could see the bottom of the canal. It was very shallow in places and there were plenty of dislodged stones over near the towpath. The reeds had been cut down low making visibility around the bends clearer. The downside was that we collected some around the prop and had to poke a bundle of them off the bow at each lock.
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
In the morning we pushed across for a pump out for £15 at Aynho Wharf then we were off.Oakfield glided along more easily with such a great weight off it’s mind! On arrival at Somerton Deep lock there was such a tangle of weed and roots it took us about twenty minutes to fish out several piles of it to open the top gate. After Oakfield had passed through I could not shut the bottom gate, so the Cabin Boy had to come up and lend his weight to it. Apart from being heavy to close, this is a brand new gate and works quite smoothly otherwise.
We both hopped back on board but were going no-where fast, forwards or backwards, we now had weed around the propeller. Stopping on the lock mooring, himself donned the arm length plastic gloves and grovelled about in the weed hatch. Another heap of weed was discarded in the hedgerow. I saw a single-handed boater approaching and opened the gate for him and he glided in forgetting to jump off his boat. With no word of thanks I left him to it as my shoulder was aching by now. Meanwhile I had made coffee which we drank when we got underway once more.
Just past Somerton Bridge we met five Martians attacking the greenery along the towpath. I must say In fact most of the grass and bushes along the towpaths we have seen on our travels this year have been kept well trimmed.. Once passed the aluminium lift-bridge we moored a little further on at Lower Heyford. On my little circular afternoon stroll I spotted a nice insurance plaque and stone carving dated 1867 on the old village school building ,
Monday, 25 November 2013
Well every shop you enter is belting out Christmas musac, sometimes two lots at once, ugh! Apart from standing in queues to pay, when it comes to your turn you can guarantee someone has a problem and you are bound to wait while it’s sorted. Then you have to be alert to people on their mobile phones who are not looking where they are going, others may walk straight at you too. Of course they all expect you to avoid them, don’t they? Then there are the people who step backwards into you and nonchalantly say “sorry”, so that’s alright then. If your lucky enough to avoid all those pushchairs and mobility scooters as well, you may be lucky enough to finally purchase something! Thank goodness you only have to do this once a year, phew!
Sunday, 24 November 2013
The moorings above Cropredy Lock are for 24 hrs only, but the ones more conveniently placed further down by the shop and pubs are for 48 hrs! Anyway I saw Graham aboard his boat Anwick and we arranged to meet up for a meal the following evening. We set off to meet him and Jane at their thatched cottage and they proudly showed us around. I particularly liked their cosy looking inglenook fireplace. There are some renovations and improvements they want to do before moving in though. We strolled across to the Brasenose Inn and spent all evening over a lovely meal with drinks chatting about what we had all been up to. Then we braved the rain and cold wind on the long walk back up to Oakfield after a really enjoyable evening spent together.
As we passed through Cropredy Lock I saw some apples which were free to help yourself to, so I did. We saw a few trains on our way down in the sunshine with a chilly wind blowing. It’s time for the thermals, two coats and two pairs of socks sort of weather.
Bourton Lock was still looking all forlorn and unloved as we helped a single handed boater come up, before descending ourselves. After picking our spot at Banbury we went to Wetherspoon for a snack, then perused the shops for Christmas presents. There was quite a festive feel everywhere with all the lights and decorations up. Back on Oakfield I prepared all those free apples and cooked them in an Apple Crumble, with cream yum, yum!
Thursday, 21 November 2013
It’s lovely to moor out in the countryside as when we roll out of bed in the morning we can watch the sunrise. There was a frost overnight leaving a cold chill in the air when we set off down the eight locks to Cropredy. We caught up with another boat which was so slow we caught up and helped them through the locks.
The new marina with three hundred berths was almost full as we passed the two entrances. We moored up just beyond the narrows which is a bit tight when boats are coming at it from both directions.
Tuesday, 19 November 2013
Our overnight mooring at Wormleighton was so peaceful that I overslept. Eventually we set off on a rather dull misty moisty morning pausing at Fenny Compton for coffee while we took on water and bought milk from the pub shop. Then we headed off through Fenny Tunnel, so called when it had a roof over it! Not many boats on the move today so we made good progress along the straight. We passed the old working boat Gosty Hill resting while she awaits a new owner. After mooring up a bit further down, we heard a knock on the side of our boat. To our surprise and delight it was Ian who was cycling down to Banbury. We enjoyed a long chat with him as we always used to when he was delivering our fuel and coal with Alison on Gosty Hill. It was great to exchange news of what we had been up to and he told us Gosty is now up for sale at the reduced price of £30,000, a bargain! Hope he didn’t get too wet on his six-ish mile bike ride on the towpath.
While I was preparing the mid-day snack of mince pie with custard another familiar boat passed us, it was Badsey! Rain had now set in for the rest of the day so we relaxed all cosy and warm reading and computing.
Monday, 18 November 2013
I have bought a decorative plate of a canal scene called ‘The First Lock’. It was painted by Terry Harrison but does not say where this is. Unfortunately there is no bridge number to provide a clue, even after searching the internet I am still none the wiser. So, does anyone know where it might be please?
Sunday, 17 November 2013
We reached our last lock for a while at Marston Doles where there was a small collection of interesting old cars gathered together.
Taking it in turns to steer we had a snack on the move continuing on to moor at Wormleighton. I like the way these poles seem to have been thrown like darts all across the fields!
Saturday, 16 November 2013
Just as we thought the Water Buffalo had all been made into pies they came to watch us moor up by bridge 15. They are such slow, quiet, gentle creatures and one calf had already made an appearance.
This is one of our favourite quiet places with fantastic views across the landscape. There was a lovely sunrise on Saturday morning and after listening to Sounds of the Sixties over breakfast, then coffee with Graham Norton, we set off up the lock. The horses were already dressed in their jackets against the wintery chill.