Friday, 27 February 2015

Trees in the landscape.

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We have experienced many grey skies recently, but we quite like this as it silhouettes the trees against it beautifully. I was fascinated to see this very unusual smoking tree, looking rather like an Aladdin's Lamp!

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We enjoy cruising slowly through the country landscape as there is so much to see at every twist and turn. It is nice and peaceful too, most of the time, which helps us relax and distracts us from the rat race that is occurring on land. Listening to the news on the radio is quite annoying at the moment with all the political parties promising to do great things for our country, half of which are never carried out once they get elected though. It it so reminiscent of that old TV programme ‘Yes Minister’ do you remember watching that?

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Family visit.

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It was a rather grey drizzly day for our visitors but we managed to keep busy on board as you can see. The birthday boy unwrapped his presents, a new outfit for the summer, a Peppa Pig nightlight and Gruffalo puzzle book which he likes. Here’s the ‘artist at work’ making us a cheery rainbow picture to brighten up our day. We then went off for a luscious lunch together, with pudding for the boys as they managed to clear their dinner plates, hurrah. Back aboard we read story books and did maths in the form of weighing things on my little balance scales and recording the differences in the items. All in all a very enjoyable, exciting  time, but also very tiring too for us old ‘uns.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Cruising on down…

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It was quite early on a misty moisty morning when our 48hrs were up so we reversed back the short distance to top up our water tank. However it began to clear a bit when we departed. A couple of canoes came past as we were on tick-over past the long line of Permit Holders and 14 day moored boats

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Cropredy Mill was still looking all forlorn by the canal bridge, it is amazing that it has not been converted into luxury dwellings, yet.

Monday, 16 February 2015


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We went on to moor just above Cropredy Lock where there are moorings for around ten boats, but limited to 24hrs all year round. We wondered why as we were the only boat there. Apparently it is another case of the residents lining the canal who don’t like boats mooring opposite, how sad is that? However, we do not complain when they spoil our quiet time sitting out on the towpath during the summer when they use their noisy lawnmowers and hedge-trimmers, do we? So next morning we moved on down to the ONLY 48 hour spot below the Bridge Stores. We had contacted our friends Graham and Jane nb Alnwick to meet us at the Brasenose Inn for a meal together, we were all looking forward to it, as it had been a while. We splashed out and had three very delicious courses with two bottles of Shiraz and had plenty to chatter about. On our way out we saw that a dog relaxing on the sofa by the fire in the bar, how homely is that? On my afternoon amble I spied this unusual pergola in someone’s garden. It seemed to be re-constructed from bits of an old wagon, what a brilliant idea.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

On to Cropredy.

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We had an early start cruising off along though ‘Fenny Tunnel’ to the top of Claydon Locks x five. The Oxford Canal Co built their stables and workshop alongside the top lock where we began out descent from the summit pound. We were not surprised to see that the lovely red brick cottage in it’s idyllic setting beside this lock is still up for sale. After all there appears to be no vehicular access and no visible mains services. All eight locks were against us today and no other boats were on the move either. Annoyingly some of the bottom gates had been left open too, so we took our time. I thought this was a good solution for those with no pets aboard, paint yer own on the side, lol.

Btw, you can click on my pictures to enlarge them.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Fenny Compton.

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After spending a nice quiet night moored near the Engine Arm we had an early start. Engine Arm Lock was the easiest lock we have operated for a while as it is well balanced and maintained. Once up through Marston Doles were were in the top pound which was completely ice free. met a couple of oncoming boats but otherwise an enjoyable cruise all around the twiddley bits. Another grey day as you can see on the only picture I took en-route. On arrival at Fenny Compton a few boats were moored on the 48 hours but they had managed space themselves out so much we couldn’t get in. luckily a boat took off from the 14 day moorings, so we slid into that with a boater on the bank taking out centre rope. His friendly little dog called Eric came to greet us then went to bury his bone in the hedge. After much chattering we went inside Oakfield to warm up with jacket potato for me and toasted tea cakes for him, luvly jubbly.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Around Napton.

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The first picture was the scene the evening before, the next one, the morning after.. It was a bit of a misty morning when we went to turn and pause by the Stop-house water tap. When we approached Bridge 102 it was a bit of a squeeze. Not a good spot to moor yer wide-beam really, was it? We were quite surprised to encounter quite a few large sheets of ice floating in places. We knew nb Inca was ahead of us and we had met Jules Fuel-boat coming up too, which must have sliced the ice somewhat.

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There were quite a few boaters moored in remote country spots as we continued along towards Napton. There seemed to be a couple of fab big new houses newly built on the hillside just below the Windmill, luvly jubbly, if you’ve got oodles of cash!. We were going to moor above the first lock, but as they were in our favour we thought we would continue on up to moor at the top. However we were unlucky and a boat took off in front of us further up, never mind.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Moving on down.

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We spent a couple of enjoyable evenings in the Boathouse Inn for meals and afternoon teas aboard with the crew of nb Inca, Gary and Carolyn. It was great to have someone to natter too while staying put, being frozen into the canal for most of our stay here.

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I popped up to the Boat Shop to buy a couple of crusty organic wholemeal loaves that were still hot when I picked them up. Perfick with a hunk of cheddar cheese for mid-day snacks, me thinks.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Here and there.

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This is the gravestone of the Nurser family who owned and ran  Braunston Dockyard up until 1941 where Frank Nurser painted Roses and Castles on the boats. Further on in the village is a tall red brick house. Nice to see that the bricks have not been hidden under paint as so often happens. There are a few signs of spring hereabouts too and the weather is turning warmer for longer, at last.

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The sheep with their lambs have been ambling about the ridge and furrow fields of the long gone medieval village of Braunstonbury. The locks are now open again and many boats have passed by breaking the ice up enabling it it melt quicker. Carolyn and I have done one more trolley run by bus, so are now fully stocked for take off. We always enjoy our stay here as there is so much open countryside to enjoy, but now our time is up so we must away again.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Braunston Bake.

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We had seen this advertised on a poster down by the canal, so Carolyn and I walked up to have a look around. The cake and bread stalls were set up inside The Wheatsheaf Inn at the top of the village. As we walked in the aroma of freshly baked goodies was encouraging. It was a bit dark though and there were many customers already perusing the table-top spreads. Anyway my star purchase were the cream Meringues, hope your not drooling now, are you? I also bought some Date slices and a packet of chewy chocolaty cookies. Carolyn got crusty white bread, tea cake, cheese scones and chocolate brownie, yum. There was such a variety of bread, cakes and sweet and savoury biscuits it was hard not to buy tooo much!

Saturday, 7 February 2015


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A great scrunching of ice made me jump up to look out to see a push tug almost swing into the bow of our boat as he had no control over the steering in the ice. When he saw my astonished expression he mouthed ‘sorry’, so that’s ok then is it? He then put his engine into hard reverse to avoid us, but then the flat that he was pushing swung across very close to the boat behind us! Then the following work boat overtook him, what fun, not.

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I think it did help when they saw me with my camera as they slowed down just a tad. Hate to think what all these boats passing us through the ice are doing to our recent bottom blacking! Anyway, these two are on route back to Rose Narrowboats, so look out if you’re moored on their route.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Lock inspection.

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The six locks at Braunston have been closed for repairs since January, so i went up to look at the progress. Between locks there is quite a quantity of soft mud and stones at the edges. A deeper channel runs through the centre where boat propellers churn it up as they pass through.The two little culverts running under the lane are nicely formed from red brick to allow a stream to flow into the canal. near the top I found C&RT men were refilling the pounds in order to move their work boats and secure them overnight.

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As you can see narrow-boat ‘The Buffer’s Lady’ had been stranded high and dry on the mud bank. Luckily it was left fairly level! I noticed that there were three boats moored above the top lock too. I thinks some of the repairs have carried out on the lock gates, and the brickwork on the lock and wing walls.

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It was amazing to hear all the ‘ice burghs’ clattering together as the water came gushing down through the pounds. It was bitterly cold in the wind, so I quickly made my way back to Oakfield to thaw out with a warm drink.