Thursday, 30 April 2015

Kirtlington Village.

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Carolyn and I walked Hamish about a mile up the winding lane to see what the village had to offer. En-route we caught glimpses of Kirtlington Stone Quarry through the trees. There was a fabulous mix of large country houses, small quaint cottages, two pubs and a small PO Stores with a Cafe adjoining it. Most of the cottages were nicely interspersed around lovely grassy areas.

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The Church was open, so we peeped inside and it seemed very plain and simple. There was a faded wall painting which I thought was of St George slaying the Dragon.The graveyard was rather like a wildlife sanctuary with grassy areas left uncut where wildflowers were thriving. We thought on the whole it was a beautifully laid out village with buses running through from Oxford to Bicester.

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Unfortunately Mill Farm Tea Rooms down by the canal were only opening at weekends, so we missed out on their homemade goodies there, never mind eh.

On to Tackley.

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Descending Allen's Lock we passed by the beautiful Manor House, Church and Tithe Barn at Upper Heyford. I jumped ship to go forward to open Lower Heyford Lift Bridge, only to find a boat was approaching through it. So he kindly sat on it while our two boats passed underneath, how kind was that?

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We paused for water and to drop our rubbish off further on and could see that the workmen were ‘busy’ over on the railway line. We carried on to moor below Pigeons Lock as we were feeling rather weary by then

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Souldern Wharf.

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Lovely wide towpath here overlooking beautiful green fields with sheep over on the distant hill slopes. Plenty of solar rays to pick up on here and some very weird looking plants resembling Asparagus bordering the towpath. As we didn’t know what they were we let them be. It got very cold in the evening so we fired up the Squirrel and hunkered down to cook our evening meal watching the sun set through the kitchen porthole.

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Early next morning we were off down Somerton Deep Lock which was easy with the assistance of the two Cabin Boys, but a tight squeeze coming out under the bridge.

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Luckily there was a useful sign telling us where we were, just in case we had forgotten! It looked as if the old mill over on the River Cherwell had finished it’s refurbishment and was looking quite spectacular among the trees. We went on to moor above Allens Lock where we spilled out onto the towpath and Carolyn kindly shared her jam and cream scones with us, very delicious they were too. So we chillaxed for the rest of the afternoon chatting, watching the farmer at work and also a pair of Kestrels hunting to feed their chicks. Gary said,’This is just the ticket!’

Twyford Wharf.

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It was a nice gentle sunny cruise to spend a quiet night just above Twyford Wharf, the view from the porthole says it all really. Next day we were off down Kings Sutton Lock and the cottage there is still up for sale. We paused for a coffee break above Nell Bridge before descending onto the River Cherwell section.

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Not much of a flow on it at the moment so no problems entering the diamond shaped lock together. Here Gary got his leg over to go up onto the bridge to take his photograph. We carried on through the picturesque countryside to moor just short of lift Bridge 193.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Onwards to Twyford Wharf.

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Hamish was put on bow hauling duties as we cruised off below Tom Rolt’s Bridge, then under the lift bridge for the use of the water tap. The tap at Banbury service station is not working and the rest of it is rather run down too. In fact it is an absolute disgrace to the town of Banbury!

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Another stop was made for a quick trolly dash to Morrison's, then after a coffee break we cruised away again, leapfrogging with nb Inca.

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Gary and Hamish waiting for Carolyn to come aboard, then it was our turn to go down Grants Lock. There they go cruising away into the distance. We left the bottom lock gate open there as we could see another boat approaching. It was a friendly bunch of girls dressed up very smartly indeed, made the Cabin Boy drool anyway!. They were cruising along nice and steady and thanked us for leaving the lock ready for them, how polite is that?

Bumming around Banbury.

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Coming down our last lock as we drew near to Banbury we noticed that a HUGE warehouse had been erected since we passed here last time. The workmen were still working there so I asked them what it would contain. Entertainment Equipment, apparently! We moored up with nb Inca by the Spiceball Park in a nice sunny spot. Now we were limited to 48 hrs summertime mooring, so we hit the town over both days perusing the shops and visiting Wetherspoons. Ian and Alison (Gosty Hill) came by with Bosun and Kaleb for a catch up chat as we hadn’t seen them for ages, it was good to see them again. We took the opportunity to hit the shops here to acquire all those little things that aren’t available elsewhere. M&S have some lovely food, so we treated ourselves to a few of our favourite things. There were street markets to enjoy and Carolyn and I visited the hairdressers too. It was luxury to have my hair washed and be given a cup of tea with a chocolate while having my hair cut and blow dried. Even better because they have a special rate on Thursdays as it is their quietest  day of the week, perfick!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Through the countryside.

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A few things were bought from Cropredy Stores then we went around to browse the Antiques that occupy one of the small units nearby, very interesting it was too. Next day we paused at the services beyond the bridge before cruising on to see this single magnificent Oak tree in the middle of one of the fields. The countryside is beginning to turn a lovely luscious green in the warmth of the sun.

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Down near Bourton Lock I spied some Periwinkle and Penny Flower. What a shame the lock side cottage here is beginning to crumble due to being neglected. Nearer to Banbury  Malc shouted out hello from his newly painted pale blue cottage which had taken him two weeks to do, luvly jubbly, must have been a job lot in the sale maybe!

Saturday, 25 April 2015

On to Cropredy.

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After spending a couple of superb days here we moved on past Fenny Compton Wharf where we saw the small, but beautiful boat ‘Poppy’.

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Things were warming up and the cows were sunbathing whilst chewing their cud. Under deep blue skies we came to the top of Claydon Locks where we had a quick chat to Dick and Netty who were busy polishing their boat ‘Peruvian Skies’.   IMG_8909   IMG_8914     IMG_8916

A farmer was busy spreading granules on his field and further on down we exchanged locks with the fuel boat ‘Dusty’ who was heading North. A while later we moored opposite this fabulous house and garden. Unfortunately we then had our peace shattered by the motor mower being cavorted around the lawn there!