Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Outskirts of Banbury

As forecast Monday was not the best of days so we stayed put.
Tuesday dawned much fairer so at an early hour we moved ourselves across to the facilities to empty and fill up and then back to the mooring temporarily so I could finish getting up!!!  

We moored before the last lock so that Geoff could reconnoitre ahead to see what the mooring prospects were.   We wanted to stay around the area for nearly a week so the 48 hour moorings in and close to the centre were no use to us.   He came back to say proceed further as he had found a spot.   But before going down the lock I mentioned yet again that I could smell gas when I was up in the cratch.  I had been saying this for over a week but Geoff has no sense of smell  (Broken Nose in childhood) so it was shrugged off as my over fertile sense of smell!!!   This time Geoff was determined to prove me wrong so he asked the chap on the boat ahead to come and sniff around our boat....surprise surprise he smelt it straight away.   WE then started the hunt for a gas engineer to come out and check...however it would appear that this type of engineer is as rare as rocking horse s***!!!  Lots of phone calls including Rob from our yard at Clifton yielded no one that would get in touch.   Meanwhile we had shut off the gas at source and were living without the cooker.  This is possible but not sustainable in the long term.

In the midst of all this, just to compound the situation, the 240 volt supply started to intermittently trip out.   Only for a few seconds and then it would come on again...... 

One of my afternoon phone calls found a very helpful lady who suggested we might have a leaky gas cylinder so Geoff swapped over to the spare and we tried again.   I sat for several hours in the cratch with my nose working overtime but didn't think I could smell anything.  Could this be the answer?? 
Just then along came Dusty the fuel barge (Geoff had departed to walk with Barney by this time) and I hailed him and bought a new gas cylinder and let him remove the possible offender.  So now we are monitoring it again.

As for the 240 volt, that we are also monitoring, but this evening it worked fine when I used the microwave for supper.    Earlier I had visited M&S and bought several microwaveable meals as a precaution.

We shall stay here over the weekend as I am disappearing down to London for a night on Friday.   Mail needs to be collected from Emma so I shall take the opportunity for a catch up with her and with Dave and also get myself a pedicure in the nice little place down the road from their flat.   Might even treat myself to a long hot soak in their bath,,,,,,,,one of the things we live without on the boat.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Weekend in Cropredy

Its that time of year when all the baby ducklings, swans and in this picture the dreaded Canada geese are around

The cows always seem please to see us!
We had an early departure from Fenny to beat the heat of the day.   We almost managed it although for the last 3 locks had I had the umbrella up for sunshade.

We had Friday night up above the lock at Cropredy, it was very quiet with very few boats going past and plenty of free moorings.   We found this strange for a bank holiday weekend.

Saturday we moved on down to a 48 hour mooring below the lock although as I walked back with Barnaby today there is a boat that was moored in front of us still there.   Trouble is I have a built in guilty conscience and hate overstaying.   Tomorrow we shall move on towards Banbury where we know most of the moorings are 24 hour so we hope to find somewhere just outside for a few days as I want to go down to London for a night to collect mail from Emma.

Saturday evening we had a good meal in the Red Lion with friends Iain and Christine and daughter Fiona.

The hot weather continues although the forecast is promising a lot of rain overnight.

Total distance:5.97 miles 
Elapsed time:4h8m41s  
Average speed:1.44 mph (3.37 lock/mph

Thursday, 25 May 2017

gently along the summit

Wednesday 24th 

Someone is obviously living quite comfortably here but can never get out on the canal.
We first saw this several years ago and its still here   does anyone know who lives here and how they manage for water etc???
Wednesday was supposed to be the last 3 locks to the summit and then the meandering cruise along the summit to Fenny Compton.  It was one of our an early starts but along the way we were seduced by such a lovely spot just before bridge 130....on top of the world.... so just had to stop and leave Fenny for another day.

Geoff took full advantage, even sitting out in my chair for a short while, something he seldom does.   Please note he is in shorts...that takes a lot.
We were eventually joined by a couple of other boats but they wee not too close and didn`t disturb the fantastic peace,

Total distance:5.43 miles 
Elapsed time:2h37m53s
Average speed:2.06 mph (3.20 lock/mph)

Thursday 25th

Not such an early start today as we wanted to find a space at Fenny and needed people to be on the move.    As forecast it was very hot.   Geoff decided he wanted to walk in as he hadn't made his 10,000 steps yesterday.  He may not have been hot walking (so he said) but I certainly was on the back of the boat.   I had the umbrella to use as a sunshade but that gets a bit unwieldy when trying to negotiate past another boat in a narrow stretch!!

On reaching Fenny there was just one space on the 14 day moorings before bridge.   It is a bit more secluded here than alongside the pub.  However the pub just had to be visited as they do 2 meals for a tenner before 6pm.  We knew from calling in here by car on our way to Petroc that they were extremely good value.    We were not disappointed.   In fact I returned a little later to have a dessert and avail myself of their wifi to watch the last episode of Grantchester which I had missed last Sunday.  

Total distance:2.84 miles 
Elapsed time:1h20m48s 
Average speed:2.11 mph (2.11 lock/mph)

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

and on to Napton

So here we are nearly at the summit of the Oxford canal.  This picture was taken at 1945hrs  with the last of the sunshine.

Yesterday we had a gentle day. A domestic start, watering etc and shopping followed by a short trip out to bridge 100 to a familiar and very peaceful mooring.   This was where Geoff knew we had always had a good TV reception and he was not happy about our new aerials.   I managed a perfect picture on all the main channels with my aerial and he had absolutely nothing.  Much bad language ensued......

We decided to swap the aerials over..  Surprisingly Geoff now had a perfect picture and I had very little....Conclusion.....Faulty aerial you would think but since I was getting some picture I did not think so.   We decided to check all the connections and eventually after a lot of fiddling....and much more bad language (Geoff not me) I had a perfect picture.   So we suspect that there was a fault somewhere in the wiring and maybe our fiddling sorted it...who knows....fingers crossed it lasts.

Today we had our first full length cruising day.....well 4.5 hours.   We needed fuel and I had made some phone calls ahead to check on prices and whether we could declare our own split.
We had already ruled out Braunston Marina  £1.09 and only a 60/40 split.
Napton marina were 1.11 and only a 60/40.   Calcutt Boats was £1.19 and our own split but that involved a slight detour.  Better luck at Wigrams Turn.  They said any split we liked so that was the first stop of the day.

The forecast had been for lots of sunshine and high temperatures but it certainly took a while to get going.  Most of the morning was full cloud and chilly at the back of the boat.   However after the first 6 locks of the Napton flight things had improved and we were lucky enough to find the moorings above the 6th lock empty.   We have since been joined by 2 more boats but it is incredibly peaceful here apart from some quite vociferous birds!

Just 3 more locks tomorrow and then the long meandering stretch of the summit.

Total distance:6.43 miles 
Elapsed time:4h27m48s 
Average speed:1.44 mph (1.66 lock/mph) 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Weekend in Braunston

View from my kitchen window
Friday dawned almost as bad a Wednesday had been so it was another day of snuggling down below....I am getting through my reading material at a rate of knots.

The original plan was to move further in to position ourselves closer to the Gongoozlers Rest for our Saturday cooked breakfast but the weather put paid to that.   Instead we ambled in early on Saturday morning.  

A good breakfast set us up for the day or in my case down for the day.   Cannot shake off my cold and the early start followed by a huge breakfast (Feed a cold...) then the trek up the hill to the village for some shopping, forced me to spend the rest of the day reclining.

Today we went to Braunston church for their Holy Communion at 11....a gentle start to the day.
They have a very lively and fervent lady vicar who is delightful.  

By sheer chance Geoff chose to sit where we found this kneeler.
We stopped for a pint (ginger beer for me!) at the Boat House and were almost swayed by their carvery.  However I had taken some lamb chops out of the freezer and we decided they were more appealing.   I think the Boathouse could be accused of discrimination.   They boldly offer 2 for 1 on all their main courses but they are bumped up prices.....£14 for the carvery....   £7 each if you are a couple which is very reasonable  but if you were on your own that makes it an expensive carvery.

Fridays trip

Total distance:0.98 miles 
Elapsed time:0h33m39s
Average speed:1.75 mph (1.75 lock/mph) 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

After the deluge ...the sunshine

Yesterday has to have been the most dire day we have had cruising for a long while......not that we did any cruising.  We were moored in a lovely spot in the Barby area and for me it was a day of catching up with some work on the computer (Giles accounts!!) in the morning and a delightfully lazy afternoon with crosswords, sudoko, scrabble online and a good book.......

Geoff on the other hand decided to take himself off with Barnaby to walk into Barby.. When he left there was only a little rain so he hoped the forecast would prove incorrect!   By the time they came back they were like two drowned rats......what a pitiful sight.  The rain had set in well and proper and there was no let up all day.

However this morning we awoke to brilliant sunshine so all is right with the world again.
Another short trip, we are getting to Braunston very slowly.   Still trying to sort out a few things on Petroc.   No TV reception from our two new aerials which is driving Geoff suggestion that it must be where we are moored did not meet with a good reception........

I also am convinced I keep getting a whiff of gas smell which of course Geoff cannot sample as he has no sense of smell.  Phoned Rob at Clifton and on his advice Geoff has been round all the joints in the gas locker with washing up liquid but couldn't detect any bubbles.   So is it my imagination?

After a short trip we have moored in another peaceful rural spot.   Cows in the field and the spire of Braunston Church in the distance.    Geoff walked in for the paper to have his exercise for the day.

Another peaceful mooring

Barby Pools marina under construction.
We passed this soon to be entrance soon after our departure
Total distance:1.56 miles 
Elapsed time:0h41m35s 
Average speed:2.24 mph (2.24 lock/mph) 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

......and just a little bit further.

Hillmorton Bottom Lock
Hillmorton Bottom Lock (from the bottom!)
A pleasant weekend at Hillmorton, we still had the car so did some last minute grocery shopping on Saturday.

On Sunday we went to Communion at St John the Baptist  church which proved to a lively service.   They have a vicar and a curate just for the one church, however the vicar did say they were a community of 10,000.  They certainly seem to have a lot going on, something on most days of the week.

This was followed by a late Brunch at Badseys Bistro...had to be done.

Monday morning I called Clifton to advise the non operation of one of the new aerials and they were there within the hour and it now seems to be fixed........a faulty lead apparently. 

Today Geoff drove the car back to Clifton and walked back with Barnaby......umbilical cord cut.
and then we moved on a few more paces....not many.    A gentle trip through the 3 locks and quite lucky with the weather, only a couple of light showers...where has all the sunshine gone?

When Geoff went to do his engine checks this evening he discovered that the new bilge pump is not working, so he had a nice job drying out the engine compartment.   Have texted Clifton again.....
However we are not very accessible where we are at Barby and the forecast for tomorrow is dire.  If it is as bad as they say we shall be staying put.

Total distance:2.96 miles 
Elapsed time:2h08m12s 

Thursday, 11 May 2017

A gentle start to cruising for the year

We have escaped!

We have been back on Petroc for about 10 days, however it was interspersed with a family gathering at the weekend.  In between times we have been trying to sort ourselves out and also to wait for several of the winter jobs to be completed on the good ship Petroc.

Rob at the yard had kindly moved us onto the wharf for ease of access with all the comings and goings.  Our new real winter position is way down the new arm.  Once the pilings are completed and maybe a bit more dredging it will be a lovely spot.  At the moment however Barney and I would not be able to negotiate getting on and off.

The yard is due to be very busy tomorrow on the wharf so we decided to beat a hasty retreat and seek some open country side.   We have found a lovely spot in open countryside where will will stay for the weekend.  We have booked to attend a BCF gathering at the Greyhound on Saturday.  Originally we were going to pass there so it seemed a good idea....however the best laid plans etc.  The skipper has decided that instead of going north to the Llangollen to start we will venture down the Oxford......there is even talk of going onto the Thames....we shall see.

We had various jobs done on Petroc before venturing out including having two aerials fitted at either end for TV.   The front one for the main TV appears to work fine but the rear one for my TV gets absolutely nothing........identical aerials.....very disappointing.   Geoff is not a happy bear.  Further trials tomorrow.

Total distance:1.20 miles 
Elapsed time:0h35m34s 
Average speed:2.02 mph (2.02 lock/mph)