Saturday, 30 June 2018

Welcome to Thrupp...both unfriendly and friendly

Similar picture to yesterday but just such a lovely spot.
If we weren`t wanting to get as far south as possible before the arrival of next grandchild, I suspect we might have lingered here for a few days in this heat.

Still needs must and onward to Thrupp.  There was no point in an early departure as we needed people to have moved off to make room at Thrupp!  The plan was to see if we could find a space on the 14 day moorings by the church.  Initially we thought our luck was in as there was room for a couple of boats so duly manoeuvred ourselves alongside.  However as we were mooring a lady from the boat just behind came and said if we were mooring please could we keep well away from her as she didn`t like diesel fumes!!!!   We duly obliged.  I then set off to explore in Thrupp itself to see what the possibilities soon as I had departed, said lady came up and asked Geoff how long he would be running the engine for.  He said just until the batteries were topped up....we hadn`t been travelling long..... whereupon she told him that it was very anti social and we should get solar panels fitted!   By this time I had seen there was a space in the centre, albeit in full sun.   I had also found Maffi moored there...knocked on the Milly M to say hello and found him still in his dressing gown.......however it was a much friendlier greeting than the lady backalong.....

Went back and found Geoff already half way there.....the unfriendly natives were too much for him.

Another space had appeared so moored along a bit from Maffi.  Too hot to sit out during the day but the boat was relatively cool down below.

Hitched a lift later on with Susan and Maffi to Sainsburys and now the fridge is full again.
Total distance:1.76 miles Elapsed time:1h31m23s Locks:Bridges:6 Average speed:1.16 mph (1.81 lock/mph) 

Thursday, 28 June 2018

cool layover day in an idyllic spot

Ideal location just below Bakers Lock
Whilst we listened to tales of excessive heat we had positioned ourselves well today.   Just below Bakers Lock where the river Cherwell briefly joins the canal for a while, we had the ideal spot under the trees.   Barney an I were able to sit on on the wide towpath most of the case anyone is wondering where Geoff is.......Football!!

In addition to a cool spot we had good TV reception and miraculously good internet reception.   The only thing lacking (in some eyes!) was an adjacent pub......

Quite a few boats came past during the day in both directions including a large percentage of hire boats.   We are so lucky not to be in a rush.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Cruising in the cool

Or maybe walking in the jungle again!
Thankfully a cool start to the day, contrary to the WX forecast.   Early but slow start as we needed to take on water and the tap at Lower Heyford is definitely not the fastest in the world.   Still we were there so long the shop opened so we were able to get milk and the paper, sadly no eggs.

Barney and I then set off for our early morning perambulation.  Sadly once again it was not the most enjoyable as we had to fight our way through the greenery.   Luckily I always walk with a hiking stick which comes in very useful for beating down nettles.  This is not a good advert for what is supposed to be the Oxford Canal walk.

The pound above Pigeon Lock is obviously very full as it is spilling over into the lock.
Yesterday I emailed Customer Service about the bottom gate at Somerton Deep Lock but have had no response, not even an acknowledgement of my email....might try again today.

Geoff1s bruise coming out well now!
We refuelled at the boat yard just before the Rock of Gibraltar and carried on to the end of the permanent moorings where there was just room for us to moor.   By now the sun was showing its face but luckily after about an hour it went behind the trees.   A rest day has been declared for tomorrow...all these early starts.....however we may move just below Bakers Lock as the tow path there is much wider and far better for those of the crew who like to sit out and watch the world go slowly by......that is Barney and me!

Total distance:5.49 miles
Elapsed time:
4h32m30s  (1.5 hours watering!) Locks:3Bridges:12 
Average speed:1.21 mph (1.87 lock/mph) 

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Trapped in Somerton Deep Lock!!!

After a domestic day on and washing etc.......everyone thinks we are on holiday but chores still have to be done.......we had visitors on Sunday.  Tony and Di arrived in time for coffee and then we drove out to a pub they know and had one of the best Sunday meals we have had recently. 

Monday was a very early start to beat the heat.  Off before 6am and moored by 9.45 in a delightfully shady spot just beyond Ayno Wharf.  We were joined by one other boat but only for a coupe of hours and then we were left in solitary splendour. 

Mondays mooring.
 A gentle mist was rising on the water on Tuesday morning when we set off at 6 am.
 You can just see the remnants.
Barney and I set off to walk to Somerton Deep Lock
The tow paths are still not good,
 this was an example of what Barney and I were coping with.
Geoff setting the lock...all good at this stage.
Still all good as Geoff starts to drop me down

Sill OK...nearly there.

and slowly out........or maybe not.....
Gate refuses to open fully, nothing stuck behind it, so normally I can push past.......not this time.
It took us about 20 minutes to free Petroc with much cursing and ending in a bruised shoulder for Geoff.    He tried letting water through to flush me out whilst I had full throttle but all to know avail.

I then threw Geoff a line and the combination of him pulling, me full throttle, and water behind, we eventually slowly emerged.   However as I emerged, Geoff was by now half way down the steps still with the line, and he missed his footing......or something...and fell into Petroc!  Luckily the bow was there or he would have been in the canal.  Unfortunately I was not quick enough with the camera!

Moored at Lower Heyford but not so lucky with shade today.....although there was one small patch just along from Petroc where I spent a few cooler hours.  This weather is forecast to last into next week so looks like we are in for more early mornings.

Total distance:4.33 miles Elapsed time:3h6m3s
Average speed:1.40 mph (2.36 lock/mph) 

Total distance:5.49 miles Elapsed time:4h32m30sLocks:Bridges:12 
Average speed:1.21 mph (1.87 lock/mph) 

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Lingering in Banbury

Not sure if this is the Mum or the Dad of the family living opposite us
He ..or she...came on a neighbourly visit.
Good visit to London and this mooring spot is ideal for the station.  14 days as well if we want.  However we shall move on Monday.
Geoffrey was not lonely in my absence as his mate Tony and another friend George came to call and I think a few pubs were visited!   They probably did a good job of putting the world to rights.

Whilst I was away Geoff asked me to see if I could find another small kettle for the gas hob as ours had "sprung a leak".    I was unsuccessful but on my return he confessed the real reason for the replacement being required.
He had taken Barney for his late afternoon walk and stopped for a swift one does......when he returned to the boat and opened the back door he was greeted by smoke, went through to the saloon...more smoke.....
He had left the kettle on and it had not only burnt dry but had disintegrated.  I think he had a fair bit of clearing up to do.  The top of our cooker will never be the same again.   However to look on the bright side .....the boat could have burnt down.   I am not sure he is safe to be left again.    I hasten to add this was not the day he had been with his was just after I had left on Wednesday.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

A Rare sighting

Yesterday we had out first sighting of grass cutters.  The hope is that as we progress further south it may not be so jungle like as we walk the towpaths!

Sadly I failed to get a picture.....we may never see any more....

Last night Geoff declined Maffis invitation to meet half way between our boats for a drink as he was watching football!!!   Sad........

However this morning we have moved down below the lock onto the 14 day moorings right behind MillieM and Maffi.   Maffi came out to help us moor .....I therefore had more trouble than I ever do mooring up, which might just have had a little to do with the fact that he was running his engine in gear!!  The wind might have played a part as well. 

Ah well......Coffee on board with Maffi and Susan so equilibrium restored

Total distance:0.99 miles Elapsed time:1h50m14s Locks:1Bridges:9 
Average speed:0.54 mph (1.08 lock/mph
Geoff is now settled nicely for a few days whilst I visit Emma in London.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Jungle walk to Banbury

First visitors whilst we were at Cropredy.. Bones came with a friend, Ruth, to collect some tools which are being shipped out to somewhere in Africa.  She had put out a request for any unwanted items so we now have more storage room.!!  Geoffrey will never miss them as they have rested in the bottom of a locker for 11 years......

Next came Iain and Christine Gillespie with daughter Fiona an we all had an excellent meal at the Brasenose Arms.   They were expected visitors but the next day was Fathers day and although I was expecting the visitors Geoff was as we arrived at the pub for our second visit he had a pleasant surprise.

We had moved down from the moorings at the top of the lock as they are only 24 hours.  We chose what seemed like a quiet time as we needed to water.   Unfortunately someone had just beaten us to it and since it is a very slow tap we waited 3/4 hour!  However we were then lucky to get on the 48 hour mooring just beyond the water point.

Today we thought we would have a leisurely start as it is only 3.5 miles to Banbury so did not set off until 9.30.   Somewhat of a mistake as by then there were at least 5 boats ahead and eventually at least 4 behind......Still it was a nice morning and one just has to go with the to speak....

I walked to the first lock and Geoff walked the rest...Barney did the lot!!
It was not the best walk in the world as this is the state of the towpath in lots of places

We need to stay in Banbury for a week so we have stopped just short of the centre as mooring is restricted to 48 hours further in.   

Total distance:3.54 miles Elapsed time:2h49m50s Locks:Bridges:10 
Average speed:1.18 mph (2.24 lock/mph) 

Friday, 15 June 2018

Not such a wild and woolly day

We left a very peaceful mooring on a bright gentle day
 at a much more reasonable hour than of late!
We didn't want to arrive in Cropredy too early.  We needed to give people chance to vacate mooring spaces!
Barney loves lying in long grass
Luckily for him CRT seem to maintaining their policy of NOT cutting the grass along the towpaths and at the locks.   Not so lucky for those of us who are walking.

I often wonder what the cows are thinking!!! 
Some of them are quite curious as we pass by

Safely moored up we have some smaller visitors
I have learnt not to sit too close to the edge when parent swans are around
There was room for us at the top of Cropredy lock but its only 24 hour stay, so will probably move down below the lock tomorrow.

Total distance:2.07 miles Elapsed time:1h38m49s Locks:4Bridges:5 
Average speed:1.26 mph (3.68 lock/mph) 

Thursday, 14 June 2018

pause at Fenny Compton for very good reason

An excellent early supper on Tuesday at the Wharf Inn.  Provided you order before 6pm you can two of selected meals for £12.......up from £10 last few years but still very good value for money.

Wednesday morning`s call to Leesan was disappointing as their engineer had been delayed a day on the South Coast.  Geoff was not pleased as he does not consider it a priority!   Still it was a nice leisurely day and worth the wait.  Michael was back today and came to see us.  As expected he couldn`t fix it there and then but we had a good chat about our options.   We have to have a modification done to the housing of the cassettes and then the loo has to come out over the winter.  He considers it eminently fixable and is the easiest solution.   Any change of toilet would involve going to a holding tank which we don`t want as that would be even more upheaval....
So thank heaven for the Porta Potti!!!

Add caption
On our way by 10.30 into a very blustery ride.  Originally we thought we would get to Cropredy, but after the first 4 locks of the Claydon Flight we decided to call it a day.   The wind was making it harder work that necessary......
Delightful quiet mooring which will do us nicely .

Total distance:3.65 miles Elapsed time:2h11m34s Locks:4Bridges:9 
Average speed:1.67 mph (3.49 lock/mph) 

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Towpath...what towpath???

Yet another early start on Monday......change in routine required!

A foggy start to the day but it burnt off very quickly.   Just the last lock of the Napton flight and the two at Marston Doles where we found a lockie........very handy as Geoff could get aboard as we left.  Its a sharp bend to get out of the lock, made more complicated when a boat is waiting to come in.

The view from my kitchen window Monday
and looking the other way
We have moored here several times before and it is an idyllic spot.  I set myself up after lunch with chair and table on the towpath only to be forced back indoors after 10 minutes s it was too hot!!!

It was cooler later and I enjoyed the first of the summer Pimms outside.  

Tuesday I was allowed a lie in......9.30 departure today.......not far to go to Fenny Compton and the idea is to arrive after people have left leaving us a choice of mooring spaces....lucky again!

The following pictures show the state of the towpath

Some grass cutting would be great!!!
Total distance:5.46 miles Elapsed time:2h45m51s Locks:3Bridges:10 
Average speed:1.97 mph (3.06 lock/mph) 

Total distance:3.07 miles Elapsed time:1h32m23s Locks:0Bridges:9 
Average speed:1.99 mph (1.99 lock/mph) 
Two days of wiggling round the contours.

Visited Leesan on arrival but the chap who might (or might not!) be able to fix our loo is out on a call all day so I have to ring at 9 tomorrow.   Fingers crossed.....

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Onward to Napton

No Church or pub for Sunday lunch today which is our normal Sunday routine.

 We quietly slid out of our mooring before 7am...sun was shining brightly but it did not last....the clouds soon rolled in.  Still there was no fact there hasn`t been any rain since we arrived at is probably storing it up ready to pounce...

After the junction where we turned south there are a lot of permanent moorings.
 Some of them have fantastic gardens and then there is this.

A gentle meander as we follow the contours round the hill at Napton.

and so to the bottom of the Napton flight.
We were a lot earlier than planned due to our early start so decided to do the first 6 locks in the hope our favourite space would be available just before the 7th lock.

We had not seen a boat all morning until we were nearly at the locks.......and there he was just ahead of us.   However it was a lovely morning, the clouds were showing signs of breaking up again and we weren`t in a rush.  

We were lucky with our mooring, it was free.   A few years ago there used to be a cafe here on a buffalo farm but sadly no longer.  Geoff is feeling deprived of his snacks.   I am not a baker but I make one cake only which we normally partake of during the summer months.  However I have forgotten the one essential ingredient...ALL BRAN!!  So no cake until we reach a supermarket and that wont be before Banbury next weekend.   Still good for the figure and we have lots of fruit on board.

Total distance:8.64 miles 
Elapsed time:4h18m16s
Average speed:2.01 mph (2.24 lock/mph) 

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Long walk for a cooked breakfast

They do a mean breakfast!
With that in front of him you would thin Geoff should smile
It was worth the long walk in.  I use the term long in relation to some peoples eyes it would be a mere stroll.   The round trip for me was just over 3 miles and that is about my limit these days.  Geoff had misread the opening time so when we arrived at 9.30 it had already been open half an hour and was very busy.  No room inside but luckily it was just warm enough to sit outside.
We also bought some new fenders and a spare water pump.  Although we managed to get ours working before we left Clifton, it annoyingly keeps turning itself on which we think may be a precursor to failing altogether.  Geoff`s previous DIY skills have in the past extended to changing a pump very successfully so if the inevitable happens we are hoping he has not lost the touch.

I love the views of the church as we approach Braunston

Wonderful tower
We normally stay over on the Sunday for the church service but reluctantly decided against it this time as we need to be heading south in time for the birth of Emma & Dave`s baby in July.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Slowly en route

Back to life in the slow lane so we are off to a gentle start

Just the 3 gentle locks at Hillmorton today
We decided on an early start as there seemed to be a lot of boats about, so we were off just after 7.30, only to discover that several other people had the same idea!

However with the two locks side by side at Hillmorton it was not a great problem.  

It doesn`t really seem like June weather to me.  Very chilly mornings although the sun made a reluctant appearance later rain so we must be thankful.

First swan family of the year.  Mum and Dad hissed at Barney as we went past!
We have moored well outside Braunston which is a nice spot but a it will be a bit of a hike in for our breakfast at the Gongoozlers Rest tomorrow.

Total distance:6.3 miles 
Elapsed time:2h40m24s 
Average speed:1.68 mph (4.24 lock/mph) 

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

On the water at last

WE have escaped from Cornwall at last......much later than normal.   Back to Petroc yesterday and now trying to get everything sorted so we can cut loose the apron strings tomorrow.   It has been challenging!!
Low batteries when we arrived, eventually traced to dud shore power lead.....
Water wouldn`t flow....eventually obliged when air was blown working, more or less......keeps switching on which is annoying.
Gas was reluctant to flow but eventually came good.
My request to wash and polish the whole boat was interpreted as sides and maybe roof....and no corners were included!   Nor was the cratch or aft cockpit.
Heating wasn`t working which meant no hot water in the morning....

To crown it all Loo is not working and that cant be fixed here so out with the Porta potti.

I did seriously wonder why we do this.......however I suppose after sitting idle for nearly 7 months........

Tomorrow is another day and there is just one job left for the yard to fix,   Part of the pelmets which house the led lighting has fallen down and requires a man with some screws.......that is not Geoff.....
We are on a promise of 9 am tomorrow.......

The heating was eventually fixed by turning on at the main box under the inverter.   We have only had the boat 11 years and didn`t know it was there!  It had been left off after it was serviced!!!

Shop and drop delivered on time so just shopping for fresh things tomorrow and the plan is to set sail....or chug off.

Watch this space.