Stuck in Banbury

July 31, 2009

Well could we organise a piss up in a brewery? No we couldn’t. We thought that we would walk down and see what time Sovereign Boat Yard opened tomorrow, well they don’t; they are only open on Mondays to Thursdays so we are stuck here until Monday. Its no big deal but as we have now decided to stay at Cropredy we really need to get some diesel in the next day or two, otherwise we will be motoring along the old fashioned way by pulling it along the tow path and we haven’t got a horse.

I will take some photos of Banbury tomorrow and Sunday, weather permitting. It is quite nice being moored close by the shops but it can work out expensive, as I believe that every time we have gone out we have ended up buying something. Today I ordered some prescription reading glasses from vision express, only to find out that Boots are doing a third off for the over sixties. I must draw up a list of places with over sixty offers.

Statistics so far:-

753.52 Miles, 535 Locks, 47 Swing Bridges, 45 Lift Bridges, 6 Tunnels.

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Banbury

July 30, 2009

An early start this morning, well we thought it might be better to move along before the rain came. And a pleasant morning it was too.

Lift Bridge

Lift Bridge

View from Grant's Lock

View from Grant's Lock

We filled up with water just below the lock in Banbury and we are now moored up in the centre of town. There is a band on at The Mill on Friday night so we will stay here for that before pressing on to Cropredy.

We will need to get some diesel as we have not had any since we left Rickmansworth about two months ago. I have just realised that we can last on a tank full of diesel in between oil and filter changes, in the summer at any rate.

I haven’t worked since we were last here in February, that seems like a life time ago.

Today we did 3.07 miles 2 Locks and 6 Lift Bridges

Statistics so far:-

753.52 Miles, 535 Locks, 47 Swing Bridges, 45 Lift Bridges, 6 Tunnels.


Kings Sutton Lock

July 29, 2009

We could have had an early start today, a boat did go by at six thirty but we got up and read and I played a bit of piano and then another couple of boats went by so we thought we had better get a move on, by this time it was nine thirty. There was no rain but we could see that we were going to have a slow start as we had to queue at the first Lock.

Cottage at Somerton Lock

Cottage at Somerton Lock

View towards Somerton Meadow

View towards Somerton Meadow

We continued on and I saw this lone tree sitting in the meadow, I knew that it was waiting for the rain.

Waiting for the rain

Waiting for the rain

And sure enough it started to rain and continued for the rest of the day. Of course by this time we were starting to get a bit of a backlog at each of the locks, still it was nice to meet up with people and have a chat, even in the persistent rain.

I cannot believe that I did not think of taking a photo of the queuing boats and bedraggled crews, it would have been so good, still there you go I need to get a proper photographers hat on.

As a group we were well pleased when we decided to speed things up by putting two 57 foot boats into the diamond shaped lock at Aynho. Of course when we got to the next lock we realised that we had just moved the problem on, but it had cheered us up for a while. By the time we got to Kings Sutton Lock we decided that we had had enough, I for one was soaked to the skin and so that is where we have moored up.

Today we did 6.18 miles 4 Locks and 6 Lift Bridges

Statistics so far:-

750.45 Miles, 533 Locks, 47 Swing Bridges, 39 Lift Bridges, 6 Tunnels.


Somerton

July 28, 2009

A long eleven miles today this was due to the amount of traffic travelling up and down the Oxford. We had to queue at each of the locks so although we set off at 9:30 we did not get to this mooring until 18:00. Let me see that is 1.33 miles an hour actually that is not as bad as I thought.

The casserole in the Dream Pot turned out very nice, we had it with macaroni and parmesan cheese.

We are moored up next to a field full of cattle and the view from the hatch is very tranquil.

Lazy Days

Lazy Days

Today we did 11.31 miles 7 Locks and 5 Lift Bridges

Statistics so far:-

744.27 Miles, 529 Locks, 47 Swing Bridges, 33 Lift Bridges, 6 Tunnels.


Thrupp

July 27, 2009

We have left the Thames, it always feels sad for some reason and coming on to the Oxford canal it felt so claustrophobic, especially coming through Dukes cut. Once on the canal it seemed that the boat had a mind of its own, gone was the deep water that lies under the boat that you get on the Thames.

Entering Roundham lock I ran aground, I had let the bow move out across the canal in a rather relaxed and careless way only to find the boat aground when I moved off; of course you have no control over the bow from a stationary position. I reversed off but could not get the bow around because of a strong cross wind. Solution, shuffle down the gunwale and throw a rope to the bank for Frances and throw the stern rope to a kind lady from the boat that had pulled up behind and they both pulled me off the side as I moved forward. Who needs a bow thruster, when you have two strong able bodied women to provide the required sideways momentum?

We are now moored up at Thrupp next to Bones and Maffi. I have cooked a Corsican beef stew in the dream pot, we can only sit and wait with our feet up for the outcome. I think that maybe I should have started cooking it about an hour earlier.

Today we did 13.58 miles 7 Locks and 1 swing Bridge

Statistics so far:-

732.96 Miles, 522 Locks, 48 Swing Bridges, 27 Lift Bridges, 6 Tunnels.


Here and back again

July 26, 2009

A visit from our friends Pete and Wendy saw us travelling back up towards Tadpole Bridge and back to the same mooring spot of the last two nights.

Fortunately the promised rain did not materialise until we are safely tucked up on the boat listening to music and relaxing.

We had a very enjoyable day travelling along the Thames with good company and surprisingly there were very few boats moving along, we had put the bikes on to the boat rather than keep them on the rack for going into locks and it turned out to be completely unnecessary.

We did come across a group of swimmers making their way downstream; this did not faze Pete in the least despite coming across them around a tight bend, he expertly manned the tiller for the full length of the trip.

River Swimming Group - Close up

River Swimming Group - Close up

River swimming Group

River swimming Group

We winded just before Tadpole Bridge and returned to Newbridge in time for a meal at The Rose Revived, thanks again Pete and Wendy.

Pete and Wendy

Pete and Wendy

Today we did 11.9 miles and 2 Locks

Statistics so far:-

719.38 Miles, 515 Locks, 47 Swing Bridges, 27 Lift Bridges, 6 Tunnels.


Still Newbridge

July 25, 2009

As the weather had taken an upward turn for the better we decided to do some Geocaching, there were 8 caches very close to us. We did 7 without any trouble and came back to the boat, but then decided to do the final one which was a mile downstream of us, we thought that we would do it before lunch.

We got to the foot bridge that crosses the Thames and Frances says, ‘why don’t we go into Appleton?’ Apparently it was a pretty little village with a pub and a shop. So off we set and half way through the woods the path turns into a quagmire, I managed to get through without to much mud but Frances’ feet looked like hobbit feet by the time we got to dry land. So we had two options press on to Appleton or turn back, we thought that it would be closer going to Appleton and we needed lunch. So on we went only to find that the shop was closed and the pub had stopped serving food. So one pint of IPA and a packet of crisps later we set off to find Northmoor Lock and the Thames path.

Having said this Appleton was a pretty little village

Cottage

Cottage

PIC 3663 cottage

Cottage

Cottage

Cottages

Cottages

By the way the bridge at Newbridge dates from the 13th century, so not that new.

Newbridge Bridge

Newbridge Bridge

So I am now sitting on the boat with my feet up enjoying the late afternoon sunshine.

Current Location

Current Location

Statistics so far:-

707.48 Miles, 513 Locks, 47 Swing Bridges, 27 Lift Bridges, 6 Tunnels.