Monday, 8 February 2010

Monday Napton to Claydon Bottom Lock

The day didn't start well, Before we were up I could hear the wind blowing and when I opened the rear doors it hit me, Diana opened the front doors to come in with magic and the through draft caused a back draft in the Dickinson that in turn caused it to go out.I threw a match into the stove full of hot diesel vapour and was reward with a satisfying whoosh as it relit. I had been in the process of lighting the back cabin  stove and that had also decided to go out, well not quite out as some of the edges of the coal were smoldering so I couldn't relay it, what I did was to place a burning fire lighter in the ash pan and slide it under the coals. This worked a treat and the flames made their way up through the smoldering coals increasing the head and inducing a but of draught. The result was a nice warm fire.
In the meantime it had started to snow, that very fine, powdery snow that gets in everywhere.Just on 10 am and we pushed off, Marston Doles bottom lock was empty as was the pound above it. When I say empty it was a good 2' 6" down and we couldn't get over the cill, so I had to walk up to the top lock, draw all 4 paddles and then walk back to close up behind Diana when she was finally free, walk back to the top lock, close the top paddles and set the lock for her to come in. We needed to stop at the water point to top the tank up,we were only about a quarter down but it was slow slow we still had plenty of time to sit down in the warm and have a coffee.By the time we set off it was snowing proper snow,big white flakes of it but the wind had dropped, the back cabin stove was warm and with the rear doors shut steering was quite pleasant. Going round Wormleighton Bends it was nice to see that the old wooden footbridge has been replaced, it now has a steel span that has been clad with timber to make it look like a wooden bridge and the end supports are wood, so I suppose its as good as we could expect, I wouldn't want to source a piece of timber long enough to make the span.
As usual we had lunch on the move,home made soup, fresh bread etc. what could be finer. There were several spaces on the Fenny visitor mooring but two of them were right in front of the boat we moored behind last time we came this way, he was still in the same spot and still had his generator running. It was also surprising to see the spaces on the long term moorings, I find it hard to believe they are all out cruising in this weather and I have not noticed that many up for auction. You don't think BW would be rationing them to keep the price up, they wouldn't do that sort of thing ,would they?  We pushed on to Claydon Locks which were all against us so every one had to be filled before we could enter, I was locking and Diana steering and having to hover while I set each one. We decided to moor at the bottom as its a nice stretch of piled towing path and it was 3-30 pm.the next decent bit of mooring would be Cropredy and it would probably take us an hour or more to get that far.

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