Saturday 31 July 2010

31 July 2010

Yesterday evening I walked back down the the Thrupp Cruising Club and saw Mike the mooring warden and OK our mooring for just one night,which was all we wanted. The club are very obliging in this respect if all visitor moorings are full and will accommodate you if they can.
After eating early onboard we walked down the towing path to Shipton Church which is adjacent to bridge 220 to watch Helen performing Kate's 1 hour monologue of "Now is the Winter" we then walked back to The Boat where we had a great evening with singing and music in the bar from Tim Howes and friends. Its a long time since I have been in a pub with atmosphere like this.

We woke early this morning with rain coming in the slide, it didn't last long but as we are moored under trees it continued dripping for some time.  Once up and about it was a short walk back to Annie's Tea rooms by the recently electrified lift bridge foe a very nice cup of coffee and to watch the fun at the bridge as boaters tried to work out what to do, both private and hire. Diana picked up a couple of books from the boat club second hand book sales and I spotted Maddie Forth with her boat delivering coal at the wharf.This is Maddie's last coal run before having "Newdigate" converted with a full length steel cabin.
We stayed at Thrupp until 3 pm. having lunch with my daughter and her husband in "The Jolly Boatman" as they came by car they had to pay £1 for car parking, but this is refunded against purchases in the pub, it also means there is room on the car park for customers cars.
It is some while since we visited "The Jolly Boatman" and were please to find that the food and beer were still of the same standard we enjoyed last time.

A few minutes after 3 and we were away heading for Oxford, just prior to Roundham Lock we were overtaken by a canoe from Thrupp, it was quite amusing watching them trying to balance the canoe on its wheeled trolley to portage it round the lock, By the time they had managed it we had arrived at the lock,turned it, got the boat in and were ready to draw the bottom paddles, but we had to wait or we may have washed them away. We next saw them at Drinkwaters Lift Bridge where they were taking a break before returning to Thrupp.

After this we met quite a few boats,most of the Oxford Narrowboats just setting out on their holidays. We passed Dukes Cut and headed on into Oxford looking for somewhere to moor for the night, the first place we could find where we could get anywhere near the edge was just through Aristotle Bridge 240 so we have moored there for the night behind a row of boats at 1830 hrs.

Friday 30 July 2010

Friday 30 July 2010

When we woke this morning we had cows for neighbours, I don't know when they arrived.

We timed our departure well, about 15 minets after another boat left so that when we arrived at Heyford Common Lock the boat in front had just left and as we turned the lock two boats pulled in behind us. Stopping for water at Upper Heyford we saw Maffi had at work polishing the boats ready to go out.

Pigeons look is now very quiet with all the long term moorers having departed.

We had planned to moor just below Bakers Lock on the River Cherwell,a spot that I have always wanted to stop at, but I received a message from Bones saying that Kate saffin had a performance of "Now is the Winter" on this evening at Shipton Church se we decided to carry on to Shipton to moor, but no room, so we carried on to Thrupp, no room, on to the Jolly Sailor and still no room,so we backed up into a space where a long term moorer is out and pulled in there. When I have posted this I will walk back to the club and check its OK, if not,no Kate tonight.

Thursday 29 July 2010

29 July 2010

Last nights mooring was quite good considering how close we were moored to the railway, motorway and town.  Again several boats had passed before we were about.
          Last nights mooring

All week we have been playing leapfrog with a boat called Guelrose and this morning they passed just as we were getting ready to leave, so we waited a bit and then followed them at 9 45 am. Needless to say we caught them up at Grants lock even though I was travelling very slowly.  The next pound was quite long so again I tagged along at a slow pace, mistake, at the next lock there were two more boats ahead of us who had pulled out between us, Guelrose was long gone. We carried on with two boats ahead until we arrived at Nell Bridge where there were 4 and Guelrose was still waiting. It seams that a boat was unable to close the lock gate and had been poking around for an hour without success. When Guelrose arrived they cleared the debris and things started to move again.The boat ahead of us had to be back at Braunston on Sunday, so they winded and went back. By now we had got chatting to the boat behind who were heading to Bath.
As we approached Aynho Weir lock there was only one boat ahead and they had just entered the lock as we reached the lock landing, this is some way back from the lock because the river Cherwell crosses the canal just above the lock and flows over a weir in the towing path, this is crossed by a bridge. If there is any amount of flow on the river this can lead to a tricky cross current just as you go under an accommodation bridge at the head of the lock.
By the time we had turned the lock and entered the boat that was following us were almost here and as there were no boats waiting to come up we decided to wait for them in the lock as due to the shape of the lock it can accommodate two boats with ease so long as they are less than 60 foot.

The walls of the lift bridge as you approach Aynho have now been rebuilt so I expect a new deck will be fitted one day.
DSCF4323 We continued through the double row of moored boats to Somerton Deep lock where again we caught up to the boat ahead. This is a Wyvern Shipping boat that is doing the Thames Ring, I think the crew are Dutch, but needless to say speak better English than what I do.

By now our overnight mooring was close, we planned to stop at Somerton Common and were pleased to see several vacant lengths of piling, we passed a boat moored in the middle of the first section and spotted a frame generator sitting on the back deck so we moored right at the end of this section of piling, since we have been here boats have moored between us so hopefully we will just have the noise of the trains tonight.

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Wednesday 28 July

A very peaceful night last night with much better temperature and humidity range than of late, so we slept very well. Several boats had passed before we surfaced and all the boats around us had moved off.
We set off at 10 am behind a Challenger boat that had moored ahead of us earlier this morning. They had a notice in the window offering a twelfth share (4 weeks) for sale for £5000 but the maintenance charge was £1200 per share, £14,400 per year to maintain a boat?

We were in queues at every lock, with the one before Banbury being the slowest. We stopped at Sovereign Narrowboats to fill with diesel at 1-25 pm. but he was closed for lunch until 2 pm. so we had a sit down and a beer while we waited, at the moment he is charging 70 p lt. for his diesel which is the best price in the area, the only problem is catching him open, closes all day Friday Saturday and Sunday, also at 4 pm for the remaining days. Takes about an hour for dinner, he turned up at twenty past two today and doesn't open until 10 am in the morning.

Once topped up with diesel we moved on to the centre of Banbury to top up with water, again we had to wait while a hire boat filled up, I think there was nearly as much water leaking from the hose connector as passing through it in to his tank. Then it was on a bit further to help keep Morrison's solvent, mooring on the fairly new piling opposite the foundry. As my back is playing up a bit we had to make two visits to the shop, the second for milk and beer. It was almost 5 pm before we were away again so we moored for the night on a short length of piling between the two lift bridges.

See my Google map for our present location.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Tuesday 27 July

It started to rain before we were up this morning,so we didn't hurry ourselves, when it eased we visited the shop at The Wharf Inn to get a few odds and ends. There were quite a few boats on the move and about 1030 we set off, by now the rain had virtually stopped and I didn't need a coat all day.

I had to wait for three boat at Fenny Compton tunnel, one of them was a Canal Club and the steerer asked how I was and then pointed out I didn't recognise him, it was two fellow members of the IWA Ipswich branch. We arrived at the top of the Claydon flight at twenty past twelve and were third in the queue and two pulled in behind us, but we moved on surprisingly quickly. We met a few boats in the flight, but not at every lock.
Just above Cropredy lock we saw Narrowboat "Minervois" moored, we passed them yesterday when they thought they were in danger of sinking with water coming over the floor boards.
The plan was to moor before Cropredy, but once passed Clattercote Wharf we found than any decent mooring was already taken so it was on through Cropredy, the second part of the plan was to fill with water at Cropredy Wharf, but there was one boat on the wharf, the one we had been following down waiting to get onto the water point and one coming the other way waiting for the pair of them to get sorted before filling up, as we still had half a tank we carried on. All visitor moorings were taken in Cropredy and the first bit of decent bank with room for us just prior to Slat Mill Bridge 156 moored behind Narrowboat Ariel which has been moored here for years and looks quite deserted. We are within 2 feet of the bank and hard on the bottom, the level is fluctuating by about 6" as boats enter and leave the pound, so we go from even keel to a fair list to the right.
The canoe club is out in force tonight with a large group of them going by, but with us being on the mud we don't even feel them, canoes normally make the boat move quite a bit for some reason, being light and small you wouldn't expect that.

Monday 26 July 2010

Friday 23 to Monday 26 July

We arrived at the boat on Friday afternoon and moved the boat at least a 100 yards to the other side of the cut where BW have installed some nice new piling, we even winded to face south ready for when we eventually set off. The reason for moving across the cut is that Magic can no longer cross the lock gate and I don't intend to carry him. You may think doing only 100 yards over  a full weekend is easy going, but the weekend was not spend lounging around.
One of the down sides of this nice new piling is that boats now moor opposite the "Engine Arm" which makes it very difficult for longer boats to wind, maybe BW will install some "No Mooring" signs one day

Saturday morning and we headed off in the car to Bourn End where Julian, the Commodore of the Cutweb Internet Boat Club was holding his annual BBQ. Caro did us very proud with sweets, cheese, etc and after the main BBQ Brenda cooked a large Paella on the old washing machine brazier,

After putting the world to rights over a few bottles of beer and some well cooked food we retired to the warmth of a nice wood fire that was still burning fiercely inside the drum of the old washing machine.
To save driving all the way back to Napton Diana and I spent the night at The Water Mill, Bourn End. I booked online and found several prices for the same room,  breakfast was not included and an English breakfast would set you back just over £10 and Continental £6. After the good BBQ from the night before I was quite happy with the Continental. One of the good points about the hotel is that it opens onto the towing path, so it was only a short walk to Julian's complete with dog.

Sunday mooring after breakfast saw us on the road again, heading down to my son's clay shooting ground,The Cotswold Clay Club near Cirencester where we spent the remainder of the day. On our return to the boat we had gained a stowaway in the form of my eldest grandson who will be 5 years old next month and has been dying too spend the night on the boat.


Monday morning and the first task was a trip to Budgens to stock up with some food for the next few days, it was raining so we also had to buy No 1 Grandson a waterproof jacket. Back to the boat saying hello to all the animals at the farm on the way and we were ready for the off, him in his new jacket and brightly coloured lifejacket that I picked up at a boat jumble a few years back. We met boats at both the Marston Doles locks where No 1 assisted Diana with the locks. We needed water before we went any further so we stopped at the tap just above the locks, unfortunately a hire boat also had the same idea and was there just ahead of us, it must have been 45 minutes before his tank was full and we could make a start, once we had three quarters of a tank full we called it a day and moved on. After about an hour we met a boat who warned us that a boat was sinking just round the bend and the crew were attempting to pull it to the towing path before it went down, A short time later we came across the hire boat " Minervois" I called out to ask if the water was coming in the weed hatch to which the lady replied it was coming up through the floor. She said they had rung the owners and they said "Turn the water off, its a fault in the plumbing" but they had turned the water off and it was still coming up. The boat ahead of me pulled in to offer assistance and when we saw them later told me they had moved the bilge pump so it pumped it out.
We  continued onto Fenny Compton where we moored for the night a little after 4-30 pm. and just passed The Wharf. My daughter in law, Claire, arrived to pick up No 1 Grandson a little after 6 pm bringing No 2 with her, so we all had a meal in The Wharf Inn before she headed off home to Gloucestershire.

As luck would have it Mikron Theatre where performing in the Wharf garden so after seeing them safely on their way we spent the rest of the evening being entertained by them. Tomorrow night they are playing at The Boat, Stockton, followed by Hatton on Thursday night. We were treated to a rendition of Peddle Power.