Summer Cruise – Day 50

Monday 27th July – Day 49

Aubreys Lift Bridge

Our Sainsbury’s delivery driver found us without any trouble last evening and a local boater was intrigued to know how we had arranged it.
We later walked down to the bridge and saw Gilly, one of my ‘old’ (or should I say erstwhile) colleagues also Steve who’s other-half Marrianne used to run the nearby Annie’s Tea Room.

 

 

Well, I’ve been buying toys again, our internet router was a bit unreliable and so one was purchased from eBay & delivered to Argos in Sainsbury’ at Kidlington. I walked up to the main road and caught the S4 bus there and back. The rest of the evening was spent setting it up!

Tuesday 28th July – Day 50

This morning Joy spotted a boat had moved off of the 7-day moorings so we reversed back there tout suite and slotted into that space, hampered only by a hire-boater who seemed unable to grasp what we were trying to do and kept coming towards us.

Our ‘new neighbour’ kindly helped to pull us in and we are now moored in the sunshine enjoying a better phone and internet signal next to a tub of lavender, so we will be staying here for a few more days.

I’ve spent time making a new shelf for the router, slightly moved the TV bracket and tidied up the wiring.

 

Summer Cruise – Day 48

Saturday 25th July – Day 47

We had intended to stay in Heyford today as rain had been forecast all day, however, there seemed to be a ‘window of opportunity’ this morning until noon. We (I) decided to move off and within 100 yards incurred Joy’s wrath as it started to spot with rain!

We passed nb Twisted Compromise and stopped to talk to Alex for a few minutes before passing all the other permanent moored boats here. Then it was down through ‘The Cleaves’,  Dashwood`s & Northbrook Locks, shortly a familiar boat came into view, it was nb Bones so once more we stopped alongside for a chat with the eponymous Bones and had several years of news to catch up with!
A couple more boats away and there was nb Pootle, so naturally another stop to hear Adrian’s news too; will we ever reach our destination?

Caravan Lift Bridge 2015

By this time the sun was out and my disgrace was lifted, past Kirtlington Quarry, Pigeon’s Lock and  Caravan Lift Bridge, though sadly all traces of the caravan and bridge have now disappeared you could just see the wheels & axles in 2015 -It was a shepherd’s van actually, you can see a picture from 1976 on CanalPlanAc)

A little further and Jane’s Enchanted Tea Garden peeped through the trees, we really have to pass through  when they are open one day! Past Enslow Marina and under the railway bridge and we found a mooring spot nearly opposite the closed down Rock of Gibraltar Pub, such a shame, we used to enjoy stopping there.

It was one o’clock when we tied up and the rain started immediately. My plan was justified! Not so good however for Jock & Katie with Dusty the Coalboat who came along and cheerfully topped us up with diesel in the rain.

We spent a quiet night managing to get TV and some sort of Internet/phone signal.

Sunday 26th July – Day 48

Georges Bar & Bistro

We were away soon after 9 am and passed Georges Bar (moored between the two bridges) negotiated the boats on the permanent moorings and down Baker’s Lock onto the River Cherwell.

I always enjoy swooping around the bends on this river section and soon were at Shipton Weir Lock, another of those odd diamond ones like the one at Aynho.

Down through Shipton and into Thrupp, Joy worked the electric lift bridge and we found most of the 48 hour moorings free so we tied up near The Boat Inn, ready to receive our Sainsburys delivery this evening.

Summer Cruise – Day 46

Wednesday 22nd July – Day 44

It turns out to be a good mooring spot here above Allen’s Lock, Upper Heyford, not only do we have a good TV signal, but we are further from the railway line than Lower Heyford. We have an open field on one side which has a footpath through it causing us to scratch our heads, to begin with when we heard apparently disembodied voices from behind the trees.

We are right next to the lock mooring which keeps us entertained with a stream of boats through the day. We saw our friends Toni & Chris again today as they were visiting our neighbours Ruth & Barry.

Thursday 23rd July – Day 45

Today I’ve been experimenting with some photography and had some quite pleasing results while Joy has had her regular on-line art lesson.

Friday 24th July – Day 46

Mill Lift Bridge 2020

This morning we travelled a whole mile and a half, we dropped down Allen’s Lock just after 10am and through the electrically operated Mill Lift Bridge at 10:40.

 

Mill Lift Bridge 2009

It’s curious that this bridge needed to be electrified (apart fro making it easier for single-handers) because back in 2009 it was so easy to operate that my 6 year old grandson could lift it, so over the years what has changed?

 

 

Oxfordshire Narrowboats Fleet

A brief stop opposite the church to reconnoitre, and, yes, there were moorings further on, next to the water point so we passed Oxfordshire Narrowboats’ boats which had been returned this morning and were being prepared for a new set of customers.

We bagged the nearest mooring and before I could tie up Anita from one of the houses opposite called across to welcome us.  (We’ll have to behave here as we know the occupants of ALL the four houses opposite)

Later we walked up the road to visit our friend Emily and have a cup of tea in their garden. A phone call alerted us that our personal shoppers (Ruth & Barry) had arrived with some groceries.  On the way back we popped into Oxfordshire Narrowboats and said a quick hello to David (the owner) and Phil (the manager) before leaving them to ready their boats.

There was a queue for the very slow water point so we left it until after tea to start our fillup.
We hadn’t got much in when a motor & butty came along so we let them fill up first.

Last night’s mooring being peaceful, tonight’s was right next to the railway line and some trains really shook the boat, it quietened down after 11 pm and wasn’t too bad.

 

 

Summer Cruise – Day 43

Sunday 19th July – Day 41

This morning we left the Pig Place just after 10:00 am saying our farewells to Tim & Annie, it would have been a little earlier except two hireboats came racing past which in turn pulled out the mooring pins of another hireboat which started drifting towards us, the occupants being blissfully unaware; until our combined tooting & shouting alerted them! Were they still in bed?

Just two locks today, Nell Bridge & Aynho Weir Lock, where on our first hire voyage we got stuck on the weir due to the high flow on the river. No such problem today as the video proves.

About an hour & twenty minutes later we were at Aynho Wharf and found a mooring immediately opposite.

We contacted our friends, Toni & Chris, from Somerton to arrange a visit, which happened very quickly as they joined us for a meal that evening for a (mostly) vegetable risotto, just a little bacon for flavour.

Monday 20th July – Day 42

We had booked a ‘pump out’ for 10:30 this morning and as soon as I heard the sound of the lawn-tractor towing the poo bowser I pushed across the canal and got the job done also purchasing a cornetto for Joy and a bag of frozen peas.

The rest of the day was spent with jigsaws for Joy and accordion practice for me, Radio 4 Extra has been entertaining us with lunchtime drama series and has become unmissable.

We could have moved on… but we have our first grocery delivery from Iceland tomorrow morning.

Tuesday 21st July – Day 43

Up and ready at 8 am but grocery delivery not due until 10 am at the earliest, so I indulged myself by cooking bacon & eggs.

The boat behind us seemed to have moved off without us noticing, but we were soon joined by another, a small trad, nb Iron, with a Russell Newbery engine, this is the type of engine used in narrowboats in the 1930s & 40s (Also built under licence by The National Oil Engine Company). Indeed the Russell Newbery company has existed since 1909 and a new engine I was told, would set you back a cool £25,000!

We received a text saying our delivery would be between 10:28 & 10:48 so we moved over to the wharf and filled with diesel & water, just on cue the Iceland driver phoned for directions. He wasn’t sure where Aynho Wharf was, but all became clear on mentioning it was next to The Great Western pub!

Our shopping safely arrived we were joined alongside by another boat, nb Byfield, who needed a pump-out,  nb Iron wanted water and yet another wanted gas.

Fortunately, we were soon filled with water and by 11:30 extracted ourselves from the melee and squeezed under the low Aynho Bridge scraping the solar panels in the process, three-quarters of an hour later we found ourselves at Joy’s nemesis, Somerton Deep Lock, fortunately, we had help from the crew of a boat coming up, in fact, there was a queue waiting.

We went on our merry way, stopping for lunch at Somerton Meadows and there we would have dallied had we not arranged to meet up with Ruth & Barry on nb Celandine at Allen’s Lock. So onwards to Heyford Common Lock which we found the top gate leaking so much it was hard to open the bottom gate. I was assisted by the steerer of the boat we had seen earlier buying gas.

Fifteen minutes later we were tied up just above Allen’s Lock next to Ruth & Barry. We enjoyed coffee and cake together and a good chat before they had to go home.

Now any of you who know the Heyfords will appreciate the mobile phone signal is abysmal, Joy was fine with GiffGaff on the O2 network, but my phone & our router are on EE’s network and we had zilch! Fortunately, I had a new GiffGaff SIM to hand and managed to activate it in my phone so now we can make calls & use it as a WiFi Hotspot.

A slideshow of today’s countryside

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The often mentioned electric bike

After all that excitement we didn’t feel like cooking a meal, but I had heard that The Barley Mow was doing takeaways so out came the bike and I trundled up the hill to get our tea.

Sonia cooked it while I waited and enjoyed my first pint in a pub in months, Fullers Seafarers ale and jolly good it was too.
The pub wasn’t busy, but I still saw folk I knew from working at the boatyard all that time ago.

Back down to the boat I sped and soon we were enjoying fish & chips for Joy and a homemade steak & stilton pie & chips for me. The food was absolutely first class and much appreciated.

Summer Cruise – Day 40

Monday 13th July – Day 35

The day started with a bus ride to Sainsbury’s to collect my mouse from Argos. When I returned we cast off and headed through the lift bridge which Joy was winding up when Mark, who used to operate Dusty the coalboat appeared and lent a hand, down through Banbury Lock and on to Tramway where we used to have a mooring. There was precious little space but a kind boater moved his boat to make room for us. Within a few minutes, we had seen four of our friends who moor here.

This morning I forgot to take the faulty mouse back to Argos for a refund, so I got the bike out and found the back tyre flat again so I fitted the new tyre & tube before tackling the uphill climb to Argos. The bike managed it well with some pedal assistance on the steepest bit and coming back I had to use the brakes to stop being too scared at an indicated speed of 35 kph (22 mph).

We quickly settled in and later I walked over to Morrisons for a few bits and to collect a package from the Amazon lockers.

Tuesday 14th July – Day 36

I visited Halfords (by bike) & bought a new security lock for the bike and some ‘Green Slime’ to put in the tyres to try and stop getting more flats.

Later Joy and I walked over to Morrisons for more shopping returning with a full backpack plus an extra carrier bag.

This afternoon we had a socially distanced catch up with Joy’s friend Sandra from the Artery Art Classes.

Wednesday 15th July – Day 37

This morning was spent upgrading my laptop’s Linux operating system, I now have Linux Mint 20  “Ulyana” and what’s more, it’s still working.

Joy prepared a mousaka ready for tomorrow and this afternoon we spent time with our friend Jill catching up on all the local gossip news.

Thursday 16th July – Day 38

We found we were running low on water this morning and coincidentally a mooring became free right next to our old mooring where there is, of course, a tap.

So we made a dash for it somewhat to the bewilderment of Paul who was just coming to see me with a gift of Brasso, was he trying to say that some polishing was needed? We got our fill of water and pruned a few tree branches, with Paul’s help to enable our TV aerial to be set-up.

The ‘patio’ at our old mooring is looking a bit forlorn as the current tenants only visit occasionally. The legend that is Paul returned later with other gifts including window cleaner & teabags!

Thursday afternoon meant Art Class for Joy and Accordion practice for me, I hope it didn’t scare the moorhens too much.

I also did some window cleaning and filled the bike tyres with  the slime.

For tea, it was Joy’s delicious homemade mousaka which she prepared yesterday.

Friday 17th July – Day 39

This morning started with domestic chores, up to the service area with the rubbish and get milk from Morrisons (or was it the other way round?)

At lunchtime, we got a taxi up to Banbury and visited the Art Shop again, and coincidentally bumped into Jacqui, who works there, in town. Joy bought a couple of new jigsaws at The Works and I went into Wilco for some cable clips & came out with a bike basket too! Unfortunately, it didn’t fit my bike so I had to return it.

Later, our friend Jill invited us for a meal and we spent a pleasant evening with her enjoying the fresh air and a lovely meal in the front deck of her boat.

Saturday 18th July – Day 40

We slipped away from our mooring at 9 am and soon descended Grant’s Lock where we were dismayed to the lock cottage boarded up, empty and vandalised, such a shame as it was occupied and quite nice last time we passed it, two years ago.

Kings Sutton Lock Cottage

Kings Sutton lock cottage, on the other hand, was looking very good with hanging baskets flourishing, obviously still a work-in-progress as the old outbuildings were brimming with builders equipment.

Under the M40 bridge and we were on our way to the overnight mooring we had booked at ‘The Pig Place’, we were greeted by our ‘old’ friends Tim and Annie. Oh luxury, electrical hook up again!

The reason for this, was my nephew Rowland and family were visiting from Denmark and as it was eight years since we last saw them were pleased to arrange a get together. Jeremy, Louise, Morley & Iona were also part of the plan and arrived in time for a late lunch at The Pig Place’s outdoor cafe & bar.

Socially Distanced Seating at The Pig Place

Rowland, Jeannette, Cornelia, Thomas, their friend Julio, not forgetting Cookie their Jack Russell arrived from London at 3:30 for an even later lunch and we spent an all-too-brief three and a bit hours catching up with news and introductions (as the younger ones hadn’t met each other before) We even had a video chat with my brother Jim (Rowland’s dad) in Spain. It was all quite interesting with a mixture of languages to be heard, Jeannette & Julio are Columbian and Cornelia & Thomas (aka Coco & Toto) are bi-lingual so Spanish was in evidence but thankfully they all speak English very fluently although Coco & Toto have a bit of an American accent!

After Rowland & Co. had departed we sent Jer & Louise off to collect a Chinese takeaway before they had to head back to Birmingham.

A week of birthdays coming up with Morley turning 17 and Coco & Toto are both ten, well they would be, they’re twins!

 

Summer Cruise – Day 34

Saturday 11th July – Day 33

Another trip to the village stores this morning before we left Cropredy and started the trip down to Banbury, just three locks today.

We have already started to see familiar boats and people; before we left we spoke to Jane on the mooring opposite and just out of Cropredy we spotted Jan & Ed on their mooring who waved frantically.

On the same moorings is an old wooden boat which has been there for years, but it has gained a companion, a tiny steel narrowboat alongside.

On the outskirts of Banbury even more industrial development was underway on what I believe is the old Alcan aluminium factory site. Malc & Dinky were in their garden and gave us a cheery wave as we ran parallel to Southam Road. The ‘Donkey Field’ next to them is up for sale with canal frontage but I couldn’t find the asking price on the agent’s website.

Along the Spiceball Park moorings we saw more familiar boats and although warned about the Castle Quay development, we were still surprised at the scale of the building work.

Never-the-less, we found a mooring outside the GF Club’s ‘Waterside Bar’ as it has been re-named. Mercifully, being Saturday, the building work finished at lunchtime.

Later we walked over the town, Joy visited The Artery (art shop), we bought fruit and veg at the market and chatted to Maffi & Susan who’s boat is moored at Tooley’s Boatyard.

We treated ourselves to a Takeaway this evening from K2, a new place to us, my favourite, Lamb Pasanda was… different, very mild and quite pale compared to the normal orange colour, but quite nice all the same.

Sunday 12th July – Day 34

A quiet day, except for our neighbour starting his engine at 7:30 am, running it for most of the morning to do his washing which he then hung out on lines between the trees outside the club!

We ‘did’ online church again and in the afternoon Ruth & Barry passed on their boat Celandine & chatted for a while.

Tomorrow I have to pick up a new mouse from Argos as the one I bought only a few months ago has gone faulty, then we shall try to find a 14-day mooring at ‘Tramway’ and catch up with even more friends, so if you’re not too far away feel free to contact us about a visit.

 

Summer Cruise – Day 32

Wednesday 8th July – Day 30

This morning I whizzed down to the Co-op to get some provisions, while Joy made a cake as the main event today was a visit from Joy’s niece Chris who popped in for a ‘socially distanced’ coffee. She came bearing a gift of a lovely jar of homemade gooseberry jam.
Yes! We did find a lighter mooring, next to the (closed) pub garden and waterpoints.

I really think the darkness of these moorings will deter boats stopping at the pub. I met the landlord and mentioned it, he said it was C&RT’s responsibility, but he hoped to open next week when more hire boats were about. I hope it works out for him.

In the afternoon we fired up the generator & did a couple of loads of washing, and got it on the line before the rain came.

Thursday 9th July – Day 31

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Yay! An even better mooring became available this morning, with loads of sky, where we could stay for 2 weeks if we wanted to and it’s opposite an ‘End of Garden/Field’ mooring which we would love complete with sheep!

Joy had her on-line art class this afternoon, a dark sky with the moon and hot-air balloons. The rain persisted down for all the afternoon and evening, good job we hadn’t planned to move.

Friday 10th July – Day 32

Hooray! A sunny morning so we were up and away soon after nine as we wanted to call at Fenny Compton Marina for gas, I’d checked prices the previous day and at Cropredy Marina, it was £35.50 which is apparently Calor’s recommended price! At Fenny, it was £32.50 which was a bit better, back at our marina it was £28.50 last month. I thought petrol & gas prices were falling?

Enough whinging, it was a lovely day and we headed through Fenny Compton ‘Tunnel’. You know you’re on the South Oxford when you see Boundry Lift Bridge (header photo). Before 11:00 we were passing our one-time mooring at Claydon. A lady opened her boat window and (politely) asked us not to take photos (???) I explained we used to moor there but I have no idea why she objected, however, I won’t publish the photo as she asked nicely.

Soon after we were starting the Claydon Five (locks) and to our surprise, there was a C&RT volunteer on duty, who has a nice little base at the middle lock.

Four more locks and we were at Cropredy, a new canalside house has been built since we were last this way (just advertised as a building plot then). At the services, we stopped for water and there was a 48 hour mooring waiting for us almost opposite, between the C&RT workboat mooring and the permanent moorings. Excellent!

I popped over to the village stores for fruit, veg and an icecream each. Joy prepared us lunch, a salad topped with black pudding and a poached egg, been watching too much Masterchef!

That will do for today, 6 miles 4½hours  & 9 Locks.

Summer Cruise – Day 29

Sunday 5th July – Day 27

We left this morning at 8:00am (yes you read it right) and were at Hilmorton Locks just after 9 and motoring away from the top lock  40 minutes later.

Past Clifton Wharf and under the new Houlton Bridge (serving the new Houlton housing development) I think Brutalist might be the school of architecture.
We passed Hillmorton Wharf Marina from where we started our first hire-boat holiday in 1983, then along the Barby Straight, and moored near Barby Wood Bridge to watch the Sunday Service from Rising Brook Church.

Midday saw us on the move again with sandwiches on the go and the wind blowing a hooley.  At the new(ish)  Dunchurch Pools Marina it was blowing across the marina and did it’s best to push us into the off-side bank!

By 1:30 pm we tied up at Braunston Visitor moorings near the A45 bridge. TV reception was non-existent, but there was just enough internet to watch Shirley Valentine on YouTube, amazing to think that was released over 30 years ago.

Monday 6th July – Day 28

After a breakfast of bacon, egg and mushroom to fortify us for the day, at half-past nine, we crept carefully under the London Road Bridge and took a right turn at, um, Braunston Turn.

Immediately we started to emerge we spotted Jules Fuels coming along with a motor and butty so hurriedly had to reverse to allow them to turn the other way.

We travelled past the wonderfully named Braunston Puddle Banks, Wolfhamcote, Lower Shuckburgh, past  Napton Junction to the bottom of Napton Locks; taking the obligatory photo of Napton Windmill (see header), all the while debating whether to stop for lunch before the locks as it kept spotting with rain.

In the end, we started up the nine locks at 12:30 with sheep and buffalo (yes, really, they’re famous around here) in the fields alongside, mooring above Adkins Lock at 2:30 leaving the final two locks for tomorrow.

Tuesday 7th July – Day 29

 

Today’s journey

This morning we were away at a quarter to nine, both locks were against us as another boat left before us, but it was easy enough and we were soon on our way across the twist and turns of the summit level. All was going swimmingly, despite the low water level, until we rounded a corner and a boat was just pulling out and we, plus three hire boats, followed it at tickover for the next hour and a half until they moored near Wormleighton Radio Mast.

 

We passed Hill Farm Glamping with it’s wood-fired hot tub, and less attractively spoil heaps concerned with HS2

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We arrived at Fenny Compton Wharf by 12:50 pm and found plenty of room to moor, unfortunately, the hedgerows have been neglected and they have grown so high it’s very dark here at the moment, maybe we can find a brighter spot later.

Summer Cruise – Day 26

Friday 3rd July – Day 25

The best-laid plans, etc. An early start was planned, but the weather was in an indecisive mood, so it was delayed until 10:30 ish when it decided not to rain too much. Off we went and soon were at the outskirts of Nuneaton, not our favourite town to boat through, as it always looks so down-at-heel. It’s a shame because there are lots of allotments & public land next to the canal which looks so neglected on the plus side some householders make an effort to make their gardens look nice.

Just past the chicane of moored boats at Boot Wharf we stopped to let a faster boat past and clear the propeller of rubish that had wrapped itself around it.

Off we went for another hour when the rain properly started to come down so we tied up just short of Charity Dock and had lunch, a concoction of hard-boiled egg with noodles & black pepper sauce, it should have been curry sauce but I got my packets muddled up! I thought it was fine, but Joy wasn’t so sure.

We got going again at 2pm and took the obligatory photos of the crazy stuff at Charity Dock, just another hour took us to Hawkesbury Junction where we squeezed into a mooring right opposite the Old Engine House.

 

Hawkesbury Engine House

I crossed over the footbridge & found my way to the convenience store for milk, bread & cake.

Sausage, mash, carrots & peas with onion gravy for tea and an early night as I was falling asleep in front of the telly.

Saturday 4th July – Day 26 – Onto The Oxford

Up and away by half-past nine, after walking to look for the rubbish bins twice, I swear they used to be in a compound but our neighbour, with a little wooden cruiser, told me they are inside the facilities building! So under the junction bridge we went, negotiated the 360-degree turn perfectly, past the Greyhound Inn who were preparing to reopen later today and through the stop lock, something of about a foot rise and we were on The Oxford Canal.

We passed another boat who was also leaving, past the electricity substation from which pylons radiate in all directions (there was a power station hereabouts in the past) past the Wyken Colliery Arm (now home to the Coventry Canal Society’s Moorings) and on to Ansty where we met Rick on Auriga the fuel boat once again.

The going seemed to get slow after that but we soldiered on until we just had to pull in and see what was the matter. What was the matter? An Aldi ‘bag for life’ was wrapped around the prop along with other detritus including the remains of a rather heavy-duty bra!

Spotted our first hire boat

The boat who had been following us for several hours stopped to see if we were OK then went on ahead, we followed on making much better progress with all that removed. We soon arrived at Rose Narrowboat’s Swing Footbridge and thereafter had an uneventful journey, starting to meet a lot of hire-boats and leisure boaters who have had the green light to start cruising today.

Newbold Tunnel

Through the Newbold Tunnel and we arrived at Rugby Visitor Moorings at just about 3 pm and met our travelling companions once more. After tieing up I walked down to Tescos for some shopping, my goodness that slope up to the road feels even steeper with a backpack full of shopping, or is it just Anno Domini catching up?

Summer Cruise – Day 24

Sunday 28th June – Day 20

Another day at Grendon, the weather wasn’t promising and of course, we had to wait for the tyre delivery tomorrow.

More on-line church today, this week we sampled Rising Brook Community Church, which is Stafford based but has several other centres.

In the afternoon we had a visit from our ex-neighbours Deborah & Jon who live in the house adjacent to the mooring we had here.
It was good to hear their news and later in the evening, they dropped off a bag of cherries,  picked from the tree in their garden. They were delicious and we enjoyed them fresh and in a crumble later.

Monday 29th June – Day 21

Waited all morning and no sign of the tyres, so after several phone calls to the supplier, they eventually admitted that they hadn’t been dispatched on Friday due to a mix up with the address.
We eventually got a tracking number from them, but a day had been wasted.

Better news was that while phoning Leigh and Malc, they volunteered to come and help us do the Atherstone Locks tomorrow, what good friends they are!

Tuesday 30th June – Day 22

The courier’s website showed they had our parcel but the delivery was not scheduled until 1:45-3:45! Our friends arrived at 10:30 and we were able to go and get some shopping from Aldi, but on our return, we decided to leave, as Deborah had volunteered to take in our delivery.

We made good progress up the locks with Leigh, Malc & the dogs walking ahead and setting the locks for us although there was drama at the bottom lock. A duck and ducklings swam in, in front of us, mother duck promptly abandoned her babies and we had to fill the lock very slowly keeping the boat against the bottom gates while Mumma Duck quacked frantically. All was achieved with no squashed ducklings.

Halfway up we had a call from the courier to ask where we were, fortunately, he met one of the other moorers and he took custody of the goods. Joy kept us all going with sandwiches as well as steering the boat through the locks.

Lock Crew Recovery

At the top lock, some volunteers appeared and ran some water down as some of the pounds were very short of water indeed.
We found a mooring and while Leigh & Malc were revived with coffee and cake, I jumped on my bike and cycled back down the locks and retrieved my parcel & Malc’s van.

We took our leave of our friends and in the evening ordered a takeaway from the Raj Mahal as we were too weary to cook!

Wednesday 1st July – Day 23

It was a wet Wednesday, so we hunkered down and prepared to move off on Thursday, but… about 3pm the weather changed and we set off, we passed Hartshill Maintenance Yard and the new Marina being built. We were headed for Springwood Haven where we wanted to get a pump-out but they had just closed when we arrived so we tied up and spent the night there.

Thursday 2nd July – Day 24

As soon as the marina opened we got our ‘pump out’ done and moved through the bridge to moor where the light was better, important for artists don’t you know. It being Thursday Joy had her on-line art class with Barry this afternoon.

We had a video call with our friends Esther & Jos and were introduced to their son Yarrow who is now four months old, seems no time at all since we met his mum when she was little more than a toddler.

The weather was changeable throughout the day ranging from sunshine to torrential rain.