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
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.