Summer Cruise – Day 71

Tuesday 18th August – Day 71

Can you believe it, another week has gone by and we’re still in Banbury, having had our permitted 14 days, it was time to depart.

Jill & Tricky

We have enjoyed our stay here, it was quite like old times, having friends passing by with cups of tea and food shared. Jill’s lurcher Tricky would quite often visit on his own if they were passing.

So today was leaving day and we got as far as the town moorings where I was despatched to buy some watercolour paint from The Artery, on the way back I met Maffi and arranged to have brunch with him at The GF’s club’s Waterside Bar. Joy & Maffi had Ham, Egg and Chips, while I elected to have an All Day Breakfast.

The building work continues noisily creating Castle Quays 2, hopefully, it will be finished on our next visit.

Eventually, we could delay no longer and we set off for Cropredy, leaving all the urban sprawl behind and we met boats at every lock which was a help. Approaching Cropredy we saw Jan & Ed on their boat and arranged a rendezvous later.

By 3pm we were mooring up and for the five minutes I was tying up it poured with rain and stopped as soon as I went inside! Ho Hum.

If Cropredy Festival hadn’t been cancelled this year we would have had no chance of finding a mooring. If you are missing the festival there’s a Radio Oxford program available online.

It’s a lovely spot which will do us well as the weather forecast for tomorrow is wet all day so here we shall remain if that is the case!

Summer Cruise – Day 65

Thursday 6th August – Day 59

I found out today that dipping the end of a live phone charging lead into a glass of lime cordial is not a good idea because it doesn’t work any more. I didn’t do it on purpose, you understand, it just kind of happened while making the bed.

As a consequence, a trip into town was necessitated. I had also been thinking of buying a new bike helmet and needed some Tomorite so thought that a visit to Wilko would procure all three items. Although their website lists all the items they had none in stock, they could not order them in or let me order online for delivery to the shop and so they lost my business. A phone accessories stall in the mall provided the phone lead, Halfords the helmet & Homebase the Tomorite.

Joy had her art class in the afternoon and when it cooled down in the evening we walked over to Morrisons for some shopping.

Friday 7th August – Day 60

I awoke this morning with a strange feeling and on getting out of bed felt that the floor was sloping, it was! The water level was very low and we were aground. Boats were still able to navigate the centre of the canal so I waited for a few boats to come out of Banbury as each one would bring a lock-full of water with them, unfortunately, the ones coming towards Banbury were letting a lock-full out.

Our neighbours managed to get away by mid-morning, but we were still stuck fast so I phoned C&RT and they promised to investigate. By the afternoon I could see that they were ‘running water down’ and I managed to free Wrens-Nest from the lump of silt we were wedged on and moved just a couple of yards and we were floating again.

Joy’s friend from art class, Norma, called by for a chat, Jill & Tricky (the lurcher) popped by on their way back from the shops and we refreshed them with ice cream and a cup of tea, poor Tricky only got water. Later we saw Maffi and Susan walking past and a had a brief chat with them too.

We decided to treat ourselves to a takeaway tonight and ordered from Jools, it was very nice, except my Kashmir Lamb was chicken, which I don’t eat! We had timed our food to be delivered after our Sainsburys delivery but Sainsburys didn’t turn up, on checking… I’d ordered it for Saturday! Another ‘Senior Moment’!!!

Saturday 8th August – Day 61

We have another visitor today, Tricky is staying with us while his mum goes to a birthday party in a yurt.
You can see how impressed he is.

I walked down to B & Q this morning and picked up the ‘Sun Sail’ I had ordered online, is it me or is daft to have the click & collect desk at the back of the store and then still have to queue at the tills to get out even though I paid online?

Now I just have to figure out how to fix it to the boat.

Our Sainsbury’s delivery arrived successfully today.

Sunday 9th August – Day 62

A quiet day today with church online from Rising Brook, Stafford.

This evening Jill came up and shared roast dinner with us.

Monday 10th August – Day 63

I was getting concerned about the remaining capacity in our black waste tank (that’s the toilet waste) following the aborted pump out at Heyford, since we wanted to spend a few more days here in Banbury ‘something had to be done’.

We decided we would cruise on up to Cropredy Marina, stay the night in Cropredy and return the next day.
Do you sense a ‘but’ coming?

We left Tramway moorings around 11 and were at Banbury Lock by half-past, just one boat in the queue and several waiting to come down. We entered the lock, taking the downhill boat’s place and all was well until we wanted to exit the lock, another boat had joined the queue and was attempting to moor but failing miserably and was blocking us from coming out of the lock. The wife pleaded her husband’s lack of experience but refused another boaters offer of help, he then proceeded to reverse out of the way allowing me to get out of the lock but was now blocking access to the lift bridge mooring. Eventually, a kind soul opened the bridge for us and we escaped, but not before I had bumped the bridge with our TV aerial mast!

Our journey up to Cropredy was uneventful (except camping paraphernalia dumped beside Hardwick Lock)  and we even found a shady place near Slat Mill Lock to stop for lunch.

We arrived at the marina just in time for someone else to beat us to the service pontoon. We moored temporarily and in due course got our pump out at their very efficient machine. It was self-service so I was able to make sure it was done to my satisfaction, and all for £16.00.

We left the marina and found a spot to tie up just above Cropredy Lock, where there was enough room to put chairs out in a bit of shade and spent a peaceful night there.

Tuesday 11th August – Day 64

Our plan this morning was an early start to get back to Banbury before it got too hot. Unfortunately, three other boats had the same idea and got the jump on us!

Even so, we were at the first lock by 8:20 where Joy had a coughing fit which wore her out for the rest of the journey. I single-handed the first lock, a boat was coming up the next one which always helps and the crew of a following boat helped me through all the following ones.

We got back to Banbury and moored at Spiceball Park. I biked up to Argos and collected an external aerial for our mobile broadband router.

We were opposite the Fine Lady bread factory which we hoped would quieten down in the evening, no such luck, so I went on a recce and found there was plenty of space at the town so we moved on down and treated ourselves to tea from the chippy.

Later we had a torrential downpour with thunder and lightning which cleared the air.

Wednesday 12th August – Day 65

The builders of the new shopping mall saw to it that we rose early so  I went reconnoitring again on the bike and found a space back at Tramway, so off we went.

Joy had a lunch arranged with some of her Arty friends so we got a taxi up to town and I went to the GF Club’s Waterside Bar for a pint and an All Day Breakfast.

Another hot afternoon, but another thunderstorm has started now which will hopefully cool things down a bit.

Tonight we are expecting another visit from Toni & Chris, if they brave the weather.

Summer Cruise – Day 58

Tuesday  4th August – Day 57

Our cunning plan today was to return to The Pig Place and make use of the electricity supply and use our washing machine, £15 for an overnight mooring including electric compares well to a couple of washes at a laundrette.

Aynho Weir Lock

Before we moved off we had a message from Louise asking if she & Iona could visit as she (Louise) had left her handbag on the boat on the last visit.

 

Just 1½ miles and 2 locks, but there were queues at both locks and the journey took us an hour & forty minutes.

 

Pig Place Selfie

We just had time to get a load of washing on when the girls arrived and we had lunch from the Outdoor Cafe, half-price thanks to Boris’ Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.

We spent a lovely afternoon with them and later revisited the food bar for our tea, so lazy!

Wednesday  5th August – Day 58

Another two locks today on the way to Banbury and since we came down, the dilapidated Grant’s Lock Cottage had suffered an arson attack, so sad to see.

The grass cutting contractors were out in force with two mowers and two strimmers, will the job get done twice as quickly?

Just before one o’clock we pulled alongside our friend Jill’s boat and begged the use of her water-point, to replace all that we’d used doing the wash. We found a mooring near Samuelson Bridge, handy for Morrisons just across the canal.

Jill joined us for an impromptu lunch and later I collected a new tool bag for my bike at Argos and spent the evening modifying the fixings to suit my bike. Jill came past again later and had a go on the DYU which judging from the video she thoroughly enjoyed.

We plan to stay here for a few days and do some shopping and jobs on the boat. Oh, and seeing more friends, no doubt.

 

Summer Cruise – Day 56

Sunday 2nd August – Day 55

After waiting for a suitable moment, we cast off this morning following a passing hire-boat, we were travelling backwards through the lift bridge which the hire-boat crew were happy to keep open for us; they were less happy when two more boats came through, but this is the nature of canal boating, anyway, you can’t remove your key from the mechanism until the bridge has been lowered.

Thrupp Wharf

The reason for our bizarre behaviour was to save a 4-hour journey to Dukes Cut and back just to turn around. We had intended to call and see bank-dwelling friends, Phil & Bryony, at Kidlington but they were away on holiday! So after negotiating the bridge, we turned at the winding hole (turning point) and pulled onto the wharf where we replenished our water tank.

By 10 am we were off, retracing our route, there was a queue at Shipton Weir Lock and we were helped by the crew of the following boat who we met at every lock. Up the River Cherwell through Bakers Lock, past the Rock of Gibraltar Pub, Kidlington Quarry (where the moorings were as full as they had been empty on the way down)  Northbrook & Dashwood’s Locks and we were at Heyford.

A mooring with clear views across the fields was free, TV reception good and we just about had phone & internet on O2 but not EE network.

A quick message to our friend Nicky, who lives opposite and she came around bearing cake made by her daughter, she had spotted our arrival already.
It was good to see her although Mike was ‘busy’ watching F1 (for professional reasons as he works for an F1 team!).
We heard with amazement how old her kids are now and her experience as a GP in this Coronavirus pandemic.

We saw Bones again briefly in passing and spent a good night here despite the railway line next to us as there were fewer trains running, being Sunday.

Monday  3rd August – Day 56

nb Nutwood

This morning we were making ready to leave when along came Alex for a chat, we bade our farewells and as we were passing the Heyford Wharf we saw nb Nutwood and stopped to see Andy, who I used to work with here. He used his influence to get us a pump out despite being a ‘turnaround day’ for the hire-boats, unfortunately, the machine failed halfway through so we will have to make other arrangements.

 

There were queues at all the locks today, Heyford Common Lock was still in a bad state with leaking gates and now a paddle out of action but all the boat crews helped each other and we managed okay.

Shortly after we had a problem where passing a moored boat a couple in a canoe approached going hell for leather with no intention of leaving their course.

Lister Power!

Being the gentleman that I am I moved over to let them through and got firmly stuck on the mud! Fortunately one of the boaters I’d met at the lock soon came along with his Lister HR3 powered boat (that’s quite a big engine) and after a couple of attempts pulled us off. The Latin motto on the side of the boat “Lister hanc navim impellit ubique”  translates to something like “The Lister [engine] propels this boat everywhere”

We stopped for lunch at Sommerton Meadows before tackling Somerton Lock (our last today) again there was a queue but that meant, plenty of people to help us through.

I love the railway viaduct at Aynho (see the ‘featured’ photo at the top of this post) apparently it’s part of a flying junction, info from Wiki2 if it makes you any-the-wiser!

… with the down line from Bicester North grade separated from the up and down lines from Oxford. The junction is the point where the Great Western Railway’s New North Main Line (via Northolt, High Wycombe and Bicester North) of 1910 joins the original Didcot and Chester Line via Oxford. The former line is also known as the Bicester cut-off line.

We arrived at Aynho Wharf just after 4 pm, finding plenty of space to tie up and settled ourselves in feeling a bit weary after nearly six hours boating including our lunch stop.

Summer Cruise – Day 54

Wednesday 29th July – Day 51

Today was our 48th wedding anniversary and we contemplated going up to the Boat Inn for an evening meal, but in the end, I cooked us a Boeuf Bourguignon.

Oh, have you noticed I’ve taken a new header photo of Wren-Nest moored here at Thrupp.

Thursday 30th July – Day 52

Wow! Wasn’t it hot today, not a lot was done except to rig up our sunshade and try to keep cool, and of course being Thursday Joy had her online watercolour class, the subject was a bear, the less said about the result the better!

Friday 31st July – Day 53

It was a bit cooler today, well more of a breeze which helped a bit and in the early evening we ventured down to The Boat where we enjoyed a cool beer in their garden.

 

Saturday 1st August – Day 54

This morning I got the bike out early and rode the 3 miles to Sainsbury’s before it got too hot, I tried using the Sainsbury’s SmartShop app for the first time. You scan your shopping with your phone and put it straight in your bag, scan the phone at the checkout, pay and Bob’s your uncle. The only downside was juggling the trolley, phone & shopping list.
When I got back I said to Joy, “Wouldn’t it be a good idea if the app had a shopping list feature”, guess what… when I had a look at the app a bit harder, it has!

I had to be careful on the ride back with a backpack on not to pull wheelies, I’ll have to find a way to carry the load on the front of the bike.

Joy put a couple of her paintings out on the cratch table this afternoon and was delighted when someone asked to buy one.

Later on in the afternoon, our friend Nina cycled down from Dukes Lock to see us which was lovely as we hadn’t seen her for years, in fact it was when Joy broke the ball of her humerus in March 2013. See the story here.

Later we attempted to polish the side of the boat & clean the windows while tea was in the oven, Greek Stuffed Peppers & Latkas (a kind of Jewish Rosti) proper world fusion food.

This will be our sixth night here so we’d better not outstay our welcome and head back north tomorrow.

 

 

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!

 

Life as Liveaboards