Lived onboard Hadar

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Croperdy to Thrupp.

Monday 10th March.

Due to a wild night on the water, we had no intention of moving, the winds were still gale force, leaving our TV Ariel lying on the cabin roof. The bracket has now died a death, so we will have to find a new one. By the time it was Paddy’s walk the sun had come out and the winds had dropped to a dull roar, so he would at least get a wet free walk. Something I have noticed more and more whilst we have been out are the amount of wild violets growing on the towpath verges. The last time I saw wild violets I was a child, so yes that was a long time ago hahaha. We have had the pleasure of not just seeing the purple ones, but also white violets.

As the weather got progressively throughout the day, we got a few boat jobs done inside. It was not a day to be outside, so there is very little to report.

Tuesday 11th March.

We were up and on our way at 9am leaving Cropredy behind on what was a breezy morning. The first lock was at Slat Mill, onwards to Little Bourton and the lock there, which in the Nicholsons guide describes the lock and cottage as beautifully kept. I am sorry to say that is no more. The cottage is boarded up and the lock unkempt, it is in a very sad state.
We then cruised under the M40 listening to the roar of the traffic over the sound of Hadar’s engine. I know the sound I prefer and it’s not the traffic. It was then we could smell the scent of coffee coming from somewhere and it was very strong. It was then we past Grimsbury Wharf before mooring up on the other side of March Bridge on 14 day moorings in Banbury. Having eaten lunch Keith and I took a walk into the centre of Banbury and the Castle Quay centre. Keith needed to sort out his new mobile phone with O2, as it is not charging and he only got it on the 18th Feb. So off to 02 who were absolutely no help at all, they would not do a swap or give him another battery. I found their service very lacking. The best they could suggest was we got to their service centre, in the town to see if they could help. So off we trekked to find this shop and they were a little more co-operative, they took the phone in to test the phone and the battery for us, so we would go back tomorrow for the results. In the mean time we headed to T-Mobile to check out their Web and Walk deal £15 a month for broadband speed internet connection, we had been told about it by boating friends, and as our 02 connection was dismally slow we though in for a penny, in for a pound lets give it a go. So we are now on T-Mobile. We spent time looking around the stores and enjoyed a coffee in one of the numerous cafes. We both really enjoyed our day in Banbury. On our way back to the boat we met Mark on NB Dusty, the coal, diesel and gas boat as he was delivering to his regular customers. Back at the boat I had just put the kettle on for a coffee when there was a knock on the boat. It was Peter from NB Sonflower paying us a visit. Peter had recently under gone a knee joint replacement operation, so has not been able to spend much time on the boat, but all the same it was nice to catch up with him and to see him looking so well. We first met Peter in 2005 when we came to Banbury. The mooring we were on was pretty quiet and we had no problems at all. The joy of where we were was the park and wooded area, so Paddy had plenty of places to run.

Wednesday 12th March.

We had another wild night of high winds, so I made sure that the fire was dampened down with ash, so our fire did not go into overdrive. The morning was bright and sunny, but the winds were still strong. Having done all the usual morning jobs, we then had a food shop to do at Tesco, which we past when we came into Banbury, so backpacks on we set off to Tesco and the Maplin store to see if we could find a new Ariel bracket. We did find a bracket which we mounted on the top plank. The Tesco is a 24 hour store and it has a second floor, to get to the second floor you take your trolley up and escalator ramp, it was brilliant. I had never used one of them before and as I am not a lover of escalators was a little scared, but it had to be done hehehe. Having done shopping and enjoyed some lunch we went back into Banbury to collect Keith’s poorly phone, but they could do nothing with it, so it has gone back to 02. Let’s hope they either sort it or send him another one, we will called back to the shop from Oxford to see if they have it back. We took a walk around the town’s museum, which is really very good and totally free. It is not often you get anything for free these days hahaha. The museum is opposite Tooley’s boatyard if you want to pay it a visit.
Whilst in Banbury I thought I would try and get my hair trimmed, so as we walked around we looked at the hairdressers and their prices. OMG I was horrified at the prices these places were charging for a cut and finish, anything from £50 to £75 arghhhhhhhhhh. I called into one of the shops to ask about a dry trim and was told it would cost me £19, bloody hell there is no way I am paying that, when in Stone I paid no more than £8 for the same trim. I will look for a hairdresser on the canal and give a fellow narrow boater my trade, so if you’re a hairdresser on a boat let me know hehehe, and if I am coming your way I will come and get my hair trimmed, but not at an extortionate price LOL.
So it had been another nice day and one that certainly made me think. It was another quiet evening on the boat.

Thursday 13th March.

Not being in any hurry to get away we took the time to clean the boats brass outside, I like to see clean brass if the weather allows. We set off at 10.45am hoping to get diesel from the Sovereign Wharf, but soon discovered that it was closed due to illness and would not be open until Monday, so we moved off under the lift bridge in the centre of Banbury and down through the lock to the sanitary station. I will take photos of Banbury on the way back.
Lift bridges are prominent on the Oxford canal. Many are already open which is a huge help.

The locks also change from double gates to single gates at both ends, which is fine but some of the gates can be very heavy, so I need to use brute force on some of them.
We left Banbury behind, following the river Cherwell and the railway; we approached Kings Sutton Lock and its lovely cottage, where I got into a conversation with the cottage owner and his lovely dog Eddie. Having done a further two locks we decided to moor up for the day opposite Aynho Wharf. We took a walk over the bridge to the shop to check out their diesel and gas prices. Back at the boat I relit the saloon stove as it had got quite chilly, the weather at the moment is so all over the places, one day warm the next cold, so it is difficult to know when to let the fire out. Keith in the meantime did a couple of jobs in the back cabin. We managed to get a really good TV signal, so enjoyed a quiet night of TV programs before heading to bed at 10pm.

Friday 14th March.

Up and on our way at 7.45am, destination Thrupp. At this time in the morning everything is so quiet, only the wildlife is stirring, squirrel, heron and the farm animals, ewe’s with their lambs. There was a time when twin lambs was headline news on local TV, but these days twin lambs are the norm.

We approached Somerton Deep Lock, so called due to its 12 foot depth; it has a stunning cottage on its edge as well. Its bridge still has its original number, harking back to the modernisation of the 1820’s. At Heyford Lock we were met by BW guys working on the lock and cutting back vegetation, we were fortunate to take on some of the logs which the guys had stacked up by the lock. The one thing we have noticed is the amount of work being done by the BW guys on the Oxford canal, they are very evident.
Continuing south along the Cherwell Valley, having done another lock we approached Dashwood Lock and it was clear something was amiss with the balance beam on the gate, someone had clearly hit the beam very hard, splitting the beam right the way through, so having proceeded with caution Keith rang BW to report the problem. By the time we got down to the next lock, we noticed two BW guys walking up the towpath, destination Dashwood Lock, now that is what I call a prompt call out. They had been notified by phone of the problem. We skirted the Village of Kirtlington down through Bakers Lock and onto a short stretch of the River Cherwell, which Hadar clearly enjoyed the deep water and the currant, she picked up a bit of speed on this section, before we reached ShiptonWeir Lock, which took us back onto the canal. The final task of the day before mooring up was to do Aubreys Lift Bridge at the BW yard in Thrupp. Cruising on we were then met by a hello from Maffi who was on the NB owned by Mortimer Bones, we agreed to meet later on. We then moored up behind The Jolly Boatman Inn. I contacted Steve with the DM3, who popped over later in the evening and we went to the pub to meet up with Bones and Maffi, a fantastic evening was had by all as we chatted and had a really good laugh. We ended up going to bed after midnight as we sat up and watched a bit of Sports relief. We are going to stay here for a few days.

Saturday 15th March.

With no movement taking place over the weekend, we enjoyed a cup of tea in bed before getting up. I walked Paddy as usual on what began as a dry sunny morning, it was even mild. Having had breakfast, a knock came on the boat, and who should be standing there but Maffi, he had come for his coffee and a piece of Victoria Sandwich that I had baked yesterday. Maffi had seen Bones off, as she was on her way to Banbury. It was lovely to meet Bones last night, she is a lovely lady and we cannot wait to catch up with her again. We were enjoying a natter, when Mark on NB Dusty came past with his bell ringing for his customers to come out and give him their orders. It was then that Steve DM3 arrived to take some photos of Hadar’s National DA2 engine, he and Keith had plenty to natter about, as they discussed our engine and of course Steve’s engine which he is rebuilding. The time certainly flew past as it always does when you are having fun, as it was 2pm before we realised the time.
We had our first hire boat run in, when one of the Oxfordshire Narrowboat came past the moored boats at break neck speed. Keith put his head out of the engine room, and asked them politely to slow down past moored boat, which they did, but Maffi’s boat was already adrift at the stern, so he had to leg it down the towpath to rescue his boat, before the bow pin pulled out. The silly season has now begun hahaha.
A late lunch was bacon sandwiches, the forecast rain had now descended upon us and it was set for the rest of the day. We were sat down watching the F1 qualifying session for the Australian GP, when there was a knock on the window. A gentleman handed me a free Towpath Talk, it has been donkey years since we had a paper delivered to our door, or should I say window hehehehe.
The rest of the day was sat in front of the TV, because the weather really had turned awful, Paddy and Keith had a very wet evening walk.

Sunday 16th March.

We have reached another Sunday, where does the time go?
Wet, wet, wet is the best way to describe this morning. Over night we had very heavy rain and gusty winds, but inside our back cabin it was hot, hot, hot, as the stove went into overdrive LOL, so we had a very disturbed night. With there being no hurry to be up Keith made a cup of tea which we drank in bed, whilst I told him of my odd dream about Hadar. It began with us moored at the top of hill. Keith went off to the pub to a tree planting party for friends of his who were leaving the cut for good; I was on the boat trying to get a poorly generator going as we needed to charge the batteries. In a field opposite the boat Army Cadets were setting up camp. The next thing I realised was that Hadar was moving at great speed down hill, with two army cadets standing on the gunwale, one a boy the other a girl and they were laughing through the galley window. I was helpless to do anything because Hadar was no going so fast our engine would never have stopped her. She careered into moored boats on the way down, heading for a bend in the canal, which had a brick wall at the bottom. Yes we hit the wall, demolishing it as we came to a halt. At this point two BW men ran to my assistance, catching the two army cadets at the same time. They dragged them into the boat and made them sit down and write an essay on why they had let our boat off. Keith arrived back at the boat puffing and panting as he had run the whole way. Yes I know it is an odd dream. What mazes me is that it is still so clear in my head even at 10.15am hahaha.
So at 8.45am we got up as Paddy needed his walk in the wind and rain, there was no avoiding the puddles as the towpath was covered in them. It is going to be a day of boat jobs, such as washing and baking I reckon, not to mention watching the F1 GP.
Washing was done, our boatman’s cabin looked more like a Chinese laundry hahaha, I had bedding drying all over the cabin, but because the stove was also cooking our dinner, it did not take to long, I then had the bed remade and put back in the cupboard. Keith and I watched the F! GP, congratulations to Lewis Hamilton, lets hope this is his season. The evening was as always a quiet one watching the dancing on Ice final. Suzanne Shaw was a definite winner on the night, she was stunning all the way through, although I did feel a little sorry for Chris Fountain, as he had shone all through the series, still someone has to lose. It was off to bed after Lewis for a good nights sleep.
See you all next weekend hopefully.

2 comments:

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dhutch said...

Whoo, your out again!! Got our injector back from being serviced today, another step closer to emilyanne on the move. Ive started a blog as well after some inspiration and several quite mornings at work!

http://snb-emilyanne.blogspot.com/


Daniel