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Friday, July 04, 2008

Shipton-on-Cherwell to Banbury.

Wednesday 2nd July.

Shipton-on-Cherwell to Aynho Wharf. 12.5 miles, 8 locks and a couple of lift bridges.
Good morning world and what a fine morning it was. The sun was out and there was absolutely no breeze at all. We were woken up early 6.30am to be precise by boats on the move; it was refreshing to know we are never the only ones who move early sometimes. But not this morning, we lay in bed with Marmite doing her best to get us up, with her meowing and jumping on the both of us. When we did get up and get organised it was 7.53am before we left Shipton-on-Cherwell. Destination for today Aynho Wharf if all went well.
Leaving Shipton-on-Cherwell we had to giggle to ourselves when we saw a pig in a canoe, it struck us as very funny.I wonder if they have ever taken him out on the water in that canoe?
My first job of the day was a lift bridge. Pulling on the chain is the easy part, the more difficult bit is keeping the bridge up whilst Keith manoeuvres Hadar through the hole, I usually end up sitting on the beam. Now that is a sight to behold ha ha. There is no graceful way of doing it.
We then had Shipton Weir Lock, which can be a bit of a bugger, the gate is so difficult to open, that I have to press my feet on the wall of the bridge to get any leverage. I am no weakling, but this tests my strength every time. Just as well there was no one watching, it would of probably made them laugh.We were now on the River Cherwell, which was hardly moving this time. When we came down it back at the beginning of the year there was quite a flow. We cruised on by the old derelict cement work, with its huge chimney standing tall on the sky line.After Bakers Lock we were back onto the canal again and heading past Gibraltar and the pub called The Rock of Gibraltar. The canal follows alongside a golf course where gentlemen were out playing the course in the morning sunshine, they obviously had no jobs to go to.
We then discovered we had a hitchhiker on the boats roof. We reckon he/she had been hiding in one of the fenders.He/she is a froglet awwww I hear you cry. I carefully placed he/she in the water and wished it well on its journey through life.
Above Pigeon Lock we passed by NB Pan the floating shop which was closed according to the sign on the boats roof, so onward we went towards Northbrook Lock, where BW had done some work, with the replacement of one of the gates beams and new concrete bases for the bollards were being put in place. The same things have been done at Dashwood Lock. Anyone who reads our diary regularly will remember we reported to BW earlier in the year, that the beam on one of the gates at Dashwood Lock had been snapped by a previous boat, well it has now been replace by a nice new beam. Alls it needs now is some paint.Having left Dashwood Lock to a hire boat, we had a long run to the next lock so I thought I would make us both a coffee. I disappeared into the galley; kettle was on the stove when all of a sudden Hadar was pushing on at full power. As I reappeared from the galley with coffee, wondering what was going on, Hadar was pushing the stern of an Oxfordshire Day boat round on the water. Apparently the day boat was coming towards us with a crew of 8+ onboard and they steered the boat the wrong way, when they saw Hadar coming towards them and managed to wedge their boat across the canal. None of the people on the boat were making any attempt to get out of the situation or our way, they were more concerned with drinking their beer at 11.15 am, so Keith pushed their stern with Hadar’s bow around so they were then facing the correct way and we carried on with our journey without saying a word. They just continued drinking and cheering. I do think that companies that hire out day boats etc should ask those people hiring their boats, not to drink whilst operating the boats. Surely it is a matter of safety to ask the boaters to refrain from drinking alcohol until they are moored up out of harms way. It was clear that these people were in no fit state to steer their boat safely. I can see it is an accident waiting to happen in my eyes, and then Health and Safety will become and issue. But that is just my opinion.Anyway back to BW it appears that BW has been busy along the Oxford Canal with repairs to locks and bridges. They had replaced some of the stone at bridge 210, but it has not lasted long, someone has already taken a huge chunk out of it.We past through Lower and Upper Heyford, through Mill Lift Bridge and onto Somerton where the bank was collapsing into the canal earlier in the year, in places it had been breaching, but BW have been a long and put in wooden stakes with webbing behind the posts and back filled it with soil, so it is now nice and strong again. This part of the canal is so beautiful, there is some wonderful scenery. We made our way to Somerton Deep Lock. A Napton hirer very kindly waited for us to use the lock as it was already empty, so whilst Hadar slipped into the 12 foot lock I helped him with the large gate. Keith and I soon realise that the Napton boat they had hired was Monaco, who we had met in a bridge hole earlier in the year. When I say met I mean collided with and got stuck with for two and a quarter hours. Long story so I won’t go into it again, you can read all about it if you go back through the diary. On passing the boat as we left the lock, we noticed the dent in her side, which Hadar had put in her side when they collided on that day. For a new boat she already looks like she has had a tough season and it is not yet over LOL.
Sadly the weather took a turn downwards and it began to rain, we were heading to Aynho Wharf and that was our port of call for the day. We found a 48 hour mooring just before Aynho Bridge and tied up for the day. It was now 2.50pm so lunch was most definitely a late one, but that did not bother either of us. Having eaten lunch Hadar was then in need of an oil change, and it is better to do it when the engine is warm, so we sorted that out and gave her some new oil. We reckon on changing her oil every 200 hours. The evening was spent watching Andy Murray against Nadal. Having had rain we were blessed with some late evening sunshine, to finish off what had been an eventful day.
We saw lots more boats going in both directions and not all of them hirers. Everyone seems to be out boating at the moment, maybe taking their holidays for this year.

Thursday 3rd July.

Aynho to Banbury.

The journey to Banbury was uneventful and yet as always there were some lovely views of the great British countryside. BW has been doing a lot of repair work at locks and it seems that the lift bridges need some much needed care.This lift bridge is sitting in the field and the brick work is in a dreadful state, where it has been hit by boats over the years. Maybe when we come this way again, there maybe a new lift bridge in place.
We continued onward through wooded countryside, with hills in the background. At Aynho Weir Lock the River Cherwell crosses the canal. We cruised under the M40 and the noise of the traffic overhead, everyone was in such a hurry to reach their destinations, and there was us pootling a long towards King’s Sutton Lock.I love this lock with its pretty cottage and out buildings. As we came out of the lock another boat took our place on its way down the Oxford Canal. As always we said good morning and wished the gentleman a good day.
Once again we headed under the M40 and on towards Banbury, where you are welcomed by a sign, which also tells you not to over stay your welcome or you will be fined £25 for each day you over stay. Isn’t that a lovely welcome?Has anyone actually been fined for overstaying?
We emptied the toilet at the sanitary station heading into Banbury and then up through Banbury Lock through the centre of Banbury, its shops and Tooley’s Boatyard. We stopped to fill up with Diesel at Sovereign Narrowboats. Hadar was already half full or half empty which ever way you want to look at it, but Keith felt it was worth filling her up before making the trip to the IWA Festival. After the diesel pump stopped pumping, the gauge read 341 litres at 86 pence a litre; you can do the maths LOL. We also took on some more oil and blue loo. At Sovereign you always get a nice welcome, but it is worth noting that they are not open Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Just past Sovereign we found a mooring on the 48 hour moorings and tied up.
During the afternoon we went food shopping and went into the town for a few bits. During the evening we went to the cinema with our free tickets to see Hancock with Will Smith. It is a really good film; we thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone. Will Smith was excellent as the no hope super hero; there are plenty of laughs as well as an unlikely twist in the story line. We would certainly get the DVD when it comes out so we can watch it again and again.

Friday 4th July.

A peaceful lie in this morning, well I say peaceful. It was until Marmite thought she would start running all over us in bed, no doubt she thought it may get her, her breakfast quicker. Eventually we got out of bed and had breakfast. Paddy enjoyed a walk around Banbury Park before having his breakfast. Keith and I then went into town as there was a Farmers Market on. It was actually only about half a dozen stalls of some local produce. After lunch we were off to the cinema again with our free tickets to see Narnia, Prince Caspian. We had see the first one The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and really loved it, so we were hoping for something as good, if not better from this new film and we were not disappointed. The special affects were amazing and the scenery awesome. We absolutely loved the film. Back on Hadar, brass cleaning was the order of the late afternoon. It had not been done for a few days, so needed doing badly. I love to see it nice and clean, shining in the sunlight.
Nothing much on TV, so we settled down to watch Space Cowboys on DVD, this film stars Clint Eastwood and it quite a good film. Keith and I have amassed a large DVD collection for such occasions when there is nothing on TV or we cannot get a TV signal. Neither of us minds watching good films over and over again.
Tomorrow we will make a move so as not to overstay the 48 hours on the mooring, but the weather is not looking good so we shall see how far we get.

2 comments:

Jay said...

Ah, lovely! I've been somewhere today without having to even get dressed! Beautiful description of your days - as always! Thank you!

As to the day boat, I'm sure they do tell them not to drink, but what can they do, once the boat has left their hands? I don't doubt that the revellers have no real idea of the dangers that can accompany boats on canals, they see it as a very safe environment, and sadly, it can take an accident or near miss before they will believe it isn't always the case. Well done for helping the daft buggers out this time.

Keith & Jo said...

Hi Jay.

It is nice to see someone agrees with me to a point. I am not sure what they can do to be honest, alls I know is that you are not allowed to drink and drive a car, which can kill, so why can people drink and steer what can be anything from a 15 ton boat and still kill/
It just seems daft and stupid to me. I guess I just worry to much lol.
Hope your dressed now he he he