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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Belchers Lift Bridge to Somerton.

Wednesday 14th January.

Belchers Lift Bridge to Somerton, 3.3 miles, 1 lock and 1 lift bridge.
The temperature over night got down to -5.1C, so it was no surprise to wake and see that Jack Frost had cast his icy hand over the land. It was a very beautiful picture and there was no wind whatsoever. Having taken this photograph, I climbed back into the boat and made us a cup of tea, before going back to a nice snug bed for another hour. What a difference an hour makes though, because when I climbed out of the back cabin to take Paddy for a walk, this is what greeted us.Not only was it now white on the ground it was also a pea souper. The clear skies had gone. Paddy did not mind running up and down the towpath though; he really did enjoy himself in the heavy frost.
10.35am we left our overnight mooring, having untied the frozen ropes and fenders. With the heavy fog and frost the canal had a haunting feel about it, all very mystical.
I had just one lift bridge to operate, which was not difficult, but had to be done with care due to the slippery conditions. I take safety very seriously, because if I fall I could break an arm or leg or much worse, it would mean that Keith would have to take care of me whilst I mended. No one should ever get to glib about their own safety. Keith took this photograph whilst I tried pulling on the chain to lift the bridge.I was thankful I had my gloves on, because it was so cold that my hands would have stuck to the chain.
We then arrived at one of the prettiest lock cottages on the Oxford Canal, Somerton Deep Lock. It is known as deep lock because it is 12’0” deep and one of the deepest on the canal system. The cottage itself is so pretty and well looked after.Whilst I was operating the lock, I was joined by a very friendly little Robin, who was not a bit bothered by us being there. He got up close and personal with Keith, whilst Hadar lowered in the lock.
Having left the lock we continued past Somerton, which is a grey stone village, which winds up the hill where the village church can be found with its decorated tower, but due to the fog we could not see anything of it today.
We moored up just after Somerton Wharf on open farm land. Having moored up Paddy was allowed to get off of the boat for a run, Keith played ball with him, whilst I made us some lunch. Marmite also had the privilege of getting off the boat without her harness and lead on. As you can imagine she was one very excited pussy cat, but she never went far from the boat, I do not think she liked getting her feet too wet.It was really nice to be able to allow her off of the boat on her own. Some walkers came past the boat with their dog, so Marmite made straight for the safety of the back cabin, which is what I had hoped she would do. Maybe we will allow her off on her own more often. But we do worry that we will lose her.

5 comments:

Andrew said...

Marmite has grown into a fine cat.

regards

andywatson

Mobile Home said...

Any chance of a photo of the infamous Paddy?

Keith and Jo said...

Hi Andrew. Marmite is a beautiful cat now, she was such a poorly little thing when we first got her, and that is why we really would hate to lose her. She is a gem now.

Hi Mobile Home.
I will take a few pics and add them in another post. Thanks for the message.

LadyBanana said...

Aww Marmite has grown up beautifully!

Now we have had Mabel spayed we are thinking about letting her out on her own but it is a bit scary. But I'm sure you must feel it even more as you are always moving so she doesn't have a set place.

Keep her safe :)

Mobile Home said...

Thanks for putting the photo of Paddy up. It brings the blog to life somehow, seeing a face of one of the main characters.