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Friday, January 09, 2009

Ice Cold In Banbury.

Wednesday 7th January.

Another bitterly cold night in Banbury, with temperatures dropping down to -8.4C, by the time we were up and about the temperature had risen to -1.4C, and we had a thin coating of snow on the towpath and boat.Because the canal is still frozen, it has given the local youths a new game to play of an evening. It is called ‘Break the Ice’. This new game has no real rules; you just have to find an item which you think will crack the ice and then throw that item onto the icy surface of the canal. So far we have seen house bricks, bottles, logs and stones thrown on to the ice with no effect, there has not been the slightest sign of a crack. This morning it looks like they went one step further. On my way to the laundrette I saw a Wilkinson’s shopping trolley standing on the ice.It was probably pushed on to the ice by the group of youths who were throwing things on to the ice very late last night near our boat. On the way back from the laundrette it had been removed by someone, as its wheels left tracks in the snow on the ice. Thankfully the ice is thick, so the trolley did not get a chance to sink, causing a hazard to moving boats that is when any of us can actually move. The laundrette in Banbury is not far to walk from the canal and it is really very good. I did a large wash for £5.50 and the tumble drier cost me £1.60. I bet your asking yourself, why use the laundrette when they have a washing machine onboard. The reason for using the laundrette was to save our water and it also meant we had no wet washing hanging around the boat. Because this load consisted of bath towels, and bedding all large items.
During the morning we have had flurries of snow, but nothing to get us over excited. I would love to see a couple of feet of snow, I am just a big kid when it comes to snow.
After some lunch, Keith had finished a few jobs on the boat, so we set off for our eye test appointments at Spec Savers, dropping off rubbish at the sanitary station on the way. We have never used Spec Savers before, but were very impressed with the service we received. The downside of going was the fact that we found out we both needed to upgrade our glasses, as our eye sight has deteriorated over the last four years. I was really surprised how much mine had gone downhill. So we now have to wait for our new glasses to be prepared which can take up to a week. We have said that we may come back for them later if we find we can move off, as the weather is supposed to improve over the weekend, and we may therefore be released from the icy grip we find ourselves in at the moment.
We like Banbury, but oh boy we always seem to spend way too much money when we stop here. Still needs must, and no one should ever neglect their eyes. The only draw back about mooring in Banbury is the fact that the TV signal is poor, because of being surrounded by buildings. We therefore have relied on our DVD collection for entertainment during the evenings. Usually around 9pm I stoke the fires up for the night. The back cabin stove gets filled up with house coal, so I need to have the back cabin doors open when filling the fire up as it gets very smoky, and can set the smoke alarm off, which drives Paddy nuts. I then add a layer of wood on top of the coal, this acts as a dampener to keep the fire in over night. In the mornings I just need to open the fire up and away it goes, as the wood catches thus kicking the fire into life once more.

Thursday 8th January.

Overnight temperatures dropped no lower that 0C, but the canal is still frozen as is the ground, so we are still not moving.Keith rescued a mobile phone from the ice near our boat with a fishing net. Its battery and Sim card were missing. We thought it best return it to the phone shop from whence it came, to see if they could trace its owner. For all we knew it may have been stolen and then discarded. Like for so many people the New Year, means it is time to have a clear out and even though we live on a boat the same thing applies. I had a rummage through our storage boxes to see if there were any items of clothing we could take to the charity shop, thus giving us room for other things. It was not long before I had filled two refuse bags. So we took both bags to the Katherine House Hospice Charity Shop, where they were busy sorting through other bags of items left by people.
The surface of ice on the canal appears to be thawing, but beneath the surface it is still frozen hard and with the temperatures dropping below zero again tonight, it does not bode well for us to be moving just yet. BW is aware that we are like so many other boaters at the moment frozen in. Keith e-mailed them to let them know of the situation in Banbury, and they are quite happy for us to be where we are until the canal ice either melts or is broken up. He thought that as we are on 48 hour moorings, he should just clarify the situation at the moment, although we are not the only ones stuck on the 48 hour moorings.

Friday 9th January.
There is no change as far as the weather situation is concerned and we are still frozen in at Banbury. This weather is a good photographic opportunity though, as who knows when we will see this again. Not only that we may not be in Banbury at the time. So during the day I have been out with my camera taking a few snaps.As the years pass by, I will be able to date this photograph, not only by the frozen state of the canal but also by the Woolworths sign in the back ground. Another iconic store bites the dust. Since being in Banbury we have been surprised by the number of stores that have closed down. In the Castle Quay shopping centre alone, Woolworths has already shut down, Whittards and the Officers Club are having closing down sales, Passion for Perfume has gone, as has Hawkins Bazaar and there are a couple of other empty units. The town itself is littered with empty shops and I guess this is just the beginning.
During the afternoon Paddy got to go out and play ball in the park. He always gets so excited when the ball comes out, because he knows it means playtime. When he has his ball, nothing else matters and he takes no notice of anything else going on around him, which was just as well today, because it was not long before we were joined by two other dogs, which came bounding across the park. Thankfully they were friendly enough, but their owner had very little control over either of them. Paddy on the other-hand sat in front of me, just mesmerised by his ball and obeying everything I said until they left us alone to play our game. After 15 minutes of constant ball chasing he was ready to admit defeat and headed back towards the boat, where once onboard he collapsed into a heap.A mist is now engulfing the cut and with it the temperature is beginning to drop once more, they are forecasting -5C tonight, but it is then supposed to warm up and give us some rain. So we shall see what the weekend has to offer in respect of us moving off from Banbury.
Before I go for the weekend, I would like to say hello to Tony & Noeline Gill on N.B Mary Russell, who are ice locked in the centre of Skipton at the moment. We met briefly in Stone this summer at the Food and Drink Festival when they were moored behind us. Thank you for the e-mail and photographs. Stay safe and warm and maybe we will see you on the cut sometime.


LadyBanana said...

It's a real winter this year for a change, which in a way I'm quite liking!

Keep warm :)

Keith and Jo said...

We are loving every minute of this weather. It does make a change to have a proper winter. It will kill of some of the bugs going around.

Wozie said...

What a wonderful picture of Hadar in the snow, nice enough to make into a Christmas card I think.

Keith and Jo said...

Hi Wozie. Welcome onboard. I am still looking for the perfect Christmas card photo of Hadar, I want a lot more snow LOL, but I am greedy.
The ice is now melting which is a real shame.

Wozie said...

Your picture of the 'shopping trolley on ice' is the most iconic one I have seen of the icy season!

Keith and Jo said...

I actually love that photo. It is one I will never forget.