Sunday, 26 February 2017
It's not very often that you get a boat of this quality come up for sale ,so if you are looking to buy a boat look no further. Our good friends are selling their boat Nb Oakfield. It’s a Johnathon Wilson shell and fitted out by the renowned boat fitters Fernwood. Not only was Oakfield built to an extremely high standard but she has also been maintained to an equally high standard. This amazing boat will not be for sale for long before someone buys her. Click on the link below for full details..
Thursday, 23 February 2017
After a few good days in Braunston we pulled pins at 08.30 and after using the services we met up with friends Rich and Sharon ( nb Oakapple ) to cruise together towards Rugby. With the weather doing us no favours we cruised through the Mizzle for most of the four hour cruise.
We passed a boat on the way displaying this sign. There’s plenty of tunnels with the end light switched off.
Now that makes a change . Usually Canal and River Trust use miles and miles of that horrible red plastic fencing around the ever increasing failing towpaths along the system. Although not perfect this green plastic fencing is a lot less intrusive on the eye and the countryside.
Passing Onley and I just had to jump off at the bridge to check on the progress at The Dunchurch super marina. They now seem to be getting the roads put in and you can see through the hedge that they are starting to dig out the entrance. As I have heard nothing different I take it that the marina is still on target to open in the Spring of this year.
Arriving at Hillmorton and we were greeted with this sight. The top pound of the three lock flight was completley empty. There was a couple of boaters moored just back from the top lock who told us that someone had left the paddles open and that they had called Canal and River Trust to come out and fill the pound. Why they called out CRT God only knows . With no sign of CRT Carolyn and Sharon went on ahead to close the paddles and check the locks below where OK.
With Carolyn and Sharon finding out that everything was OK on the two locks below myself and Rich started filling the empty pounds.
In the end it took us about 45 minutes to fill the pound and get on our way again .Just as we had the pound full and the situation under control the CRT operative turned up and thanked us for our efforts . It’s sometimes a bit of a pain when things like this happen ,but it’s all a part of boating.
Here we go again passing Clifton cruisers. It seems like they are a law unto themselves and even after several boaters putting in a complaint a few months ago to Canal and River Trust they still restrict navigation past their wharf. It wouldn’t be so bad if they tied the boats in tightly ,but they drift out and smash in to any passing boats.
We have now picked up a mooring on the Parkside at Brownsover where Carolyn can get a bit of retail therapy and we will spend the next few days here before continuing our journey North.
Monday, 20 February 2017
Just loved this boat name ..
That’s good enjoy it.
Sometimes it can be.
Plastic or GRP boats are often referred to as Tupperwares or Yoghurt pots on the canal, so I think it’s good that the owner named it this.
Carolyn liked this one.
Went to Sea ..
For some reason I liked this one…
We thought this was brilliant. The boat was called Gulliver.
Friday, 17 February 2017
We were rudely woken up at 08.00 while on our mooring outside of Braunston marina . Unknown to us they are in the process of dredging the marina.This is what was going on the other side of the hedge to where we were moored. The digger on the floating platform was filling the barge with years worth of sediment.
When the Barges were full they were then taken over to this new wharf that they have built in the marina. The sediment is then transferred in to a dumper truck and then it seems it is then deposited in the field behind.
We plan to some more rivers in the coming cruising season and Carolyn has always nagged me about getting Hamish a life jacket. Although we have done loads of rivers including the tidal Thames he has never fallen in ,but now at 13 years of age he is sometimes not as agile as he used to be so we thought we had better get him sorted. Luckily Diane was on duty at the Bottom lock Chandlery in Braunston and she and Carolyn soon fitted Hamish up with a new Life jacket.
It was a bit of an expensive visit to the chandlery as I also bought filters for the next engine service and a new battery for Carolyn’s Girlie button (bow thruster). At least that’s her birthday present sorted ,how lucky is she getting a 120 amp hour battery for her birthday . What else could any women want for .
The main reason for our stop over in Braunston was to meet up with friends Sharon and Rich on nb Oakapple and Gary and Della on nb Muleless. Yet again we booked a table at the dog friendly Plough in Braunston so Hamish could join us and as always we had a great time catching up with each other and drinking
loads a small amount of alcohol. The food as always was very good and The Plough is well worth a visit if you are in the area. With most of us staying around this area for the next couple of weeks there’s a good chance we could meet up again.
Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Just before pulling pins on our cruise in to Braunston I caught a glimpse of this chap sat in the hedge. With my camera sat in my pocket at the time I managed to get this picture which I am so pleased with. For once it is in focus and has come out so clear . I am no great photographer and although I take thousands of pictures it’s rare that I get one as good as this.
We pulled pins at 09.10 and started our 4 mile cruise towards Braunston and were soon passing the Church at Lower Shuckburgh .Pearsons guide describes the journey as a thoroughly remote length of canal with Ghosts and echoes everywhere with reedy old loops ,abandoned railways and lost villages. A perfect description of a very scenic and interesting part of The South Oxford Canal.
A familiar picture to those heading in to Braunston from Oxford and The Grand Union canal. Turn right and it’s up the locks towards London and The Leicester arm or turn left and it’s up towards Rugby and the North. It’s right for us while we spend some time here before heading North.
Come on boaters it’s time we all learnt how to use a mooring pin while mooring a boat .We see this all the time, the pin in the picture should be turned 180 degrees as the metal hoop is just a guide to keep the rope on the pin . We have two pins where the hoop has fallen off as we have hammered them in to the ground. The weld on the hoop is a weak point and could easily break off which is why this type of pin should never be used like this.
After winding (turning) we reversed back onto this mooring just outside of Braunston Marina. With a view like this from our front room window looking back towards Braunston bottom lock this will do us for a day or three.
Monday, 13 February 2017
With the temperature at minus 1 we pulled ropes through rings from our mooring at Fenny Compton with the plan of getting to the bottom of the Napton flight of 9 locks. A bit of an early start at 07.30 but with the reward of a beautiful Sunrise it was well worth it.
As you can see it’s bloody cold ,but with thermal socks ,gloves ,hats and a few hundred layers of clothes we are fine. We have a couple hours of cruising across the summit of the Oxford canal before reaching Marston Doles and then descending The Napton flight of 9 locks. Now it’s time for a cup of tea to warm us up “one sugar for me please Carolyn” .
It’s still there and doesen’t appear to be going anywhere very soon . I did wonder how they were going to do their blacking of the hull ,but I suppose they won’t bother unless they get a crane in or dig themselves out.
Reaching the top of the Napton flight and we were met by a Canal and River Trust employee who informed us that the third pound up from the bottom was completely empty and it would require water being let down from the top to remedy the situation. He told us to come down through the flight but leave one top and one bottom paddle on each lock open. He in the meantime he went on ahead and set the locks for us to go down.
Halfway down the flight and here are the first Lambs we have seen this year and what a lovely sight and how sweet they look said Carolyn. I said they will look far better in a few months time when they are sat on a plate in front of me surrounded by roast spuds, vegetables ,gravy and not forgetting the mint sauce . Yum yum.
At the bottom of Napton and it’s good to see that someone is trying to use nature to combat bank erosion. Several trees have been planted here where the bank is slowly sliding in to the canal . Hopefully as they grow their roots will spread out and make the bank more secure.
After a good days cruise we picked up a mooring just past The Bridge pub which has been closed down for sometime now .Another early start tomorrow as we have a 2 hour lock free cruise in to Braunston where we have planned to meet up with some friends for a night out. That should be Just the ticket !
Friday, 10 February 2017
While Carolyn raises the lift bridge I pass Tooley’s Boatyard,which is situated in the heart of Banbury ,it has the oldest working dry dock on the Inland Waterways, having been in continuous use since 1790. It also has an 86′ dry dock which is fully covered and heated. Also on-site is the 200 year-old forge which is in regular use by blacksmiths. Also they had 42 quid of mine as we had to buy a new riddle for our stove from them after ours fell to bits.
We have certainly been blessed with the amount of good friends we have made since we started life on Inca. Amongst them are Bob and Jan (nb Small Dreams) who have been brilliant during our time in Banbury and have invited us to their house on a couple of occasions plus giving Carolyn a day out in Oxford and a trip in their car to do a big shop at a local out of town supermarket. Fortunatley they plan to be in Rugby in a few weeks when we are there ,so we will meet up again before we head North for the Summer and they head South.
First lock of the day and I grab the windlass and set the lock for Carolyn. I’m happy to jump over the gates even though my legs are not that long. Carolyn will not jump so she has to walk all the way around to open and close the gate on the other side. I need the exercise so it wont do me any harm unless I fall in.
We arrive at Little Bourton lock and it’s such a shame that the Lockkeepers cottage is empty. There is a sign that says that it is owned by boaters but with no way of getting to it by road and being a bit isolated, I think it will only be a matter of time before it succumbs to the elements .
Heading up through the Claydon flight of five locks and the skies behind us start to turn rather grey . After another hours cruising we reached Fenny Compton and managed to moor up before the skies opened. We hope to be on the move again tomorrow but with low tempeartues forecast and the threat of the canal freezing over we will just have to wait and see what the morning brings.
Monday, 6 February 2017
We have been to Banbury many times before and have always admired St Mary’s church but we have never been inside . So this time we made a point of visiting and we were certainly not disappointed.
St Mary’s predecessor was a splendid mediaeval church which had fallen into disrepair and had become dangerous. Part of the old church collapsed one Sunday morning in April 1790 with the tower adding itself to the rubble the following day. Financial constraints delayed the completion of the new church and the “pepper pot” tower was not completed until 1822.
On our way in to the church we noticed this plaque named "Gulliver's Travels" - Jonathan Swift hints in the preface to the 1726 edition of Gulliver's Travels that he had taken the name of Gulliver from tombstones in the Churchyard at Banbury. Unfortunatley none of the original tombstones from that time exist anymore.
As designed by the architect, Samuel Pepys Cockerill, the building was a perfect square with sides 90 feet long. It is thought to have been modelled on Sir Christopher Wren’s St. Stephen’s Church, Walbrook, which, like this building, has a dome supported by twelve classical columns. Originally the gallery ran round the four sides and the church was able to accommodate 3,000.
Extensive alterations were made in the mid-19th century under the influence of the Tractarian movement. In 1858 the eastern gallery was removed and in 1873 the whole east end was reconstructed to the design of Sir Arthur Blomfield, and richly coloured. Blomfield’s decorative scheme has now gone, apart from the figures in the chancel which are painted in imitation mosaic and a small detail by the door into the south stairwell. The view towards the alter from high up in the gallery.
The domed ceiling which is supported by the twelve columns.
We spent 10 minutes sitting in the pews up in the gallery just soaking up the atmosphere of the church.
The stained glass is also of Blomfield’s time, the most striking windows being those at the eastern end of the nave above the galleries – by an unknown artist. The upper windows in the gaIlery represent scenes from the life of Jesus – 30 illustrations in all, while the lower windows illustrate 10 of his parables. The detailed background in all the windows well repays attention. In the second upper window on the north side is the well-known Arctic window in memory of the explorer Admiral Sir George Back, which contains sketches from his notebook – H.M.S. Terror caught in the ice, Eskimos, polar bears, seals, reindeer, walrus and a surround of snow flakes.
The Church is open Monday to Friday from 12.00 to 14.00, Saturday 10.00 to 14.00 and then on Sundays where all are invited to the services. Well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.
As with every town we pass through on our journey around the country we always end up looking in estate agents to gauge the local property prices. We are still not sure where we will live once we retire from boating , but Banbury is certainly a possibility as we both love the town and the area.