Sunday, 21 August 2016

An Eventful Saturday!

Sunday 21st August
Yesterday was a bit eventful, we had a ride to Daventry to "Road Pro" taking with us the control box for the satellite system, which has now stopped working. We had spoken to other boaters who had the same problem and all, including the people at Road Pro who were very helpful but said that the satellite frequencies had changed and our system needed re-programming but that they couldn't re-program our box as it was now obsolete, they did show us a system which we are going to buy it is a manual system.
We also had a leak on the water pump which Kev had thought he had resolved but it still leaked so he had taken the pump off yesterday and so we took that to Midland Chandlers at Braunston who informed Kev that although the pumps last a long time the diaphragm however becomes brittle and leaks after about 4 years. Kev was going to buy a new pump @ £87, but the man in the chandlers told him just to buy a new diaphragm kit £32! Result a saving of £50!
When we got back to Napton and back on the boat Kev changed the diaphragm and it is now working properly! Kev also had to repair the punctures on the bike as there were several in both tyres! He did change an inertube on one of the tyres though.
After the bike was sorted he decided to ride along the towpath and take it to put back in the car, he hadn't been gone long when he returned with the bike.... Kev was dripping with water! He had been riding along and looked down at his jeans thinking he had got oil on them from the chain, big mistake as he ended up going head first into the canal and the bike was hanging slightly into the water!
As he stood inside the stern dripping from head to toe I told him to get his clothes off and go get in the shower.
Kev's dripping clothes!
Quite an eventful day, so after his dip in the canal he had to have a cold beer so we both had one. Later on in the evening we had a walk to The Folly Inn as there were some bands on as it was "FollyFest"and there were quite a few people there although it took ages to get served at the bar inside and the outside bar had ran out of bitter, as it took so long to get served we got 2 pints each and took them outside. I don't think the event had been organised very well as we couldn't see the band that was on at the time as they were in the same tent as the outside bar so it was quite full. I think the area for the bands should have been separate and that way everyone could see them. 
This morning we decided to move from Napton as Kev wanted to get some maintenance done, so I took Jaz to the car after Kev had set off on the boat. I parked the car at bridge 104 and walk with Jaz heading back towards Napton to meet Kev and as I had passed bridge 108 he rang to say he wasn't far from me and so when I saw him appear on the boat I waited on a straight section so he could pull over to pick both me & Jaz up. One aboard we didn't travel too far and when we got through bridge 103 we were going to moor but there were a few boats there already so we carried on a bit further and moored before the bend at bridge 102. When we had seen Del & Al they had told us that the moorings were good after bridge 103 and we were hoping to meet up with them again. Once we were moored up I left Kev to walk with Jaz back to the car at bridge 104 and i drove it back and parked at bridge 102 to be closer to the boat. Kev had got the Satellite dome off the roof and had started filling the holes were it had been mounted on the roof, he then took it to the car ready to take it to the tip. So he has quite a bit of painting to do, weather permitting.

Looking across from our present mooring.

Friday, 19 August 2016

A pair of selfish single handers, a familiar boat & sadness for another fellow boater.

Friday 19th August
What great weather we have been having, on Wednesday morning we wanted to fill our water tank so we headed to the water point at Cropredy which is at bridge 153. Luckily the water point was empty so we managed to get on it ok, it was a bit awkward as the winding hole is here too and our stern was across part of it. Then another boat came through the bridge wanting water too, so he breasted up alongside of us and then low and behold another boat arrived! Then another came and was waiting inside the winding hole but he decided not to bother and so he just turned around while he was at the winding hole. It took a while for us to fill our tank as we were quite low, but once we were full we reversed and let the boat that had been breasted to us pull across onto the water point, he had the other boat tied to him so they both managed to move across together.
Our first lock was Cropredy.

Passing Cropredy Marina.
Kev walked with Jaz from Cropredy lock to the next lock which was Broadmoor lock and then he put her back on board. Once we were through our last lock of the day which was Claydon top lock we decided to find a mooring and we did so just through Hay Bridge. Kev went on bike back to Cropredy for the car and he parked it at Fenny Compton but not in the Wharf Inn car park as they charge £5 per night! He then came back to the boat on bike and we relaxed for the rest of the day in the brilliant sunshine.
The field opposite where the combine had been working when we arrived earlier.
Yesterday  morning we left quite early, in fact it was just after 7.30 am although we werent the only people on the move so early as 2 boats passed us before we left! 
Heading through the once Fenny Compton tunnel, thankfully no boats coming the other way!
Looking back, it is very narrow.
We passed through Fenny Compton where there were plenty of moored boats but we weren't stopping there so it didn't matter to us. We continued on in the lovely sunshine until we spotted what we thought was a familiar boat & crew!
Derwent 6, with Del & Al
A quick chat.
As Kev was chatting I asked him to put the bow onto the towpath so I could get off the boat with Jaz and while Kev continued to chat I walked along the towpath with Jaz. Kev had to bike back for the car so he told del & Al he would see them later for a pitstop! I got back on board with Jaz and then as we were approaching Napton Top lock it was quite overgrown with trees hanging over the canal making it difficult to see ahead, so I went to the bow and the 2 boats that had passed us first thing this morning were telling us to wait as they were pulling off to go to the lock. There was a boat moored before the moorings for the lock and also a boat at the water point which is close to the lock itself. As there wasn't a lot of room we pulled in behind the boat at the water point, the man at the boat said his wife was at the lock helping people through the lock so once we were alongside I held the centre line while Kev took the windlass and went up to the lock. He came back telling me that the woman who was on one of the boats waiting to go down the lock told him that she and her fellow friend who was on the second boat didn't need any help as they wanted to work the locks themselves! So they were on two boats and both single handing, usually people single handing are grateful for help but not these two! By the time they had pratted about there was a queue of 6 boats including us waiting to got down the lock!The woman on the first of the two boats went down the lock and then tied up and came back to help her male friend down the lock! What a pair of prats! 
Water Buffalo, plenty of burgers there!
Napton Bottom Lock
Finally we were down Napton Bottom lock and were able to get moored round the bend on the 48hour visitor moorings. After I had taken Jaz for a quick walk and made Kev a cuppa, Kev got the bike off the boat roof and set off to Fenny Compton for the car which was about 9 miles!  He did manage his pitstop at Derwent 6 for a 45 minute break and then set off on the bike again only to get a puncture! Please no laughing! Anyway he fixed the puncture and finally got back to Napton around 6.30pm, so I met him at the Folly pub with Jaz and we sat in the beer garden with a lovely cold beer. Kev then took Jaz back to the boat and we went inside the pub for something to eat, and very good it was too!
Today we heard the very sad news of a fellow boater Elaine, who had died last night after a very courageous fight with cancer, our thoughts go out to her very loving husband Paul (Nb The Manley Ferry) RIP Elaine.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

All alone in Banbury, but not for long!

Tuesday 16th August

We have been moore in Banbury for a few days and on Saturday my brother John had hired a car to come & pick my mam up.  Kev was going to go back to Hull on Sunday morning with John & my mam as he wanted to go home & bring our car back and also bring the pushbike too. They all left after a cooked breakfast just after 9am and I stayed with Jaz in Banbury, I had spoken to a CRT man to ask if it was ok to stay a couple of extra days as I didn't want to take advantage or get a fine of £25 a day! Yesterday afternoon Kev got back to the boat just after 6pm, bringing with him a new starter battery that he had bought in Hull & also a new thermostat for the freezer. This morning  Kev went to the car and got the bike and we have put it on the roof with a mat under one of the pedals so it doesn't scratch the paintwork, he put some money in the parking meter and then we left Banbury at 9.20am.

 This house has a photo on the outside wall with the owners on it! Very odd!
We were having a lovely cruise in the sunshine with only a slight breeze at times, there has been a steady flow of boats coming from the opposite direction to us which made the locks easy as they were in our favour  each time we approached them there was a boat exiting, even though we only had 3 locks to do today.
The house here at Bourton Lock is empty but owned by boaters.
We managed to get moored at Cropredy where we will stay until tomorrow, we had a bite to eat and then Kev got the bike down off the roof and has gone back to Banbury for the car. We are going to keep the car with us and just move a few miles each time and then Kev will ride the bike back for it. Kev will be going back home at the end of August as he wants to go to the Freedom Festival in Hull, also we have some coal being delivered to our home in Roos and Kev has a dentist appointment too. I will stay with Jaz on the boat.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Back on board again with a passenger!

Thursday 11th August

On Kev's birthday 30th July we were at Banbury, Kev's daughter Colette & her son Joseph had driven from Bristol the day before  (Friday 29th July) and we all went for a meal in the evening. Colette was going to give me a lift back to Hull as she was going to visit her mum & brother Lee, but we would have to travel back to Bristol to pick up her partner Ryan, who had been unable to come with her on Friday. Anyway on saturday morning before we left Kev at Banbury we helped him through the lift bridge & down Banbury lock where we pulled onto the water point at the services there & this was where we said our goodbyes.
Colette, Joseph & birthday boy Kev!
 Kev was heading back to Thrupp to meet Nigel his friend who was going to spend a week on the boat with him, they would be going back onto the Thames & then returning to Thrupp in time for the 7th August as I was returning the next day & would be travelling on train with my mam. Some friends of ours from our village Ron & Denise were going to be staying in their caravan at a small site at Kidlington & they would pick both myself & my mam up from the train station at Lower Heyford.
I had been at home for about 9 days and had several things to do while I was at home one of which was to attend dear Dolly's funeral, which I have to say was a lovely send off to her & at 98 years of age she had a good life but is stilled very much missed!
By the time I had got back on board with my mam Nigel had already left & Kev and Jaz were waiting outside the boat for us & Kev helped us with our things from Denise's car. In the evening we went to the Boat Inn, were we had arranged to meet Ron & Denise for a meal which was very good.
On Tuesday morning we were waiting for Ron & Denise to arrive as we were going to go for a jolly on the boat, they were a bit later than we had expected and it was well after 10 am before they were aboard. They had with them Duke a black Labrador, they were looking after him for some friends while they were on holiday!
Ron & Denise waiting with us at a lock.

Duke, happily sat on Jaz's spot!
Ron decided to take hold of the centre line while we were waiting our turn at a lock!
My Mam enjoying the cruise.Apart from the locks that is!

We had a pleasant day and we had gone through the lift bridge at Thrupp and turned to head back towards Oxford, the weather was lovely and when we got down through Dukes lock (aptly named that day) as we had Duke with us we turned around and headed back to Thrupp where we managed to get moored ok close to the Boat Inn. Later on in the evening we met Ron & Denise in The Boat Inn for a few drinks but my mam decided to stay on board with Jaz. Also in the pub was someone we knew, it was Maffi with his Staffy Molly, he was moored through the lift bridge and has been there  for a while as Kev had seen him  in the Boat Inn while I was at home. When we left the pub we said our goodbyes to Denise & Ron, they will be away for 3 weeks in their caravan and are going to see relatives in Weymouth but we may meet up with them again when they are heading home.
On Wednesday morning I walked to the lift bridge while Kev left the mooring and when he got through the bridge he managed to get moored at the water point as there was nobody on it. The water was very slow to fill and by the time we were finished there was quite a queue! As we pulled off from the water point we passed Nb Milly M, but I never saw Maffi.
NB Milly M
We had a nice cruise and we were going to moor at Lower Heyford and wanted to moor where we had moored previously after Mill Lift Bridge but the water levels were so low that we couldn't get alongside, when I was walking to the lift bridge there was a boat that had just come through it and they got stuck at the towpath side as the man was trying to get back on board after closing the lift bridge but the level was a good 18 inches down. We did learn that CRT were on their way as somebody had left some paddles open along the way, so we carried on up Allens lock where we moored for the night. This morning we left just after 9am and had quite an uneventful cruise until Somerton Deep Lock, I went up to get the lock ready and there was a boat ready to enter the lock to come down and then as they were coming into the lock another boat came along, so I told the lady on the boat entering the lock to get on board and I would do the lock for them as I was sure the other people on the other boat would come and give me a hand with the gates! Oh no they didn't they all sat on their boat and watched me struggle with the heavy gate! My own fault I know for offering to help a fellow boater, but I always like to think we all help each other! I know people don't always like other people working the paddles for them but usually people help with the lock gates! They still sat there on their boat until we were up the lock and leaving, only as we were passing them did they make a move. Kev thanked them for helping me but only got bemused looks from them all while I said a few choice words!
We are now moored at Twyford Bridge for the night.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

A lovely kind lady & some sad news

Thursday 28th July
When we were moored at Thrupp we were close to the busy road  which was quite noisy, so we moved up a bit further and moored near The Boat pub. It was another glorious day and we sat out in the sun with Jaz and around lunchtime we popped over to the Boat pub for a cold beer and then we sat outside again for most of the afternoon. In the evening we went back over to The Boat for a meal which was very good.
On Sunday morning we were waiting to leave but we had arranged to wait for another boater who we had been speaking to on Saturday afternoon. He was on a boat called Tadpole 2 and his name was Pete and his wife was called Val, they were moored outside the other pub The Jolly Boatman and they didn't care for it there so they wanted to move up to the moorings where we were and as the moorings were full they had to stay where they were until we told them they could have our spot. I was just about to walk to see them when Pete came walking towards me to ask if we were ready to leave and so he went back to his boat and then when we saw him coming we let go our mooring ropes and set off to the lift bridge where Thrupp  BW services are situated. Kev walked on to get the bridge up for me and I picked him up after I had got through the bridge. We  got to Shipton Wier lock that takes you onto the River  Cherwell for a short distance to the next lock which is Bakers lock where there was a couple of boats ahead of us one of which was just entering the lock and the other was on the lock landing so we pulled in behind them.
This tree had fallen across the River Cherwell, just enough room though!

 We had a pleasant cruise and moored after Northbrook bridge.
On Monday morning we left at about 9.30 am and I walked up to Dashwood lock where a man was opening the gates for us as he had been moored above the lock and as he had walked to fill the lock he saw me walking towards it, so that was a bit of luck. We wanted water so when we got to the water point at bridge 206 at Lower Heyford there was a boat already on it so we waited for them to finish and then we got the hose out to fill ours, it was vey slow going. I put the kettle on and Kev was talking to a woman across the canal who was tending her plants on her canal side property, she was lovely and also had a boat moored outside her home. She was an American lady called Anita who has lived here with her husband for over 30 years, she was a mind of information about this part of the canal and we had a very long chat with her while waiting for the water to fill. We wanted to know if there was a shop near and she told us there was a small shop about a mile away at Steeple Aston, and she then said she would take me which was very kind of her, and she told me to walk round to her house when I was ready. When the water was full we pulled the boat back away from the water point and had a bite to eat and then I went over to Anita's house and she took me to the shop and also took me for a look at Rousham House, although we only drove to it and turned round. What a lovely lady she was and when we got back to Lower Heyford she dropped me at the bridge and later on Anita came over to the boat with lots of photos of the flooding  1998 & 2007 that occurred close by.
Kev pulling the boat onto the water point.
This was Anita's  cycle pass
We don't see these anymore! Perhaps we should!

Anita waving bye as we left.
This is the property next door to Anita with a pretty boat moored there.
We soon got to Mill lift bridge an as we approached a man walked across it and opened it for us.

A wave to say thank you to him, and a wave back.
This lift bridge would be very difficult if you were a single handed boater as it opens on the other side and the landing is on the towpath side! So you need a kind person to help or wait for another boat to got through! As we got around the bend from the lift bridge we decide to moor for the day, there was no WiFi signal or phone signal here. On Tuesday we had an uneventful cruise and moored after Kings Sutton Lock and then yesterday morning we set off for Banbury and as we wanted some shopping we decided to moor before bridge168 and go to the Morrisons store that Anita had told us about and it was only a 5 minute walk across bridge 168. When we had unpacked our shopping and had a bite to eat and then set off again and stopped at the BW services that are just before Banbury lock. 

Kev going to turn off the water as we are full again!
We got up through Banbury lock and also the lift bridge that is after the lock, and found a mooring close to Marsh footbridge where we stayed last night. This morning we went up to turn at Grimsbury wharf and headed back to moor once again in Banbury but closer to Tom Rolt bridge. We have turned around as tomorrow Kev's daughter, Colette, her partner Ryan & Colette's son Joseph are coming to stay overnight. It is Kev's birthday on Saturday and so we will all go for a meal tomorrow night. Colette is going to Hull on Saturday to stay with her brother Lee so she is going to give me a lift home  so I can see my mam, and do some other things & also I have a funeral to go to. Dolly who was 98 tears old died on Sunday, she was lovely and her daughter Gail is a good friend. I will come back on train to Heyford train station on Monday 8th August and will be bringing my mam with me so she can stay on board for a week or so. Meanwhile Kev will be heading back to Thrupp and his friend Nigel will join him there, they are going to have a cruise back onto the Thames but will probably only get as far as Abingdon.

Dolly earlier this year, RIP lovely lady.
Looked out of the window this morning to see this little acrobat!

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Off the Thames & onto The Oxford canal.

Saturday 23rd July
Well yesterday was our last day on the Thames and we have had a reply nice time, it was nice meeting up with George & Carol on "WB Still Rockin"and we hope to see them again another year. We also met up with Mags & Geoff on "NB Seyella"  a few laughs were shared with them & then we got to see Sue & Vic's new wide beam No Problem XL. So we are now back on the canal system and very strange it is too, slowing down the pace again but it is very nice.
We had a meal in the Feryman Inn at Bablock Hythe and we wouldn't want another! Kev had a Steak & Ale pie which was crap he said there was only a couple of pieces of beef in it & it was just full of thick gravy! I had fish & chips which was ok but only ok!!
It was a lovely day again yesterday and we left Bablock Hythe just after 8.15am and when we arrived at Pinkhill lock it was on self service although there was 2 blokes there who we had seen on their canoes previously. They helped me with the paddles and the lock gates, they had stayed behind the lock cottage on Thursday night and had slept outside in hammocks! Its a good job it hadn't rained, they said the lock cottage was empty but they had plugged their phone chargers into an outside electric point so were very pleased. They also had a shower as there are some showers round the back of the cottage too! They were waiting for the lockie to come before they would leave and as Kev was coming out of the lock and heading to the lock landing to pick me up, the lockie arrived. We didn't have much further to go before we arrived at Eynsham lock, our last lock on the Thames. As we approached the lock landing the lockie there was just walking to the lock gates and opened them so we went straight in. Once we were down through the lock we stopped briefly at the sanitary station and Kev emptied the cassette & also took the rubbish to the bins and then we were on our way again and were soon at the junction for the Oxford canal.
Left to the Oxford canal to the right Kings lock
Kings lock
Very overgrown and narrow

Slow going through Dukes cut
Full of constant moorers, what a way to live!
Our first lock Dukes Cut Lock, onto the Oxford canal.
A boat appeared as we were leaving the lock but he was turning around and heading in the same direction as we were! The next lock is round the bend to the left so I got off once we were through the bridge and went to help the man on the above boat with the next lock and then emptied it again for Kev. 
A very ornate sign.
We had a swing bridge next and then Kev walked with Jaz for a bit then I pulled over to get them both back on board.
This is Yarnton bridge and is very low!
When we got through bridge 224 we moored alongside quite a busy road, we were going to move a bit further on through the next bridge were the Jolly Boatman pub is but we were told by a fellow boater that all the visitor moorings were full so we stayed put, we had a walk to the Coop for some bread & milk and we then went for a pint on the way back, the pub has had a name change from The Wise Alderman to The Highwayman! We have been there in 2006 with our caravan when we were with a few friends who stayed in the pub, it is a good little caravan site. When we stayed on it we were all going to a game fair at Blenheim, the weather then was glorious too!
When we got back to the boat we got the chairs out on the back of the boat and sat in the sun for a while and about 7pm we took Jaz for a walk to the Boat pub in Thrupp and also on the way back stopped at the Jolly Boatman for one too, it was a lovely evening with plenty of people enjoying the weather too, as both pubs were very busy.
A moorhen & her chick opposite our mooring.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

A bit of maintenance

Thursday 21st July
We stayed put for a couple of days so Kev could take advantage of the weather to do some maintenance on the boat. He has painted the base of the gas locker & also painted the bilges in the engine bay. The weather has been glorious but windy and so we couldn't light the BBQ on Tuesday or yesterday! It has been lovely moored on open fields with not many people passing so it was quite private and Jaz could be loose and only on occasion did she have to be on her tether. I had bought a new iPhone 6 when we were moored in Kingston Upon Thames and it has died a death! I like to get photos on it but haven't been able to get any. Th escreen started to flicker on Tuesday and the phone went off but I spoke to Sam who told me how to reboot it and it worked but then yesterday it went off again and now there is just a blank black screen! I have tried all sorts to try to restart it but it is not having any of it! So it looks like a trip to an Apple store when I can get to one, fortunately I can use my iPad for my calls & texts as we are with 02 and they have an App called "TU" and it means that I can still make & accept calls & text too but only when we have wifi.
Anyway this morning I walked up to Rushey Lock with Jaz while Kev set off on the boat to meet me there, he wanted to get rid of our rubbish and so as I got to the lock with Jaz he was ready and waiting for me to fill the lock. As it was almost 9am the lockie appeared as I was setting the lock and so I helped him with the gates to let Kev in the lock and then another narrowboat appeared so once the other boat was alongside us in the lock I helped the lockie with the paddles and the gates before returning to get back on R&R.
Another lovely day, a bit cooler but it was still about 24 degrees and no wind! When we got to Shifford lock we stopped at the water point and topped up, and then made our way down the lock with the narrowboat that we had shared Rushey lock with. After we had gone down Shifford lock we carried on to the moorings at Newbridge where we moored to have a sandwich and take Jaz for a walk.

Tenfoot  Bridge
Leaving Newbridge mooring. The Maybush Inn on the right.

This looks like a hot tub, it is on The Maybush pub land.
When we were moored at Newbridge last week we went to Rose Revived Inn across the bridge for a meal, the meal was fine but the service was crap, with people queueing for ages.
When we got to Northmoor lock the lockie was on so this time Kev went to help with the lock & I brought the boat into the lock and then another boat was coming so we waited for them. We were going to go to the shop at Appleton on the bikes provided but decide that we were ok for provisions.

The 2 bikes you can use to go to Appleton shop!
Not much further on before we arrived at the moorings at The Ferryman Inn at Bablock Hythe and we got moored and then took Jaz for a walk to the pub where we sat outside for a pint! We will go for something to eat there later, they do food 7pm to 8.30pm. We got the chairs out after w returned back to the boat and sat outside with Jaz, it has clouded up a bit but it is still warm.

Kev & Jaz sat outside.