Tuesday, 23 May 2017

and on to Napton

So here we are nearly at the summit of the Oxford canal.  This picture was taken at 1945hrs  with the last of the sunshine.

Yesterday we had a gentle day. A domestic start, watering etc and shopping followed by a short trip out to bridge 100 to a familiar and very peaceful mooring.   This was where Geoff knew we had always had a good TV reception and he was not happy about our new aerials.   I managed a perfect picture on all the main channels with my aerial and he had absolutely nothing.  Much bad language ensued......

We decided to swap the aerials over..  Surprisingly Geoff now had a perfect picture and I had very little....Conclusion.....Faulty aerial you would think but since I was getting some picture I did not think so.   We decided to check all the connections and eventually after a lot of fiddling....and much more bad language (Geoff not me) I had a perfect picture.   So we suspect that there was a fault somewhere in the wiring and maybe our fiddling sorted it...who knows....fingers crossed it lasts.

Today we had our first full length cruising day.....well 4.5 hours.   We needed fuel and I had made some phone calls ahead to check on prices and whether we could declare our own split.
We had already ruled out Braunston Marina  £1.09 and only a 60/40 split.
Napton marina were 1.11 and only a 60/40.   Calcutt Boats was £1.19 and our own split but that involved a slight detour.  Better luck at Wigrams Turn.  They said any split we liked so that was the first stop of the day.

The forecast had been for lots of sunshine and high temperatures but it certainly took a while to get going.  Most of the morning was full cloud and chilly at the back of the boat.   However after the first 6 locks of the Napton flight things had improved and we were lucky enough to find the moorings above the 6th lock empty.   We have since been joined by 2 more boats but it is incredibly peaceful here apart from some quite vociferous birds!

Just 3 more locks tomorrow and then the long meandering stretch of the summit.

Total distance:6.43 miles 
Elapsed time:4h27m48s 
Average speed:1.44 mph (1.66 lock/mph) 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Weekend in Braunston

View from my kitchen window
Friday dawned almost as bad a Wednesday had been so it was another day of snuggling down below....I am getting through my reading material at a rate of knots.

The original plan was to move further in to position ourselves closer to the Gongoozlers Rest for our Saturday cooked breakfast but the weather put paid to that.   Instead we ambled in early on Saturday morning.  

A good breakfast set us up for the day or in my case down for the day.   Cannot shake off my cold and the early start followed by a huge breakfast (Feed a cold...) then the trek up the hill to the village for some shopping, forced me to spend the rest of the day reclining.

Today we went to Braunston church for their Holy Communion at 11....a gentle start to the day.
They have a very lively and fervent lady vicar who is delightful.  

By sheer chance Geoff chose to sit where we found this kneeler.
We stopped for a pint (ginger beer for me!) at the Boat House and were almost swayed by their carvery.  However I had taken some lamb chops out of the freezer and we decided they were more appealing.   I think the Boathouse could be accused of discrimination.   They boldly offer 2 for 1 on all their main courses but they are bumped up prices.....£14 for the carvery....   £7 each if you are a couple which is very reasonable  but if you were on your own that makes it an expensive carvery.

Fridays trip

Total distance:0.98 miles 
Elapsed time:0h33m39s
Average speed:1.75 mph (1.75 lock/mph) 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

After the deluge ...the sunshine

Yesterday has to have been the most dire day we have had cruising for a long while......not that we did any cruising.  We were moored in a lovely spot in the Barby area and for me it was a day of catching up with some work on the computer (Giles accounts!!) in the morning and a delightfully lazy afternoon with crosswords, sudoko, scrabble online and a good book.......

Geoff on the other hand decided to take himself off with Barnaby to walk into Barby.. When he left there was only a little rain so he hoped the forecast would prove incorrect!   By the time they came back they were like two drowned rats......what a pitiful sight.  The rain had set in well and proper and there was no let up all day.

However this morning we awoke to brilliant sunshine so all is right with the world again.
Another short trip, we are getting to Braunston very slowly.   Still trying to sort out a few things on Petroc.   No TV reception from our two new aerials which is driving Geoff mad.......my suggestion that it must be where we are moored did not meet with a good reception........

I also am convinced I keep getting a whiff of gas smell which of course Geoff cannot sample as he has no sense of smell.  Phoned Rob at Clifton and on his advice Geoff has been round all the joints in the gas locker with washing up liquid but couldn't detect any bubbles.   So is it my imagination?

After a short trip we have moored in another peaceful rural spot.   Cows in the field and the spire of Braunston Church in the distance.    Geoff walked in for the paper to have his exercise for the day.

Another peaceful mooring

Barby Pools marina under construction.
We passed this soon to be entrance soon after our departure
Total distance:1.56 miles 
Elapsed time:0h41m35s 
Average speed:2.24 mph (2.24 lock/mph) 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

......and just a little bit further.

Hillmorton Bottom Lock
Hillmorton Bottom Lock (from the bottom!)
A pleasant weekend at Hillmorton, we still had the car so did some last minute grocery shopping on Saturday.

On Sunday we went to Communion at St John the Baptist  church which proved to a lively service.   They have a vicar and a curate just for the one church, however the vicar did say they were a community of 10,000.  They certainly seem to have a lot going on, something on most days of the week.

This was followed by a late Brunch at Badseys Bistro...had to be done.

Monday morning I called Clifton to advise the non operation of one of the new aerials and they were there within the hour and it now seems to be fixed........a faulty lead apparently. 

Today Geoff drove the car back to Clifton and walked back with Barnaby......umbilical cord cut.
and then we moved on a few more paces....not many.    A gentle trip through the 3 locks and quite lucky with the weather, only a couple of light showers...where has all the sunshine gone?

When Geoff went to do his engine checks this evening he discovered that the new bilge pump is not working, so he had a nice job drying out the engine compartment.   Have texted Clifton again.....
However we are not very accessible where we are at Barby and the forecast for tomorrow is dire.  If it is as bad as they say we shall be staying put.

Total distance:2.96 miles 
Elapsed time:2h08m12s 

Thursday, 11 May 2017

A gentle start to cruising for the year

We have escaped!

We have been back on Petroc for about 10 days, however it was interspersed with a family gathering at the weekend.  In between times we have been trying to sort ourselves out and also to wait for several of the winter jobs to be completed on the good ship Petroc.

Rob at the yard had kindly moved us onto the wharf for ease of access with all the comings and goings.  Our new real winter position is way down the new arm.  Once the pilings are completed and maybe a bit more dredging it will be a lovely spot.  At the moment however Barney and I would not be able to negotiate getting on and off.

The yard is due to be very busy tomorrow on the wharf so we decided to beat a hasty retreat and seek some open country side.   We have found a lovely spot in open countryside where will will stay for the weekend.  We have booked to attend a BCF gathering at the Greyhound on Saturday.  Originally we were going to pass there so it seemed a good idea....however the best laid plans etc.  The skipper has decided that instead of going north to the Llangollen to start we will venture down the Oxford......there is even talk of going onto the Thames....we shall see.

We had various jobs done on Petroc before venturing out including having two aerials fitted at either end for TV.   The front one for the main TV appears to work fine but the rear one for my TV gets absolutely nothing........identical aerials.....very disappointing.   Geoff is not a happy bear.  Further trials tomorrow.

Total distance:1.20 miles 
Elapsed time:0h35m34s 
Average speed:2.02 mph (2.02 lock/mph) 

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Kind October weather for our last few days cruising.

Friday night we moored well outside Braunston and I think Geoff harboured thoughts that we would walk in from there for our planned cooked breakfast at the Gongoozlers Rest Cafe!!!

I was not so keen on that idea so Saturday morning earlyish, reluctantly on Geoff's part, we motored further in.  Rather I motored and Geoff and Barnaby walked.......

We had a couple of attempts at mooring before the junction in what are designated as 14 day moorings.   But there was nowhere we could get close enough to the bank........however as we turned right at the junction we found there were lots of spaces and we moored fairly close to the end.

After a good breakfast and a wander round Braunston we returned to Petroc and Geoff discovered he couldn't get a TV picture, so it was up sticks and on we go.    We turned at the marina entrance and went back out past the junction and onto the north Oxford section.    No spaces in our preferred spot with the lovely view of the church so we ended up a bit further out.   Good TV picture here so we stayed!!

We had a mixture of a gentle weekend but interspersed with some cleaning preparatory to abandoning Petroc for the winter.    In my case this meant cleaning the oven....grrrrrh.......

We debated staying over Monday night but the towpath back into Braunston is not the best so we decided to carry on.  We had thoughts of making for the top Hillmorton locks but when we were just short of Barby the view was too good to miss......lovely open field full of cows and the sun was shining.......just right for our last night.  

We discovered that adjacent to us just behind the hedge was the start of yet another marina.....Dunchurch Pools Marina........

At tea time Perentis with friends Dick and Gill aboard pulled up in front of us so it was tea on their boat and after supper, drinks on Petroc.   Dick was disappointed that Geoff was having a dry October........at least that kept the two of them from getting into trouble!!

The weather for our last few days has been really kind.......chillier but plenty of sunshine and only the odd shower when we have been safely tied up.

So today it was the final 3 lock at Hillmorton and the last run of the year.    Geoff and Barney walked the whole way.  This kept them warm but I was a mite chilly steering Petroc.  The early morning mist was a bit slow to clear.   However I discovered that my small hot water bottle tucked under my several layers worked wonders.....

Here endeth out 10th year of cruising..........Back in April 2017 all being well.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Redeemed by a box of Liquorice Allsorts!

Not such a bright start to the day but considerably milder and NO RAIN.

This is the 3rd day in a row of lots of locks........if we hadn't wanted to get back to Cornwall to prepare for the visit of grandchildren we would no doubt have taken a day of rest in between!!

Today was our 44th Wedding anniversary and I had remembered!!  Geoff had failed but was able to redeem himself when he walked to the village store for the paper.........they sold cards and miraculously had a large box of my favourite Liquorice Allsorts

We thought our luck was in as we were joined at the first lock out of Long Itchington by a hire boat with a big crew.....however after the second lock they were stopping at the pub for their cooked breakfast.  We continued on our solitary way but the locks were all set in our favour and we took it gently.  We managed the first 10 locks in just about 2 hours and then cruised very slowly to the junction whilst we had a very welcome coffee and scones.......

Couldn't see the kitchen sink! 
Just the 3 Calcutt locks after that and a run along to bridge 100 (about 1.5 miles outside Braunston) where we planned to moor for the night.  Once again alone in the locks......we picked up a boat ahead  as we passed Ventnor Farm Marina but sadly he turned into Calcutt marina......C'est la vie

Total distance:7.70 miles 
Elapsed time:4h43m21s
Average speed:1.63 mph (4.38 lock/mph)