Thursday, 30 May 2013

Sweet Satellite

Martin arrived at 9:30 am as planned and fitted our satellite package and spent quite some time with us going through what the receiver does and how to point the dish to to the correct bit of the sky. We now have hundreds of free channels at our disposal ...if I can point the dish correctly after we move.

The Candy Boat pulled in behind us and set out his confections, we resisted for all of 10 minutes then we were compelled  to go and make a purchase we bought:

Rhubarb Fudge
White chocolate mice
Aniseed balls
Parma Violets
Acid drops
Lime sweets
Ginger bottles

After lunch we filled the water tank and said goodbye to Thrupp. We are now going north as it's a bit early for the Thames, we need to be in Windsor around the end of July for a wedding.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013


Today we got the bus which stops at the top of the road into Kidlington to post a package back home to Nikita and to pick up some groceries. We will be leaving Thrupp tomorrow after the satellite man has installed our new dish and receiver. We have enjoyed our week here and would recommend it to all, for its friendly boating club, peaceful location, pleasant surroundings, a couple of good boozers( well one that I have been in was good) I will try the other  The Jolly Boatman tonight.

I was thinking to myself earlier about some of the things that amuse me while cruising, one of them is Reeds because they appear to do a little dance (just like those battery-operated Sunflowers in a pot you may have bought for mothers day)  and wave as you pass them by, the closer to the middle of the canal that they can encroach the more energetic the dancing and the waving get, then they are still again until the next narrowboat comes along, I'm sure if I turned the engine off and listened for a while I might just hear them giggle a little too.

Went to The Jolly Boatman and look at what was on the pumps
Okells is a brewery on the Isle of Man, I had the Tiger beer from Leicester a nod to their rugby team I think.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Bank Holiday Monday

The bank holiday Monday was mostly warm and sunny so we decided as we still had the rental car we would have another trip to Crick Boat Show where we bought Mooring and fender ropes, 4 x Porthole Doilies, a clock, and 2 x CO2 detectors.
We did go aboard a brand new boat, although it was ever so modern and shiny it didn't have as many of our requirements as Festina Lente.

There is a gardening shop next door to the boat show which was ideal as Sue wanted some herbs and a planter for the roof.

I had a trip to Screwfix earlier to get a grease gun, this I used on the top tiller bearing which is quite worn and will need replacing at some point this season. Not sure if they are a standard size or not so will seek advice and probably get an engineer to do the job for me.

Today it is now 4pm and it hasn't stopped raining since we got up. We took the rental car back to Enterprise what a great service their free pick up and return service is. If you are in Thrupp their depot is at Oxford Airport which is 4 minutes down the road.

I replaced the two-bedroom reading lights with the LED ones we purchased at Crick,  my assistant  Sue is holding one of the old ones up to show the different size. I also cut the rubber matting (not very successfully) to size and fitted it in the cratch area.

Sue baked a loaf this morning and now a joint of beef is in the oven roasting for tonight's tea.

Sunday, 26 May 2013


Had a super day out with our friends Glyn and Christine at the England v Barbarians rugby game at Twickers. England had a very youthful looking team out and put the Barbarians to the sword running in winners by 40 - 12, some promising players for the future.

This guy got the biggest cheer of the afternoon after streaking from one end of the pitch to the other evading tackles from the stewards and diving across the try line.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Crick show

Went to the boat show at Crick today. We spent a good 5 hours having a good look through all the exhibitor's wares and spent a little more than we ought.

Ratchet Windlass
Two L.E.D.  reading lights for the bedroom
Two fenders
Mooring pin
Mooring spike
Rubber matting
Chimney Hat
Flue cover
Nickleson Guide to the Thames
Non-slip mats
Ordered a new mattress
Ordered Freeview Satellite dish and receiver.
Pressies for Nikita and Christine.

We had a chance meeting with a couple of boaters Barry and Pauline while sharing a table drinking cup's of tea, we had a good chat and a laugh, phone numbers exchanged and invitations to visit their boat and marina when we pass their way. These encounters have happened to us a few times now it must be a boaty thing as everyone being so chilled out and contented with life they can just open themselves up to total strangers but kindred spirits.

Caught Terry Darlington buying pork scratchings in one of the food marquees, how cool was that.

We didn't go on any of the brand new showboats that were on show our way of thinking is we can't afford them so we don't want to see what we are missing, but we sat on the bank looking at how gorgeous they looked in their pristine paintwork, one week with me at the helm through Braunston tunnel would soon change that.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Floating Gongoozler's

Gongoozler is a term used for those people who enjoy watching canal activity, especially around locks. I have also heard the Gongoozler term used to describe those on the towpath that would peer into windows of moored boats.

If this is the case then it is the boater who is the most proficient Gongoozler, hardly a boat passes by without the helmsman taking a peek in the porthole and being met with a cheery wave, and I must be the biggest Gongoozler of them all.

I'm afraid my head and eyes swivel, (involuntary I must add) into boats as we pass as though magnetised by the great sheets of steel. I don't understand why I do it maybe I just want someone to be home and wave or maybe I am just searching for ideas to fit our own bateau.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Thrupp again.

Not much to blog as we are back in Thrupp after cruising down to Dukes Cut  to wind the boat and return to Thrupp, we have ordered a hire car from Enterprise who will pick us up from the The Boat Inn. The reason for the hire car is because we are going to the England V Barbarians rugby match at Twickenham with our friends Glyn and Christine on Sunday and we also want to go and have a look at the Crick boat show either Saturday or Monday.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013


Did a few hours cruise and are now moored at Thrupp the only mishap on the way was when after helping another boat up through the lock and waving them off, we  started closing the gate before realising we needed it open to get into the lock, what a pair of doughnuts, we were glad there was no one else around to laugh at our feckless amateurism. Still it made us giggle!

Our canal cruising guide says some of the best Oxfordshire canal countryside can be seen between Heyford and Thrupp, although very nice the old cement works spoils it a little, we preferred the rolling open vista's around Napton.

Thrupp has an active canal cruising club whose members maintain the moorings and keep the place very tidy and attractive with colourful displays of plants in tubs and borders.

Coming into Thrupp we were helped through the lift bridge by Maffi. We managed to get on the end of the last of the 48 mooring spots although 10 foot of Festina is in the long term mooring permit holders only section, hope this doesn't offend anybody. I can remember as a teenager arguing with Mr Plod because when I had parked my car my rear tyre was a fraction of an inch onto a yellow line. Jobsworth gave me a ticket.

Lift Bridge

We have decided we will go to The Boat Inn later for our tea, an episode of Morse was filmed here and I would like to try an ale that Endeavour favoured.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Descending into the Thames Valley

Moved further south on the Oxfordshire canal today total of 8 miles and 5 locks. We struggled a bit opening a swing bridge, every time Sue pulled on it before she could get it to the critical point where the counter balance weight takes over it pulled her upwards so I roped the boat to the bank and pushed one end of the bridge up while Sue pulled the other,  a passer by helped Sue keep it in position while I got the boat underneath.

Nee Allen

First one of these we have seen the cull must be working.

Leaking gates

Locks are getting deeper as we descend into the Thames Valley
 Clematis on the bridge

It's been another peaceful day on the canal passing through open countyside that closed in on us now and again. We are moored for the night below Old Brighton Bridge near the village of Tackley. Sue has her fishing gear out so I went for a 5 mile cycle along the tow path to The Rock of Gibraltar  for a glass of Lancaster Amber

Sue cooked the pork belly for our tea  and we have pork chops for tomorrow,what with the pork sausages we had yesterday I'll be growing a curly tail. 

We have let the Epping range fire go out as it has been so mild the last couple of days and with the stove still in it gets to warm to sleep.

Monday, 20 May 2013

The Pig Farm

Another grey day so the morning was spent doing a few chores, hand washing for Sue and the hoovering for me. We eventually pulled the pins at lunchtime and started our cruise although still overcast it is very mild.

Soon we are passing under the M40 motorway again for the third time this trip, my  Pearson Canal Companion  likens the M40 as a kick in the groin to the exquisite Oxfordshire countryside, agreed but a necessary evil.

We stop at The Pig Place. where we buy pork belly,chops and sausages.They also sell coal,gas, wood, canal ware and groceries to passing boaters.They cook  pork and apple burger's on site as well so we  had one for our lunch and it was gorgeous. 

Sue love's pigs

Moored at the farm there's another boat breasted up to Festina Lente and her name is Festina Lente also.

As we pass Ayhno Weir lock where the river Cherwell crosses the canal
 (oddly diamond shaped apparently to help with water levels as it's only one foot deep ) we are thrust  into Northamptonshire for less than a mile and then back to Oxfordshire. We are now moored for the night just above bridge 192 adjacent to Wharf Farm. A nice chap from the boat behind asked if it was  ok for him to run his generator from 6pm till 8pm, how thoughtful, it's on as I write this and it's low hum is not obtrusive at all. Will be having those sausages we got from the farm for our tea.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Kings Sutton

Weather is warm and sunny with the odd cloud to spoil the light but without any breeze it is still warm in the shady bits. After a walk into town for milk and the paper we set off, Sue lifted the lift bridge in the town and we soon left  Banbury and it's housing estates and industrial area  behind and we were soon back in the countryside where the canal continues through the Cherwell valley. We have moored in a nice rural area although the peace is broken every now and then by the trains on the railway line that runs along the canal.

Me on the bicycles King Sutton in the background.

We pulled over to let this group of young canoeist through.

Sue has made a Sunday roast with all the trimmings and it was excellent and she has been unsucsessful on the fishing front

I decided to drain any accumulated water out of the fuel system this only means undoing drain screws on the water separator and the fuel filter and removing any water. That bit was fine but then you require to bleed air from the fuel system by breaking a seal on top of each receptacle the water separator was easy a 13 ml socket did that but I required a 13ml spanner for the awkwardly positioned nut on the filter which I didn't have in my tool kit. So I had to go and borrow one from another boater. It still  took for ages to bleed the system and the engine to start, and I thought for a moment I might just need the services of RCR. Note to self don't start tinkering down the engine ole when you are in the middle of nowhere.

Our neighbours tonight.

Another bright note is Fulham thrashed Swansea 0-3 away from home in the last game of the season.

Saturday, 18 May 2013


Leaving Cropredy on a very grey day although still in pleasant surroundings. Sue had help in a couple of locks from an elderly gentleman who resembled this guy who sheared his sheep dog in the Spec Saver advert on TV.

 It is not until we pass under the M40 motorway bridge and through Hardwick lock that urban  Banbury comes in to view Banbury is a market town that has embraced the canal and very smart it looks too with new shopping centre and attractive canalside walkways.

Here we spent a while in the historic Tooley's Boatyard which  has been at this site since 1790.

Afterwards we did some shopping and Sue bought some maggots for her rod  and I bought a couple of tyres and inner tubes for the treader.

I spent hour fitting the new rubber rings to the bike and I had a little ride before dinner. Can't get a signal for the TV where we have moored (large industrial bakery unit opplosite us) so we are going to miss the eurovision song contest.. hooray!

But the phone signal is excellent.

Friday, 17 May 2013


Awoke to grey sky's , after our porridge we prepared the boat for the off, cruised through more idyllic countryside with rolling hills,  and the odd farm with livestock lazing along the canal bank, the lambs seem to have coiled springs in their limbs the way they bounce when at play.

We went through ten locks in all and we worked out a system where I could help Sue with the heavier gates and paddle gear. This works particularly well when descending but proves more difficult when ascending a lock.

We crossed the border from Warwickshire and are now in Oxfordshire and have moored on a 24hr mooring in Cropredy.

Our mooring is on the right adjacent to the large tree.

Cropredy is a quiet village of attractive stone and  has a couple of pubs, a tea room, church St Mary the Virgin and a Spar store. We popped into the The Red Lion which is opposite the graveyard where we both sampled a London Glory.

The Red Lion

Making a fuss of the pub dog

Headstone view from the Red Lion
St Mary the Virgin 

Thursday, 16 May 2013

On the Move

Wednesday:- Moved out of the marina and moored about 2 miles down the Oxford canal.
Haven't shaved since I retired.
Taking on water.
Sue's on pints I'm on half's

There wasn't any phone or data signal so I was unable to update the blog but we were nearer the Pub so we had our tea there. I was looking forward to the faggots but they weren't on the menu this night so Cajun chicken for me and Chili and rice for Sue.

Thursday: We were up early to super sunshine so after breakfast we made our quiet meandering way through the beautiful Warwickshire countryside and stopped for lunch close to  Priors Hardwick.

Sue traversing one of the nine Napton Locks
 These locks are so narrow there isn't enough room to have our fenders down.
 Moored for lunch
We are in the middle of nowhere here,there aren't any humans for miles around

Views over the hedge

Looking back the way we came

  as the day was so nice afterwards we pushed on to  Fenny Compton.

Inquisitive youngster

We are now moored for the night  close to The wharf Inn. At this pub as well as the usual food and drink ladies can get their nails done, have a hair cut and men can have a hot towel shave and they do the laundry also, that's diversification at work. Oh and they have a man creche from 9am to 11pm !
After a quick drink The Old Speckled Hen we walked to the co-op in the village for some supplies  Sue has cooked us scrumptous chicken and rice for our tea.

We travelled about 10 miles on the canal today or 5 as the crow flies.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

A bit Winnie the Pooh

Got up this morning to more visitors to the kitchen window.

This fellow was told to go round to the other side of the boat to the side hatch if she wanted breakfast

The wildlife around here is obedient 

After breakfast we moved down to the fuel pontoon to fill with diesel and get a bag of coal. Didn't think we would be buying coal in May! but forecast is for rain and gales overnight and getting cooler the rest of the week.

Fuel for propulsion and for power  are at different rates but it all goes into the same tank so you have to sign a fuel declaration form  on what percentages you use for which, a bit confusing but the alternative is to pay duty on all the  fuel so it seems to work ok.

We buy the bags in 25kg bags and then decant it into smaller bags and store these under the dinette table floor, There are 10 coals ber bag and two bags last 24 hours if the grate door is closed and the damper at its lowest setting. If we cook on the stove in the evening it uses an extra bag.

This means we could dump the cumbersome coal scuttle.

The rain has arrived so I will watch one more episode of 24 hours then series 6 will be complete. Sue is baking a loaf so a pleasant aroma is permeating the cabin.

Outside it's starting to get a bit like reading my favourite Winnie the Pooh story " The Blustery Day" but inside we are warm and cozy.

Monday, 13 May 2013

More rain.

Todays guests at the kitchen window.

As we prepared the boat for the off this morning  a big black cloud with rain and  wind descended on us so we went to the pub instead.

Inside the Folly Inn

The old bakery Napton

According to the weather forecast tomorrow is going to be worse than today so I plan to take the bus into Leamington Spa for  new tyres and inner tubes. for the bicycle.