Thursday, 30 April 2015

Diamond Lock


SAM_0138Another early start from Twyford Wharf and its not long before we pass this Farm shop called The Pig Place . The people that own it still live on a Narrowboat on site and specialize in Pigs, Poultry and Sheep. Having just filled up with food the day before we had no space for any more , but we will be stopping on our way back later in the summer.

SAM_0142We soon reached Nell bridge lock and this is where we drop down onto the river Cherwell section of the canal. After checking the river was not in Red flood or on Amber alert (Carolyn will not go on a river unless it is on Green) we passed through the lock and entered the short stretch to the next lock

SAM_0155Now this is a first for us. Its a diamond shaped lock. The idea is to take extra water out of the river to feed Somerton deep lock which is the next lock on. There is just about enough room to get 2 boats in.

SAM_0162This is something we haven't had to done for a long time. We are queuing for the water point at Aynho wharf. We arrived at the same time as the other boat ,but as they were hirers and had a long way to go we let them fill first.

SAM_0181Inca in the bottom of Somerton lock. It is one of the deepest single locks in the country and is 12 feet deep.

SAM_0184With the large single gate open we eventually emerge from the lock and edge our way out into the sunshine.

SAM_0197After a few hours of cruising its chill time again with our travelling companions and friends Keith and Ann on Narrowboat Oakfield. We picked a lovely sunny mooring just before Upper Heyford with a lovely wide towpath and very few walkers . Carolyn made some delicious Scones with the jam on top of the cream , The Devon way ……Just the ticket !!!


                                                                       Happy Days

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Out of Banbury


IMG_7735After a couple of days on the 48 hour moorings and being a lot lighter in the pocket it was time to leave Banbury and head South on our journey towards The River Thames.

IMG_7749Dropping down in Banbury lock and they say you must always be prepared to share a lock. And with this pair its a pleasure…

IMG_7760With not many places to do a grocery shop over the next week or so we Carolyn did a big shop in Morrison's on the way out of Banbury. Then it was onto new waters for us. The first thing to notice is the amount of lift bridges there are. Fortunately most of them are just for the farmers to move their livestock around and are kept open.

IMG_7767Keith on Nb Oakfield coming through one of the lift bridges. With the wind picking up it became a bit of a challenge to get through some of them without hitting the sides.

IMG_7770Below Banbury most of the locks have single gates on each end which apparently was a cost cutting measure and was a lot cheaper to construct than the usual mitred pairs. Being single some of them are so heavy it takes two people to move them. But with this pair of lock wheelers working  as a well oiled team we soon get through without any problems.

After a busy morning of shopping and cruising we found a lovely mooring near Twyford wharf. Although we have the slight drone of the M40 motorway in the distance it is good enough for a nights mooring.

                                                                                                                  Happy Days

Monday, 27 April 2015

The Angel’s share


IMG_7704This boat was moored in Banbury and i didn't have a clue what the name meant until a very wise old man (Keith cabin boy, Nb Oakfield) explained it to me.  During the ageing process, at least 2% of the whisky in each barrel evaporates through the oak. The distilleries refer to this portion as the Angels’ Share…. Well, Its always been known that whisky is a heavenly drink!

IMG_7713Here we go again , Ann (Captain of Nb Oakfield) leading the way. Its Curry club day at Wetherspoons in Banbury…. Decisions ,decisions. Do we go in or not, of course we did and we even went back for Fish club on the following day. Just the ticket !!!!!!!

IMG_7718This guy poled past Inca with a huge smile on his face. I asked him if he had a problem with his engine and apparently it blew up many months ago. He has pulled and poled it all the way from Oxford and it has so far taken him 4 months. When i asked him how far he was going he replied “Birmingham”. He said he was retired and time didn't matter to him.  Sooner him than me…

IMG_7701A right pair of Comedians in Sunny Banbury.

IMG_7708How much ???? So that's what those posh people in Cropredy paid…Looking good Ann !!!!!!!!!!!

IMG_7699Carolyn and Ann hitting the shops of Banbury and doing what Girls do best .. Shopping and even more shopping

IMG_7720Its now time for the big Spring clean on Inca, both inside and out.While Carolyn has been busy shopping both sides of Inca have now been polished and then had a coat of wax applied. I have now painted the Gunnels and sorted out and cleaned the roof . We are now looking good for our continuing journey towards Bath.

                                                                                                                Happy Days

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Snake Alert

IMG_7670Whilst sat at the back of Inca on a lovely warm afternoon this chap decided to swim out from the bank and have a wander along through the reeds. Of course Carolyn had Kittens when she saw it as she has a massive fear of snakes. I assured her it was just a harmless little grass snake (I think) and there was no chance of it getting aboard Inca .
IMG_7682We are moored opposite the very un welcoming houses at Cropredy on the 24 hour moorings where they have these lovely looking Gazebos. Its the place where they have signs that ask you to move your boat away if you are going to run your engine to charge your batteries ,so as not to disturb the poor old residents who just happen to live next to a canal that has been there for hundreds of years.It was funny though how one of the residents spent a good hour or more cutting his lawn on a beautiful sunny evening with the most noisiest petrol mower we have ever heard.
IMG_7688After a night at Cropredy and an early start making as much little noise as possible so we didn't disturb the locals we dropped down through the picturesque Cropredy lock and then onto the service point to fill with water and get rid of the you know what.
IMG_7694Entering Banbury and they are building a massive building which is going to be used to store film props. These guys were trying to sort out the drains.
IMG_7698Eventually into Banbury and moored near Tom Rolt bridge Fortunately all the moorings in the town are 48 hours during the Summer, Which means Carolyn wont have too much time to hit the shops. But i bet she will have a good old go at trying to empty them.

                                                                             Happy Days

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Silly Hats


IMG_7663    Moored at Wormleighton Hill and when the sun comes out there is only one thing to do, and that is to get out the silly hats and keep cool.(looking good Ann)

IMG_7664                                        More silly hats .When you’ve had a few sherberts you just don't care how daft you look. ( Do you Carolyn !!)

                                                                                                               Happy Days

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Mini Marina


IMG_7625After mooring just below engineers lock on the Napton flight we met up with our good friends Keith and Ann on Nb Oakfield. We were invited aboard for drinks and had a good catch up on what had happened since we last met. Monday morning and Keith kindly helped us up through the lock and on our way to the summit of the South Oxford canal.

IMG_7635The top lock of The Napton flight at Marston Doles and Carolyn is getting back into the swing of locking.

IMG_7637There is always a good variety of classic cars at the house next to the top lock.

IMG_7641This is one way of not paying for your Canal and River Trust License fee.

IMG_7649The farmer who apparently doesn't give a toss what he does has dug out a ditch from the canal and put a Narrowboat into this field, he has then reinstated the canal bank and left the boat in its own self contained mini marina..

IMG_7654Damage has been done to the canal bank, So it will now be interesting to see what action Canal and River Trust will take against him.

IMG_7658One of the many tilting Pill boxes on the South Oxford canal.

We are now moored near to the bleeding great mast on the summit on The South Oxford canal and are awaiting the arrival of Keith and Ann on Nb Oakfield for a chill out and the odd glass wine…


                                                                                Happy Days

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Animal Rescue


IMG_7592After taking back the hire car we had a day to kill in Wigrams marina. I must say that it seems to be a very well run and friendly marina , although we did get told off for putting up our rotary washing line on the tiller arm.

IMG_7597On Sunday morning we pulled pins at 09.15 and left the security of the marina then headed towards The Napton flight of locks. On route Carolyn spotted a lamb that was stuck in the mud and being very weak was slowly dropping down into the canal and starting to drown. We immediately pulled into the offside and i jumped off while Carolyn controlled Inca. After struggling to get to the lamb I eventually pulled it out of the canal and carried it back to the field. Being very weak it took about 15 minutes to pick its self up and gain a bit of strength to get back on its feet.

IMG_7600A bit wobbly , but hopefully it made a full recovery….

IMG_7609Volunteer lockkeepers …. Who needs them.. With a very heavy paddles on the bottom lock of the Napton flight these 2 seem very happy to carry on drinking their coffee while watching Carolyn struggle…some volunteers are very helpful and are a credit to volunteers , but these 2 were just a waste of time..

IMG_7610There is now a sign telling you to lift fenders at the second lock up on the Napton flight.

IMG_7611As you can see it is very tight ,and if we had left our fenders down we would have been well and truly stuck.

IMG_7617Funny looking Cows…In fact they are Buffalo and their meat can be bought from the Shop in Napton.

We are now moored just before the engine arm on The Napton flight and will spend the night here before moving onto the summit of The South Oxford canal.

                                                                       Happy Days

Friday, 17 April 2015

Devon Bound


After a year of not driving a car i thought it would take me a bit of time to get used to driving again, but surprise surprise as soon as i sat in the drivers seat of the hire car it just seemed so normal, and before long we were bombing down the motorway at 90 mph 70mph. With Hamish in a Dog hotel (Well that's what we told him it was) we have a busy few days back down in Devon. I haven't been back to Devon for a year so I'm sure we are going to have a very busy time ahead of us

IMG_7550As soon as we arrived back in Devon my number one Sister rang to say she had a BBQ on the go. So there was no chance of us missing that..

IMG_7559With Curly on camera duty she soon gets a photo of my number one Mum Marlene Joan and number one Sister Sharon.

IMG_7554Meanwhile Brother in law Philip was happily burning the food.

IMG_7562Thanks for taking this Photo Curly. Ok , so i might have had a glass or three of the red stuff

IMG_7573It was also good to meet and catch up with ex workmate and good friends Richard and Lin and have a very enjoyable lunch with them at their house in the sunny village of Rattery. Carolyn took a shine to their new Puppy Max, but there is no way that she is having one…

IMG_7570More good friends and a very enjoyable night out. I worked with Tony for many years before he retired over 11 years ago. It was great to catch up with him and and his wife Maureen. Tony taught me everything i know about being Thrifty and i owe a lot to him….

In total we had 12 different appointments between us which included Doctors ,Nurses, Dentists ,Eyes ,etc. etc. to fit into our short trip to Devon. We also had a Lovely meal with Carolyn’s Brother Michael and his wife Lorraine at their house in Totnes,and then a trip with Carolyn’s other brother Basil and his wife Jenny to Avon Mill near Kingsbridge. On our last night Niece Sally invited us to her house in sunny Paignton for a lovely Chinese takeaway which is one of my favourites. Carolyn then had a chance to catch up with her sister Janet who was over from her home in France before we headed back up North to Wigrams Marina.

After a very busy few days it was so good to get back to Narrowboat Inca. We picked up Hamish from his Dog Hotel and now have a couple of days in Wigrams marina before we start our 2015 cruise down The South Oxford canal then onto the Thames and finally to The Kennett and Avon canal.

                                                                                                                         Happy Days

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Disco Very


IMG_7459After leaving Braunston we picked up a mooring at Fox’s Gate. The first job after mooring was to clean up the ash pile that someone had left in the middle of the towpath. We have an ash tin that we put the hot ashes in . Once they have cooled down they can then be bagged up and disposed of at a refuse point. But it seems that some boaters are just bone idle lazy gits.

IMG_7474The Disco boat , I wonder (curly) how many people call it Disco very .

IMG_7510We are now entering Wigrams marina where Inca will stay for the next week or so .We have a hire car booked and are going back down to Devon for our annual medical check ups and to catch up with family and friends.

IMG_7531All settled and docked on our berth. We are now on mains electric and it comes free with the mooring fee of £10 a night. So needless to say we are giving it a bit of a hammering before we leave, with the washing machine and tumble dryer running flat out. We also have a couple of electric heaters ,so we have let the solid fuel stove go out. Hopefully we it shouldn't be lit again this year. I have made a bit of a cock up and still have 6 bags of coal on the roof which will have to stay there all summer.

IMG_7538The view across the marina. We have talked about spending the winter months in a marina and i must admit life would be a lot easier with all the facilities marinas have to offer.

We are now spending our last night on-board Inca in Wigrams marina and have an early start in the morning for our annual trip back down to Devon.

                                                                                            Happy Days