Monday, 20 February 2017

Good boat names 1

 

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                                                                                                       Just loved this boat name ..

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                                                                                                           That’s good enjoy it.

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                                                                                                  Sometimes it can be.

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             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.

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                                                                                                        Carolyn liked this one.

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                                                                                                         Went to Sea ..

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                                                                                           For some reason I liked this one…

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                                                                     We thought this was brilliant. The boat was called Gulliver.

                                                                                                        Happy Days

Friday, 17 February 2017

Hamish sorted

 

IMG_1025We 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.

IMG_1026When 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.

IMG_1052Not only are they doing the marina but they also seem to be doing the canal as well . Mind you this is the so called centre of the canal system so it has to be in tip top condition..

IMG_1028We 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.

IMG_1023It 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 .

IMG_1043The 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.

 

                                                                                                               Happy Days

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Ghosts and echoes

 

IMG_0896Just 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.

IMG_0999We 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.

IMG_1019A 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.

IMG_1020Come 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.

IMG_1034After 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.

 

                                                                                                     Happy Days

Monday, 13 February 2017

Mint sauce

 

IMG_0961With 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.

IMG_0963You may remember that I put up a picture of this tree a few weeks ago for Ann on Nb Oakfield. Well here it is again with the Sun coming up behind it.

IMG_0970As 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” .

IMG_0978It’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.

IMG_0980Reaching 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.

IMG_0990Halfway 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.

IMG_0992Because the CRT guy had gone ahead it meant that a lot of the pounds were low . But in the end we reckoned that it put another hour on the cruise which wasn’t so bad.

IMG_0993At 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 !

                                                                                         Happy Days

Friday, 10 February 2017

Bye bye Banbury

 

IMG_0917While 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.

 

IMG_0920After dropping down the lock we used the services before heading down to the winding hole to turn which is about a mile away.

IMG_0925When we got back we were met by friends Bob and Jan who very kindly helped us work up the lock.

IMG_0930We 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.

IMG_0932I think it’s probably a good job we are leaving Banbury as it looks like some Aliens have landed here.

IMG_0933First 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.

IMG_0937We 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 .

IMG_0941In control (well sort of in control ,good job Her Ladyship doesen’t read the blog) and Carolyn brings Inca in to the last lock before Cropredy.

IMG_0951Passing up through the lock at Cropredy and this time we have no time to stop as we are on our way to meet up with friends at Braunston.

IMG_0954Heading 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.

                                                                                                                       Happy Days

Monday, 6 February 2017

St Marys



IMG_0892We 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.

IMG_0854On 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.

IMG_0871As 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.  IMG_0876The view towards the alter from high up in the gallery.

IMG_0872The domed ceiling which is supported by the twelve columns.

IMG_0879We spent 10 minutes sitting in the pews up in the gallery just soaking up the atmosphere of the church.

IMG_0882The 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.

IMG_0875The 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.

IMG_0894As 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. 
                                                                                                            
                                                                    Happy Days

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Ride a Cock Horse

 

IMG_0842Still in Banbury and I’m always amazed at the appearance of the Banbury cross because for some reason I always expected a large cross and not something stuck in the middle of a roundabout on a busy road . Although Banbury has had many crosses over the years the current Banbury Cross is a stone, spire-shaped monument decorated in Gothic form. Statues of Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George V were added in 1914 to commemorate the coronation of George V. The cross is 52 feet 6 inches (16 m) high, and topped by a gilt cross.

The words of the Banbury Cross nursery rhyme are often attributed to Queen Elizabeth I of England (the fine lady) who travelled to Banbury to see a huge stone cross which had just been erected. The words 'With rings on her fingers' obviously relates to the fine jewellery which would be worn by a Queen. The words 'And bells on her toes' refer to the fashion of attaching bells to the end of the pointed toes of each shoe - this fashion actually originates from the Plantagenet era of English history but was associated with the nobility for some time! Banbury was situated at the top of a steep hill and in order to help carriages up the steep incline a white cock horse (a large stallion) was made available by the town's council to help with this task. When the Queen's carriage attempted to go up the hill a wheel broke and the Queen chose to mount the cock horse and ride to the Banbury cross. The people of the town had decorated the cock horse with ribbons and bells and provided minstrels to accompany her - "she shall have music wherever she goes". The massive stone cross at Banbury was unfortunately later destroyed by anti - Catholics who opposed the notion of pilgrimages.

IMG_0844 Next to the busy roundabout with the banbury cross is this lady on a Horse …..   Ride a cockhorse to Banbury Cross,To see a fine lady upon a white horse.

IMG_0846 With  rings on her fingers ……

IMG_0845and bells on her toes, She shall have music wherever she goes.  That was for Curly.

IMG_0860After a walk around the town it was then time to catch up with friends Bob and Jan .We first met them a few years ago when we shared the Hatton flight of locks .They are also boaters but are a bit more sensible than us and live in their house in the Winter and then spend the Summer on their boat called Small Dreams. It was good to have a catch up and we have arranged to meet up again in a couple of days time. With Carolyn still hitting the fitness centre every day and sometimes even twice a day it seems like we could well be here for sometime, although I’m sure I will start to get itchy feet before long.

                                                                                                      Happy Days