Much as I loved Clattercote my new favourite has to be Itchington Bottom (Lock) can you imagine giving that as your address! It was bad enough when we were first married and lived at Bottom Flat, which people though weird until we explained it was below the Top Flat!
Anyway, I digress, as ever. This morning we said goodbye to the Oxford Canal, and entered that comparative motorway, the Grand Union, it really seemed that wide! We soon encountered our first broad lock, with its strange looking, though well maintained paddle-gear, which we shared with a hire boat going back into Calcutt Boats, then we shared a couple of locks with nb Henry George before they went into Napton Marina the canal seemed quite deserted for a while and we stopped opposite the Boat Inn at Birdingbury Bridge and enquired if there was a local shop nearby as we had been plagued with flies ever since the sheep fields and needed some fly spray, it seemed that the nearest shop was a couple of miles so we passed up on walking that far and had brunch instead.
There was still nothing else headed our way so we were resigned to tackling the 8 Stockton Locks solo, there were boats coming up the locks when we arrived so we waited and helped them through and fortunately for us along came nb Katherine to share the lock with us. As it transpired it was fortunate for them too as their gearbox was becoming more & more reluctant to drive or stop them.
After the first couple of locks Joy told me they had a problem (and volunteered me to look at it) so we roped the two boats together and breasted up through the remaining locks with Graham driving our boat while Judy, Joy and me operated the locks while another kind gentleman set the locks ready for us and for others all the way down.
This worked out famously and by the time we reached the Blue Lias Inn, where we moored up, we were firm friends. I checked out their gearbox and found it was lacking in oil so after topping that up with 10w/40 and ourselves with Speckled Hen we continued our journey with them right down the Welsh Road bridge where we have stopped tonight.
Fear not we found a shop near the quaintly named Itchington Bottom Lock AND they sold fly spray.
Bones… you can be proud of Joy she has been taking the boat in and out of locks on her own today, I’m very proud of her too ♥ ♥ ♥