Saturday morning dawned bright and early and I set off at 9am leaving the ladies to get their breakfast, I was just congratulating myself on successfully single handing through Somerton Deep Lock, I popped the boat into reverse while I shut the gate, jumped back on to get under way, into forward gear… That’s funny, we’re still going backwards, damn, broken gear cable! What to do?
Down the engine hole, attach string to gear linkage, out through floor plate and hey presto, we have lift off! Pull string to go forward, can still use gear lever to engage neutral or reverse… Result!
We managed to make good progress catching up with another Heyford resident on nb Albert out for a weekend jaunt.
The Cherwell was fairly high at Aynho but we had no problem at the weir or with the headroom under Nell Bridge, however after that the wind became quite lively but there was only one time when it pinned us to the piling after coming out of a lock. I’m afraid we had to keep our speed a bit higher than normal to maintain steerage past moored boats, so sorry to any who I inconvenienced.
We reached Banbury safely and while Joy & Allison went shopping, I managed to buy a new gear cable from Tooley’s Boatyard and restored the gearshift to normal operation.
I finished work at lunchtime Friday and we drove down to meet Allison at Oxford station, whisked her back to the boat and set off in a northerly direction at half past three.
We wanted to make it to Banbury on Saturday in time for the girls to do some shopping so we pressed on, pausing only to pass the time of day with boating friends in the Heyford area and made it to Somerton Bridge before 9pm and spent the night without much disturbance from the trains on the embankment beside us.
To those of our readers who haven’t heard the news, and to excuse a lack of blogging recently, Joy had a TIA (mini-stroke) about 6 weeks ago which resulted in a stay in Horton Hospital, Banbury for a couple of days and bringing our boat down to Banbury (thanks Maffi plus Carol & Ted) so that she could convalesce a bit nearer to civilisation while I went back to work.
The concern & kindness of all our friends has been heart-warming and we sincerely thank all those who have given practical help or supported us in any way. Thankfully Joy is doing OK and has recovered enough for us to start our summer cruise more or less as planned as I begin my annual leave from work.
I say more or less, as we intended to meet our friend Allison at Heyford railway station & start the cruise of the Thames Ring from there, so we boated down there in a couple of hops but then were so frustrated by the lack of mobile broadband that we decided to move on to Thrupp so we were even nearer Dukes Cut. Our local spies told us that there was no space at Thrupp so we moored at Shipton and in the morning, that jolly good chap Maffi (and his friend Sue) helped us out again by not only moving the boat to Thrupp canal cottages but went above & beyond the call of duty by filling us up with water and doing a pump out for us.
So.. a Good Idea eh? … Err, no! Before we arrived at Thrupp we had had a lot of the wet stuff and it transpired that the Thames was on ‘Red Boards’ and looked likely to stay that way for some days. So a change of plan was hatched, head off the opposite way!