Fenny Compton to Napton

DSCN0256As promised this morning dawned sunny and bright, but by the time we had filled up with water and disposed of the rubbish the clouds had covered the sun as we wound our way along the summit of the South Oxford canal. We spotted some lop eared sheep and a curiously immured boat.

Just as we arrived at Marston Doles, however the sun came out for us to descend the nine locks of the Napton flight. The Napton buffalo were enjoying the sunshine too and it was nice to see the lock wing wall that collapsed last year had been repaired over the winter and a couple of volunteer lock keepers were on duty to help us through the two penultimate locks.


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IMG_20150515_160511984We found a sunny mooring just around the corner from the locks where Catty lay on roof enjoying the sun and I read a ‘Hamish Macbeth’ book while Joy prepared a tasty lasagne and the local Jacob’s sheep came down for a drink.



Fenny Compton to… err…Fenny Compton

DSCN0244We have spent a fairly quiet few days here at Fenny, not only is it one of our favourites as it’s a lovely sunny spot, Catty can keep herself busy inspecting the hedgerows and we spoilt ourselves by eating out at The Wharf Inn twice! We had only intended to indulge once but my erstwhile colleague, Colin (aka Digger) came to visit yesterday  and as it was his wife, Maureen’s birthday it would have been rude not to join them and their friend Philippa for a meal.


Yesterday morning  we heard the sound of oars, and were surprised to see three skiffs? which would have looked more at home on the Thames passing by, shades of Three Men in a Boat!

Today’s weather was pretty damp and miserable, so we didn’t feel too bad spending the day in Banbury (thanks to Digger for a lift into town) getting the laptop checked over at PC World as it had been playing up lately [anyone know what BAD_POOL_CALLER means?], visiting the optician to get new lenses fitted to my glasses and they kindly put the old lenses in another frame so that I have a spare pair. We visited Steve Betts butchers and the market for veg before catching the bus back to Fenny.

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Lovely weather for ducks!

The weather forecast is better for tomorrow so it’s Napton here we come.

Cropredy to Fenny Compton

We spent a pleasant weekend in Cropredy visiting the Brasenose Arms both Saturday and Sunday!

Barney Newman was performing on Saturday night and very good he was too.

We got chatting to another boater who it transpired was moored behind us and it was only when we returned to the boat we realised that he was the new owner of nb Katherine which we had shared many locks with back in 2010.

After our visit to the marina we were now facing the wrong way and had to go back to Cropredy winding hole to turn around and moor up on the 48 hour moorings.

On Sunday night we took part in their quiz with our friend and fellow boater June and didn’t disgrace ourselves but neither did we win.

So this morning we were off again, headed for Fenny Compton and had a pleasant journey with sightings of baby ducks, geese and swans on the way. All together now… Aww!


DSCN0226At Broadmoor lock we spotted the Hesperus which was looking as if it is having some serious rebuilding done on it, which is good news as this historic old boat was sunk last time we passed.

We also met nb Calm Down as we came up the locks and it was good to see Lillian & Dave who are also off cruising.


DSCN0241We arrived at Fenny before 2pm and slotted into a space on the 14 day moorings where we will stay for a few days. Catty is happy and already been off reacquainting herself with the area, but is now worn out and asleep on her ‘Princess Cushion’. Oh, and regular readers will notice I’ve been tinkering with the blog’ theme again.

Banbury to Cropredy

DSCN0192We left Banbury at 10 am to start our ‘Summer Cruise’ which is planned to be rather longer than previous years.

As we were leaving the town we passed nb Hadar headed in the opposite direction. The dredger which we had followed out of town stopped to offload its cargo of sand/cement bags for their colleagues to repair the edge of the towpath opposite the geese and the donkeys next to Malc & Dinks house and then we were out into the countryside.


By the time we reached Hardwicke Lock the dredger had caught up with us and followed us through the next couple of locks the crew helping us with paddles & gates. However, I had just set Slat Mill Lock when we collected a piece of carpet around our prop, so we waved the dredger past while I cleared it.

Nearing Cropredy we passed our friends on Maid of the Mist, as we approached Cropredy bridge we saw our first ducklings this year followed by various other livestock!

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IMG_20150508_161521197_HDRThe building plot between the bridge and the lock is still for sale, perhaps unsurprisingly for a small sloping plot with a £225,000 guide price even if it does have an End of Garden mooring. See Brown & Co website here.

As we needed a pump out & a bottle of gas we went on to Cropredy Marina who were unfortunately on lunch, however a kind boater who had finished his pump out allowed us to use the remainder of his time and the machine was still pumping after finishing emptying our tank.

We retraced our route back towards Cropredy lock and moored up just before the drizzle became heavier.

Almost Ready!

You know how retired people say they don’t know when they had time to go to work…. I’m starting to believe it!!!

Never-the-less, we are ready for the off tomorrow:

  • The generator housing is finished.
  • Side hatch  linings varnished.
  • Back door linings varnished & new brass lock fitted.
  • Repeat prescriptions organised for Joy.
  • Visits to opticians done, and replacement lenses for us both.
  • Store cupboards filled.

Of course, nothing was straightforward;

DSCN0190I forgot to specify enough ventilation for the generator’s cooling air to escape, so the ever patient Alex cut & welded to put things right.
I ‘lost’ one of the side hatch handles. Having replaced one of the side-hatch linings 18 months ago I’d taken it off and put the handle in a safe place, too safe evidently, because I couldn’t find it anywhere.

DSCN0188So, buy new ones, simples? Oh no, the new ones were a different design and our boat fitter had already refitted the one old one so changing it would have left screw holes in the nice new wood, what to do? I don’t know if I believe in Karma, but maybe what goes around comes around. A passing boater had a fuel problem and I was sure I had a 5/16” compression fitting to help him out, well I didn’t find that but I did find my missing handle!!!

DSCN0191I’ve fitted a nice new brass (plated) lock and made a real brass striker plate.

I also cunningly repainted the brass plaques red and green to remind me which is port & starboard should we stray onto those scary river things.

Oh yes, Catty was not forgotten and has a new cat flap,

11128409_677708252373886_1818616859_nYou’ll have to wait for the piece-de-resistance  though, as our doors for the semi-trad stern are away to have some rather special artwork added to them, but here they are, resplendent in  our boat’s colours (courtesy of Andy) awaiting the artist to add the final touches.



prescriptionFor the interest of those who need repeat prescriptions whilst cruising, after exploring various options with our doctor, we found electronic prescriptions wouldn’t easily work as you have to specify a dedicated pharmacy, but as our doctor regards Joy as ‘stable’ she was able to issue post dated prescriptions to see us through a few months and agreed to post any further ones required to a post-restante address.

We had a passenger into Banbury, Joy’s friend Sandra, who presented us with a painting she’d done of Wrens-Nest.

Sandras Painting

So here we are at Castle Quay, Banbury with a rainbow over the GF Club.