Onwards from Allen’s Lock

Wednesday 25th April

We were up and away early-ish this morning. Just before 9 am a boat came down the lock and wished us ‘Kalimera’ (must be our Greek flag which we use as a wind direction indicator) so we took advantage of the lock being ready and made our departure.

Heyford Common Lock was soon passed, and fields of curious calves entertained us until we reached Somerton Deep Lock.

We were fortunate here as a boat was just leaving & so left the gate open for us, then there were boats waiting to come down so we were able to do the same for them.

Just half a mile on, was Chisnell Lift Bridge, one of the few that are left closed. Some people had said how hard it was to open, but I didn’t find it was, but the cross wind made it difficult for Joy to get back to the bank in order to pick me up, so I had to walk along beside until she passed a moored boat and was able to get me back on board.

Just another mile and, spotting our first ducklings of  the year, we were at Aynho Wharf once more, this time we made sure the water tank was completely full and we made use of their laundry facilities [£5 for a wash & £2 for 40 mins drying time]

Joy chatted to another user while I moored the boat opposite, when I walked back across I met another ex-colleague from Heyford, Ian who now works there as a boat painter & general factotum.

Whilst chatting to Ian, Joy’s phone rang and it was Ruth & Barry asking where we were, “In the launderette, where are you?” “Moored up behind you” they replied. Just then the wash finished & we loaded the dryer and all repaired to the ‘waiting room’ (a.k.a. The Great Western Arms) until the washing was dry and they continued on their way to Heyford, just as the rain started. I’m sure they make a habit of  that! We just stoked the fire up and settled down in front of it for the rest of the day.

Thursday 26th April

Another nine o’clock start today, Aynho Weir Lock and Nell Bridge Lock were done and we pulled up at The Pig Place at 10 am and bought some logs & kindling, did I mention that we had had rain?

Then it was off to Kings Sutton where a large digger was working to put in drainage for the lock cottage buildings it seemed.

We passed through Twyford Wharf & Grants Lock arriving at Banbury’s Tramway moorings at 12:30 and treated ourselves to bacon and eggs for lunch.

I’ve been giving some thought to repositioning our roof boxes to give better visibility ahead, so this afternoon I took my courage in one hand and my angle grinder in the other and cut off the brackets which hold the gang plank and boat pole and set to moving the boxes. Being a Wiltshire Boy, I took inspiration from the builders of Stonehenge and used a stack of planks to lift the boxes and slide them over the mushroom vents & side hatch. The debris of dead leaves and grime under them had to be seen to be believed!



With the boxes safely re-positioned a temporary route for the cables was rigged up through a roof vent to get the system working. The roof was scrubbed and the plants re-arranged, no doubt to be changed again later. Co-incidentally we are moored in exactly the same place as when I made the boxes back in September 2011.

Friday 27th April

This morning was rainy but it eased off enough for me to walk up town to post an item I had sold on eBay, when I came back we decided that it was dry enough to take the S4 bus down to Oxford.

While we waited for the next bus we found a yellow sailing jacket for Joy at the Katherine House Hospice charity shop for just £1.99, they’ll be able to see her coming now!

I’d forgotten just how long the bus takes, a teeth shaking ride of nearly 1 ½ hours through Oxfordshire villages.


We headed for the re-vamped Westgate Centre and discovered Mowgli Street Food where I enjoyed  Spice Omelette Wrap  and Joy had Angry Bird and very nice they were too.

Spice Omelette Wrap – Calcutta’s favourite street food. Fragrant masala frittata with coriander herbed cheese in a soft wholemeal roti wrap.
Angry Bird – Succulent chicken thighs marinated & roasted in tandoor spices, yoghurt, ginger & garlic, served with popped mustard Mowgli Slaw.

As the rain didn’t abate much we didn’t venture outside the Westgate Centre and decided to invest £6.50 each on a train ticket home instead of suffering a free ride on the bus, and got home in half the time.


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