Saltisford Arm to Radford Semele
I woke at around 4:40am with the first big gust of wind on Tuesday, this was the start of a few windy days.
The washing machine was worked hard again for a second day, towels, bed linen all took their turn. Maybe we should have ventured out to visit the sights, but we’ve visited quite a few of them on previous visits, leaving the Castle and Lord Leycester Hospital for another time. The Castle comes across as a bit of a theme park, £28 entrance each is a bit dear, although apparently you can save money by buying your tickets on line in advance now. As the washing went round I got on with knitting socks and refilling the damp traps around the boat amongst other chores.
In the afternoon we braved the gusting wind and walked up to Sainsburys to restock the wine cellar, not a full restock I have to say!
Emma, an old college friend of mine had invited us round for a drink to her house on West Street. She visited us three years ago when we were in Warwick and at the time was in the process of restoring a house with her then partner. Since then they have moved in and recently got married. Our visit was more of a guided tour of the house accompanied with a glass or two of wine. Sadly I didn’t take any photos as we were too busy hearing about all the work they did.
I’ve found a few photos of the house from when they bought it back in 2012. On the British Listed Buildings website the house is recorded as being listed in 1996 and was dated as early 19th Century with a brick frontage, canted bay window, 3 storey and a basement. No inspection had been done internally.
However, what lay behind the woodchip and plaster board was far far older. Link to an article. Cob walls that have now been dated to around 1433, beams, decorative paintings on panels. Really wish I’d taken photos now. They have painstakingly restored much of the house, replacing floor beams where needed and using lime based products to help the old building breath again.They have installed an eco friendly boiler, solar and have a very efficient wood burner in the back room which helps heat most of the house.
A small modern extension to the kitchen was added. During the works for this another discovery was made, a very big hole under the floor! A friend of theirs was breaking up the floor one day and his drill suddenly slipped into a gap between paving slabs. A stone was dropped through the hole, no sound of water. A 5m tape measure didn’t reach the bottom. Below their kitchen lies a hole cut into the sandstone that measures 3m diameter by 6m deep. Archaeologists are not sure what it had been used for, maybe an ice store for the castle. They then got distracted with what had been found on the house walls. Emma and Dave had to create a foundation for the rear of the house to sit on above the hole and now they have a metre glazed viewing hole in their kitchen floor. Who needed to go to a museum when you can see things like this. Their master bedroom is amazing with so many layers of beams and yet they have a modern ensuite!
It was a lovely evening catching up with them, having the tour and seeing some of their wedding photos. Hopefully we’ll get chance to meet up again this winter as we’ll be in the general area for a while.
As our boat neighbours had returned yesterday afternoon and had plans to move today we made sure we were up and dressed early, they may be wanting to be off at 8! Despite the wind having increased overnight we decided to move on ourselves. Once the water tank was topped up, rubbish disposed of and our mooring fee paid we were ready for the off, just as our neighbours were having toast.
Out of the arm we turned right back towards Cape Locks. The top lock was empty and a hire boat could be seen just about to enter the second lock, we’d not be able to catch them up to share, so I set the lock in our favour. Just as the levels equalised a boat came round the bend, we’d be able to share the locks. NB At Ease is a hotel boat and the two crew knew very well how to handle their boat. They had come down Hatton this morning and were hoping to moor up before the wind got even worse.
We followed them to Tescos where we pulled in at the 24hr mooring, another boat was already moored there. They could really do with a couple more bollards here, we managed to get the stern rope round one of the bollards but had to make use of a tree at the bow. With a big shopping list in hand we wound our way around the store. With no big shops, as far as we know, until we reach Banbury we wanted to be stocked up.
Lunch next and then we decided to stay put, the gusts of wind were very big and we didn’t fancy trying to cruise in it, Tilly would have to wait for her shore leave a while longer. 30 rows of sock and Cake week on the Great British Bake Off caught up with and we thought the wind had calmed down enough for us to move on. As soon as we were back outside the wind kicked up again. With trees surrounding us, we didn’t want to stay put so braved the gusts and set off.
The going wasn’t too bad, other than the amount of leaves. We had leaf porridge that clings to the prop for the first time this year. A quick blast of reverse gets rid of it, but the leaves soon returned again!
The artist who painted the cat, also did a couple more paintings along the stretch near the student accommodation. One is of two bunnies doing what bunnies do (I suspect a signature of hers) and the Grim Reaper in a black boat painted on an off side wall. A slightly jollier painting further along has made use of a drain pipe.
We pulled in back where we’d moored a couple of days ago as it started to rain, a bit close to the road, but up ahead looked full and we wanted to be on chains and hooks rather than spikes if the wind continues as it is. Tilly for a change wasn’t that bothered about the wind. This outside again! I bet tomorrow they tie up one where I can’t go out again, best make the most of this one.
2 locks, 4.99 miles, 1 right, 2 moorings, 4 loads washing, 2 drying, 1 fantastic house, 400 years older than originally thought, 1 big hole, 1 woofer next door, 4 full bags, 2 blowy days, 1 canal turned to porridge, 1 gluten free mac cheese tonight, 0 snakes.