Pigeon Bridge to Thrupp
After breakfast my dungarees went on and out came the woodskin. A coat carefully applied to all parts of the cratch without getting too much on myself and I managed to have a way off the bow too.
In the distance I could hear what sounded like a wood chipper, I wondered if it was on the golf course. But after a while a C&RT boat came round the bend infront of us. One chap pruned branches from the trees , another fed these into the chipper which sprayed the chips into the hedgerow. They then moved on to the next tree that needed parts removing. As they got closer they refrained from chopping anything down and photos were taken presumably to show their boss as to where they couldn’t trim back due to boats being in the way. As they waited their turn for the lock they did a bit of pruning on the off side. Sadly they were only interested in some trees others were left to overhang the narrow towpath.
With the cratch board drying there was nothing to stop us from pushing off and carrying on our way. Some extra care was needed when tying ropes so as not to touch the drying stickyness, but I managed. After a mile we rounded a bend that skirts around Gibraltar. If you click on this link you will find that this Gibraltar is very similar to most of England, most people speak English and use pounds sterling!
At Bakers Lock we dropped down onto the River Cherwell again. Here a new river level board with lights has been added at the side of the lock, similar to those on the River Severn. The old coloured board below the lock has been removed presumably no longer required. But what happens when light bulbs blow or the power fails and the river is in the red?
On the river you could tell Oleanna liked the extra bit of depth, I however didn’t like the amount of dust in the air. All the trees and bushes were covered in a dusting of whiteness that was drifting across the river. Was it all going to stick to the sticky cratch board? Nothing I could do about it if it did.
After a pootle on the river section Shipton Weir Lock takes you back onto the canal. Another lozenge shaped lock bigger than at Aynho. An accumulation of autumn branches and leaves stopped the bottom gate from closing properly. From the other end you’d most probably not notice, it would just take a long time to fill. Mick came back with the boat hook to give it a good clear out and then we were on our way again.
The service mooring was empty as we pulled into Thrupp. The washing machine had been put on shortly before we arrived, but it had soon stopped due to lack of water! Good job the water pressure was reasonable so it didn’t take too long for us to fill the tank, dispose of rubbish and watch a hire boat negotiate the lift bridge. They certainly did a good job of preparing the gunnels for the next coat of paint! Not sure the canal bank enjoyed it too much though.
As soon as we were settled Tilly was allowed out. Off she went straight over a garden wall to check out the apple trees. I got my dungarees out again and started to rub down the starboard side gunnel. The weather report suggests that tomorrow will still be fine, so we’ll stay put for me to get the black paint out. We also just so happened to have pulled in alongside a handy Passing Place on the road, just perfect for a supermarket delivery. Whilst I got back ache, sore knees and seriously bored of sanding Mick got on with the job of securing a delivery slot for tomorrow and ordering supplies to replenish the wine cellar.
The trees here aren’t too tall, but very interesting. Big round balls hang off them, some red, but most green. Not too good for batting around the place, I did try with the ones on the floor, but they weren’t rolly enough.
I headed back to the boat to check in, they like to see me once in a while and I like the Dreamies they give me. Then I had a good look at the balls on the wall. These looked quite interesting and I was just wondering what would happen if I knocked them all off when a lovely afternoon got spoilt! A big noisy car came along the road. I didn’t like it, I didn’t understand it, I didn’t trust it, it scared me. Only one place to go … back to the boat. I jumped and ran as fast as I could. All I got when I got there was “You STUPID STUPID STUPID cat!” I wasn’t allowed back out, grounded she said for being STUPID. But I’m not, I’m quite good at maths!
2 locks, 3.45 miles, 1st coat woodskin, 1 sticky cratch, 3 men and a boat, 1 river pootle, 1 dusty cratch, 1 empty water tank, 1 full water tank, 1 empty yellow water tank, 1 perfect mooring for gunnels, 1.5 hours sanding, 1 coat fertan, 1 yarn bombed wheelbarrow, 37 apples, 1 stupid stupid stupid cat, 0 flat cat thank goodness, 1 grounded Tilly.