Thursday, 7 January 2010

Some views of the recent snow.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The hot chocolate river

I went to Osney a while back as it is easier to load coal there. However, the river got fast and red boards came up which meant I had to stay a while. The river was so frothy the children nicknamed it the hot chocolate river. Here they are in a calmer moment.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Winter is here

The insulation is clearly doing it's job :)

Sunday, 1 November 2009

The home run

So this was it, the final lap, the home run, or whatever the boating equivilent is. Started off at 7.30 am from Lower Heyford. Though I should say eventually set off. The rain was pouring & the wind was blowing. I had moored opposite a lovely boat owned by the lady who lived in the house adjoing. I took off the bow rope and pushed out slightly. By the time I reached tte stern the bow was across the cut & just about to hit her boat. More than a bit windy!

This marked the start of things to come!

Thankfully I got a phone call offering PJs help. we managed the rest pretty easily and moored up in port meadow just before 4pm.

Again, because of the rush in getting back I neglected to take photos. Got one of captain pj though.

The final lock - a mixture of relief & exhaustion.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Day 4

Another early start, this time I got away from Banbury at 7.40. Engine running great again though loads of leaves around which needed frequent clearing from the prop. Having Hamish along was a tremendous help and we got through the locks much quicker than single handing. He also introduced me to Biltong, a South African meat thing. Very morish & we snacked as we cruised. Had the first stop after 3 1/2 hrs to brew fresh coffe & visit the loo. By this stage we'd reached Aynho & I'm begining to recognise place names.

I knew I wasn't going to make Oxford in time so stopped at lower heyford at 2pm to get a lift from mortimor bones to my childrens' Halloween party. Made it in time & I was so pleased to see them again.
So far I've notched up 21.7 engine hours, I pulled campanula through a few locks with engine off at times so travelling time probably more.

So tomorrow it's about 7 hours to Oxford. I reckon I need to leave at 7am to get back for the afternoon.

Been in such a dash today I didn't make more of an effort to take photos. Got one of Hamish skippering away though.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Day 3

After the engine threw steam last night I pulled up on the nearest bank which just happened to be full of brambles. In the morning they'd started crawling up the side. I also didn't notice the tree on the other side which was full of very loud birds as I discovered at about 6 in the morning. Still, it helped me get up in time for an early start.

I checked the engine over and took the water pipes off the expansion tank, testing them in the sink (blow through and watch for bubbles) nothing was showing so I tightened everything up, filled up with water, did the oil & stern gland checks & resolved to stop after an hour to check on water. I left the boards up to keep an eye on the engine. Half an hour later a slight hiss was heard & I quickly hit the towpath again to check. This time I could see the problem, a cut in the hose as shown in my last blog. Luckily I brought a toolbox & the split was near the end. A quick nip with a Stanley knife & a search for a spare hose clip (which happily the previous owner had left) sorted the problem & off I went. No problems since.

Cruising the summit was lovely but as it was very early the view was limited. Still spotted the radio mast id read about elsewhere. Filled up with diesel at fenny Compton - 11 quid for a day and a few hours cruising - not bad at all.

Fenny Compton tunnel - why did noone warn me about this?? A long stretch with only room for one boat & lots of nice jagged rocks on the side. Managed through without loss of life or limb. Pretty though.

Hit claydon locks around 11.30 and was very pleased at colin edmondons advice in his book "going it alone" brilliant ideas to see through locks when single handing. Managed them in just over an hour.

Then on towards Cropredy where I met Mike Athy from the canal forums. He waved me down as I approached & I worried I'd been going too fast & offended someone. But no, a warm welcome from mike who'd read about my journey on the forum. A lovely guy, he followed me down a few locks to lend a hand. Cheers mike!

I met dusty on a lock. As I approached the lock his boat was sitting there & noone to be seen, he was up the bank gassing away to someone. Still, I took two bags of coal off him for his trouble.

I stopped at cropredy very tired & in need of nourishment. I'd been recommended two pubs but all was shut! I headed south towards Banbury & got a call from hamish offering a hand with the last leg. He set off north & I headed on in my first proper dark cruising experience. I took it very slowly & even managed three locks before the shadowy vision of hamish appeared on the towpath. We managed a few bridges more & moored up at castle quay in Banbury. Thankfully the skater dudes didn't hang around too long & we were able to sit by the fire listening to bagpipe music & gassing away.

So tomorrow I need to hit lower heyford by 2pm to make sure I can get the train to catch Joseph & Polly's Halloween party. Reminds me a little of steve martins planes trains & automobiles. So another early start required tomorrow.

My mooring in the morning. Note the tree on the right with lovely birdies.

The brambles like the boat so much the tried to get on board

The mast on the summit. Nice!

And down again, just hitting claydon locks.

The first time I left campanula unattended at cropredy in search of sustenance.

The culprit!

Found this before I set off. Cut it short & reattached. Very glad I though to bring a toolbox!

Fingers crossed!