The Pig Place to Allen’s Lock
With all the pork we’d bought yesterday it would have been rude not to have had a cooked breakfast. So we took our time this morning, no rush. Once we’d mopped up the last bit of egg yolk from our plates a cheery voice came through the hatch, “Morning again, enjoy your blog”. Thank you to lady from NB Simply Messing, you helped to brighten up a bit of a grey morning.
Several boats had come past and we hoped we’d catch a lull as Mick decided that reversing to the winding hole would be better than heading back up to Twyford cruising about 2.5 miles and a lock to get there. We waited for a boat to come from the direction of the winding hole, they had winded and were looking for somewhere to moor. Where we were was about to become vacant but by the time we’d straightened up in the middle of the cut they were already hammering in spikes.
Todays reverse wouldn’t go as well as it did at Cropredy for the simple reason that there were far too many people about. Up on the hill at The Pig Place there were two tables of people waiting for their bacon and eggs, a hire boat had just got themselves bacon butties, people were on their boats. Far too many eyes. The bow thruster came in handy as it’s not a straight route back to the winding hole and it includes going under a lift bridge where it gets very narrow. By the time Mick was ready to swing the bow across to turn there was a boat just about to leave Nell’s Lock and one behind us who both patiently waited for us to wind and then get out of the way.
At last we were facing the right way and could progress southwards. Below Nell Bridge Lock the towpath changes sides and it’s just a short distance to Aynho Weir lock. Along this stretch the canal is joined by the River Cherwell, river level boards below Nell’s Lock showed it was below green. I remembered that the lock landing was before the weir which made it easier to hop off, although if I’d been stood in the bow I could have got off near the gate.
As this is a weir lock it is only very shallow, the drop being around a foot, but below here the next lock is Somerton Deep Lock, which as it’s name suggests is deep at 12 foot. Therefore Aynho Lock is a strange shape, so that enough water passes down the canal to be able to fill the next lock.
Approaching Chisnell Lift Bridge we could see that it was neither up nor down. It wasn’t high enough for us to get through underneath and anyone walking would have had to pull it down to cross. The chain that hangs from the bridge was wrapped around an arm and then hooked to the base on the towpath side. Had a farmer come over it and left it like this to make it easier to get back? I lent on the arm and undid the hook, at which point the counter weight pulled the bridge to the full open position, the chain too high for me to reach. Oleanna in the mean time had managed to get herself blown over to the offside and it took a bit of doing to get her back in the middle to come through the bridge. Mick insisted on leaving the bridge how we’d found it so once through we tied Oleanna to a bollard and he went back to reattach the chain to the hook.
Somerton Deep Lock was where all the day boats seemed to be turning, needing to lock up to reach the winding hole above. We made use of a full lock to drop the 12 foot and hoped that the next dayboat would pull over to wait for us to exit rather than carry straight on into the entrance. It’s a bit hard to see from the side of the lock, but luckily they did pull over. For most of the day Oleanna had had rudder judder and now something had to be done about it. As soon as we got alongside the pasture and a suitable space showed itself we pulled in. Whilst Mick opened up the weed hatch I went below and put the kettle on. A large amount of plastic bags had been attracted to the prop and once released and in a bin the judder disappeared.
Allen’s Lock came into view and space for us to moor above. Brilliant, we are hoping to meet with Finesse this week to sort a couple of things on Oleanna and here has somewhere to park close to the moorings. However we soon found out that there is very little internet coverage here. Our phones work and occasionally they get a sniff of internet. So once we know when they plan to visit we’ll return.
Four woofers in five minutes! You must be joking!! So much friendly cover here as well. I had to spend quite a bit of time on the roof to avoid them all. then they were on both sides! Once the woofer traffic had died down I crept into the cover and through the other side. Big neighing things with swishy tails lived there, we soon got used to each other and got on with being busy in our own ways.
This afternoon I sewed in all the ends on the socks I’ve been knitting. They looked like a little family. I just need to find a post office now to be able to send them on to their new owners. Failing that, some internet to be able to buy postage online. My needles didn’t rest for long though I still have half an order to knit for Australia and three snakes for Panto. The snakes won out as the pattern needs to be worked out.
4 locks, 6.19 miles approx, 0.16 in reverse, 2 lufted bridges, 1 neither up nor down bridge, 1 grey day, 3 showers, 1ft deep to 12ft deep, 3 colours of plastic, 1 Kingfisher, 6 horses crossing, 3 pairs completed, 4 hours, 2 many woofers, 0.5 hours on the roof, 2 sausages, 1 rasher bacon, 1 roast chicken, that’s enough meat for one day!