Over Shooting Banbury. 19th October

Samuelson Bridge to Slat Mill Lock 26

A load of washing went on first thing, my painting dungarees needing to have towpath mud washed off them before they return to being my scenic artist costume. It looks like time has run out for me to give the port side gunnels a coat of black before I’m too busy in Chipping Norton. I just hope there will be a little mild spell mid November so I’m not doing it as it starts to snow, as happened last year!

P1420862smMick lit the fire this morning as it had been left to go out yesterday (It was bloomin freezing!), but something wasn’t right. Smoke was coming into the cabin through the vents so he quickly extinguished it and left it to settle whilst we had breakfast. We hoped that it was just a case of the chimney needing to be swept so whilst I headed out to do a bit of work shopping Mick climbed onto the roof. Once the soot had been cleared out from the stove and everything put back he re-laid the fire and all was well. We’re not sure when it was last swept, but it’s possible it was in the spring, at least it won’t need doing for a while now.

P1420868smIn town I hunted out Banbury Sewing Centre for some felt and Robert Dyas for a new chalk line. Not being very familiar with the town as yet it was made harder by every street being full of fairground rides. Weaving my way through snickets and then around all the stands and rides took quite some doing, but I succeeded in the end. For 400 years there has been a Michaelmas Fair in Banbury and boy does it take over! Even some of the car parks are closed and used to accommodate the fairground workers caravans.

P1420858smNext was a trip to Morrisons to stock up on supplies for the next few days, a bite to eat then we pushed off.

Our mooring had been handy for the station and shopping, but it wasn’t the quietest and we felt nervous about letting Tilly out. So we decided to head out of town for a dose of countryside. But should we head north or south? What ever we needed to fill with water by Castle Quays and then head northwards to the next winding hole. Heading south then would be about an hour and half to the next winding hole, northwards around two and a half. Northwards won out with the hope we’ll be able to get a newspaper in the morning in Cropredy.

P1420873smThe water point below the lock was occupied by a very jolly young single hander. When she spotted us she headed up to the lock to set it for us. She helped with the gates and then returned to her boat to check on the water tank. By the time we were up her tank was full, was there time for her to get up through the lock before a boat came the other way. Mick took Oleanna to the water point before the lift bridge and I stayed to help bring NB Tungsten up. I then offered to close the lift bridge for her as a boat had just come through and left it for her. She said that if we caught her up we should over take as she goes slowly.

P1420881smWe arrived at the next lock to see the stern of NB Tungsten disappearing around the next corner with a big wave. By Bourton Lock we had got closer, she was being helped by a boater moored close by, I joined in and then the helpful chap helped get Oleanna up too. We pootled on, the hours of sunny daylight dwindling. The mooring below Slat Mill Lock was empty so we pulled in, it not being complete armco we ended up having to use pins which took a bit of extra time before Tilly could come out. Her paw had been working overtime at the bathroom window reminding me that she was there, her shouting couldn’t be ignored either. Within twenty minutes she’d found herself a new friend and we’d been forgiven for yesterday.

P1420897smAs the evening progressed we realised that we were near a pedestrian crossing point of the railway as there was a lot of tooting going on. But the sunset and the cows across the way distracted us whilst a pork stew simmered away on top of the stove and two jackets potatoes crisped up nicely inside. The joys of autumn boat life.

DSCF7114sm3 locks, 3.72 miles, 1 chimney swept, 1 full water tank, 1 clean pooh box, 1 collar, 400 years of fair, 12inch square black felt, 1 new chalk line, 4 thermal tops from Gap Outlet, 1 joint of lamb, 1 jolly boater, 1 friend, 4 trees, that’s better.

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