The alarm was set early on Monday morning. It was just like being back at work, which of course for Pip it was. Pip had a lot a stuff to take with her so I became a Sherpa for the morning. We were at Banbury Bus Station with 10 minutes to spare. The 489 “Chipping Norton Express” takes a direct route from Banbury to Chippy and takes about 35 minutes. There were no school kids, it’s half term in Oxfordshire. I left Pip at the Theatre having also checked in at her digs. The bus back to Banbury was the 488, this is NOT an express! But it was a nice ride around the Oxfordshire countryside and arrived back into Banbury an hour or so later. By the way, aren’t buses expensive? £4.80 single for Pip and £7 return for me. By the time I got back to the boat it was lunchtime, and after lunch it was getting on a bit so I decided to stay another night in the town centre.
Tuesday morning I did a supermarket trip to Morrisons and also took our winter duvet into a cleaners in preparation for its forthcoming use. I then untied and headed off towards Banbury lock, luckily meeting a boat coming the other way at the lift bridge so they operated the bridge for me. A top up of water then I single handed down the lock although during the process a boat turned up below wanting to come up so I didn’t have to shut gates behind me. I then pootled on for a mile or so and moored up just before bridge 172 Nadkey Bridge. Tilly was desperate to go out having been cooped up for a few days so off she went. I like it here I think I might stay out for a while. Tom kept on trying to get me to come inside but I was just too busy. At 9:20PM the dirty stop out came home for some food and then wanted to be out again. The door was closed!
On Wednesday I got a message via Pip that my phone was ready to be picked up in Oxford. It has been away for repair, the microphone didn’t work but now it is all mended. So I walked back to Banbury and caught a train to Oxford. £4.35 with an old git’s railcard, that’s better than bus fares! I didn’t stay long in Oxford. I just picked up my phone then returned to the station. Back at the boat it was too late to set off anywhere so I let Tilly out for further Nadkey Bridge adventures. She was back earlier this time, only 9 PM. Considering that we normally try to keep her in round about sunset she has done pretty well in the last two days. I can see in the dark, I don’t know what all the fuss is about!
It’s Thursday already! This week’s achievable goal was to get some diesel from the nearest place i.e. Aynho Wharf then return to Banbury by Saturday evening for Pip to come home for a couple of nights. When cold weather is forecast I like the diesel tank to be full, it stops condensation forming on the tank walls above the diesel level. So I did some serious single handing, 2.5 miles and four locks. At three of the locks I met boats coming the other way and they operated the locks for me so it wasn’t too arduous. Then 80 litres of diesel at 92ppl (ouch!), two bags of coal and a bottle of Calor gas. I made a perfect 200 metre reverse to the winding hole, no bow thruster used! But of course no one was watching.
There are some new CRT winter mooring signs around here. However I don’t think we’ll bother, they don’t look very appealing.
I moored up on some nice Armco a bit further on by Belcher’s Bridge 189. The railway’s a bit close but there is a junction here so the trains aren’t going full speed. Tilly went out and came home at a respectable 6:20PM. I didn’t mean to come home! I was just a bit peckish so just nipped in for some food. Tom shut the door!
Friday, time to head back towards Banbury. I had to single hand all of today’s three locks. I let an Anglo Welsh hire boat past me. It turns out that they weren’t hirers they were relocating the boat to Wooten Warwen for some winter maintenance and painting. I’ve moored in between the M40 and the railway, it’s pretty unavoidable on this canal. Unfortunately there is a footpath crossing the railway close by so every passing train hoots a warning.
8 Locks. 10.2 miles. 1 mended phone, 1 blog writer away, 1 apprentice blog writer, 1 cat stayed out late 2 times, 80 litres diesel, 50kgs Excel, 13kgs Calor gas.