Are We The Only Ones Moving? 26th November

Shipton bridge to Muddy Slipper

Neither of us slept well last night which of course meant that we both managed to sleep in! A lie in was most probably needed but it hadn’t been the plan. We rarely set an alarm as we both seem to naturally wake at a reasonable time, but today we’d planned to get a good cruising day under our belts before the weather deteriorates. So that extra hour in bed put the scuppers on that, we’d not be able to reach our chosen mooring in day light.

Bye bye ThruppThe hazard tape has gone but looks like the hazard is still there

We did manage to push off a little after 11am. The sun was out but it was still really quite chilly, padded trousers needed. As we pulled in at Shipton Weir Lock a walker said we were lucky as they’d only just opened the lock. This slightly confused us as we’d received the notice saying it had opened earlier than planned last week, maybe they had been working on the lock again this morning. But no, the walker was referring to the stoppage that we’d known about.

Lozenge lock

The netting to one side of the lock was still there, where something underground is having some attention. It was like this when I last came through over a month ago. Maybe this is the part of the works that has been put on the shelf until they have dealt with Dukes Lock, meaning the closure didn’t need to be quite so long. The only evidence in the lock itself that work had been carried out was huge new pieces of timber which help to seal the gates, they certainly sealed better today.

Zooming upstream

Now on the river section Mick opened up Oleanna’s throttle. Narrowboats chug along canals, but every now and then what they really want is a bit of a zoom, their engines would love to run like this more of the time, but depths, bank erosion and other boats limit the speed you can do on canals (along with the speed limit). Out on the river the depth is greater so a few minutes for Oleanna to blow away her cobwebs as Mick moved the tiller to get her round the bends as they came along far quicker than normal.

Up Bakers Lock we curved round Gibraltar. As we approached Enslow Bridge and Railway Bridge we thought a boat was coming towards us. The two bridges are quite close together and it looked like they were closest, so Mick held back allowing them space to manoeuvre. But they seemed to be doing the same. We waited patiently and still they waited too. My camera came out and zoomed in to see what was happening, maybe they were mooring up? It turned out that they were already moored up and it was just a trick of the light and reflections that made it look like they were away from the bank. We were the only boat moving.

At Pigeon Lock a delivery from a builders merchants arrived for the mill, which is having a fortune spent on it, carefully crossing over the canal bridge it soon stopped. The roadway looked a touch narrow for it to make it to the house, maybe it’s load was going to have to be craned off at the side of the lock and then wheelbarrowed through the gates.

A convertible shooting brake

Jane’s Enchanted Tea Gardens looked a touch more sorted today as we passed. Only white doves were at home and all bar one of the Morris Minor cars were out of view. The one we could see was possibly the smallest one on site. Sitting on the roof of NB Flower was a Sylvanian Family of rabbits in their Morris Shooting brake pulling along a caravan, hope they have a roof to pull up tomorrow!

We pootled on along through the woods with the River Cherwell and railway line hugging the canal and then veering away. An oak leaf carpet under my feet at each lock.

An interloper

It was rather chilly so we decided to pull in at the Muddy Slipper mooring. The branch Mick had planted in the hole no longer visible, so we both carefully waited until we were sure of our footing before stepping off Oleanna. The branch had been chopped back by a passing strimmer, it was still there just far far shorter!

Tilly headed out for a couple of hours to worry the local pheasants. We could tell she liked it here as she was gone for ages before deciding to come home for a snack.

Tomorrow we’ll do our best to be away earlier and be moored up before the forecast rain and wind hits at 2pm, maybe we’ll set an alarm.

4 locks, 5.41 miles, 1 hour too long in bed, 1 snoring cat, 1 zoomy Oleanna, 1 stationary boat, 4 wheels too wide, 1 mini car and caravan, 1 sock completed, 5 stupid birds, 6 holes, 1 tree I like it here.

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