A Slight Delay. 12th December

Sovereign Wharf to opposite Sovereign Wharf

Our bed certainly has grown in height, but also comfort. Mick managed to sleep pretty well, he didn’t wake in the night feeling the hard wood beneath the mattress. He feels that he will try a different combination of pillows tonight and see if that makes things even better by giving him a little bit more space. I would have slept well apart from Tilly not being too sure about the new mattress. She normally sleeps snuggled up to me, behind my legs, when I want to move she does too. However, I don’t know if it was the fumes coming off the new mattress that made her uneasy but she spent the night sitting on top of me, my highest bit be it stomach or hip, no way did she want to touch the bed. Really hope she is more at ease tonight, she may be little but when perched on top of you, you certainly know she’s there.

Diminuative garlic

Last night was our last on the wharf. So this morning the washing machine started early to finish emptying the drawer. Tilly was quite insistent on being let out, but she still had to wait. Whilst we waited for the washing machine to finish and for a supermarket delivery to come I gave the galley a good clean and finally emptied some shelves to give them a dust. Just as I was finishing this I could hear the delivery van reversing around the wharf. Tilly locked away in the bedroom I unpacked the crates and stowed everything away, including the smallest Bramley Apple I’ve ever seen and some diminutive garlic bulbs.

We had been planning to head off northwards today, but our plans changed yesterday afternoon. Oleanna has very nearly reached 2000 engine hours and the other day Mick checked the concentration of antifreeze in the engine. This was a lot lower than he thought it would be so instead of just topping it up he’s decided to get the skin tank etc drained and refilled. This he could possibly do by himself, but he’s never done it before. On Lillian this was only done once by someone else in the first few months that we owned her. So yesterday he popped down to Tooleys to see if someone there could do it for us before we leave. Saturday morning was the first opportunity, so we’ll be staying in Banbury a little while longer.

We’d also been hoping that a chap two boats down would be able to have a look at our gas locker. A couple of times last week when we moored up I got a faint wiff of gas as I tied up. Mick could smell it too, so we wanted someone to investigate. The local gas chap from Cropredy is recovering from a broken hip at the moment, but the chap two boats down could investigate for us and see if we had a problem that would be easy to solve. Mick chatted with him today and he is snowed under at the moment, so wouldn’t be able to do anything until next week. However since we changed a gas bottle over on Friday the wiff seems to have stopped, so hopefully it was just a dodgy bottle. We’ll keep a nose/eye on it anyway.


The washing machine had finished doing a very hot wash so we could unplug the umbilical (hook up) and head off. Our tight mooring meant giving the bow a very good push off to get it well past the boat in front. This I succeeded with only to stand up and look ahead to see a boat coming our way. Mick stepped off the stern and held onto Oleanna whilst the small green tug stopped, went into reverse then came forward again, then waved us onwards, all a bit confusing.

That's better

We pootled up to the winding hole turned and came back. There was space just about opposite where we’d been at the wharf so pulled in. Tilly rules were recited very quickly, so as not to waste any shore leave and the back doors were opened up. It’s almost good here. Too many walkers and woofers, but I did find a friend who I brought back to Oleanna just before a greyhound appeared. This cut short my leave, the first in a week! How inconsiderate.

Pork, cider and parsnip stew ready to go on the stove

0 locks, 0.67 miles, 1 wind, 48 letters, 6 boxes, 4 bottles not 2, 2 bottle beer, 1 and 2 half bulbs of garlic, 1 delayed departure, 5 more skeins wool, 27 cards, 90C wash, 1 full water tank, 2 full hours not taken, 40 minutes on account, 1 friend, 1 stew bubbling on the stove.