Cropredy Wharfish to Elkington Winding Holeish
A top up of water at the service block before we carried on our way towards the summit of the Oxford Canal. As we were about to reverse out from the awkward water point/winding hole a group of canoeists pulled in at our stern waiting for a boat to come out from the lock. The boat cleared followed by the canoes and we then reversed doing a several point 90 degree turn to be facing north again.
I was pleased to see that the guard dog at Cropredy Lock Cottage was still on duty at the picket fence. His surroundings considerably less green than they were three months ago. The local ducks and swans squabbled over apples in the water, large chunks being swallowed and slowly descending the swans necks.
As Cropredy Marina came into view we kept our eyes open to see if we could spot NB Herbie moored up for the winter. Well it wasn’t that hard as they were the first boat you see! We waved and said hello even though we knew nobody was at home. Neil has just started his Herbie awards for 2018, these range from their favourite moorings, pubs gadgets etc from this years cruising. We nearly stopped at the winning rural mooring the other day and will be sampling one of the nominations for food this week. Well worth an amusing read.
At Broadmore Lock there was a boat a distance away from the lock that was either tying up or just starting to set off. I paused but still couldn’t tell, so set the lock for us. The chap had been untying, but wasn’t too bothered that I’d turned the lock as he was a single hander and not going far today, just doing his fortnightly move. His boat The Three Pigeons had a map and advertised a pub in Banbury. The pub is nominated for a Herbie award so we’ll try it out next time we pass through Banbury.
A couple more boats were moving and our arrival at Varneys Lock worked well for us and the single hander coming down. The pumpkin farm had very neat looking fields. I wonder if they grow another crop earlier in the year or just stick to squash. We wound our way just past Elkington Winding Hole to where we’d moored on our way down. One other boat tied up here and not much footfall. We could carry on up the Claydon Flight or stay here for the night, the latter was decided on and Tilly was let out to explore.
We tied this outside up before, except it was on the other side. Last time I only had enough time to climb the fantastic trees, today I made sure I left time to find some friends too.
Oh but where to start?! The sideways trees are big round here and have big proper trees growing out from them, just which way to go? I managed to climb most of them. A good dig around in the field behind and then a hunt for some friends. She came out for a while and I helped try to find some ivy for a wreath, but apparently even though there was lots of ivy it wasn’t the right sort. I left her to it and found lots of friends to play with, they don’t seem to swim too well!
With a wide towpath and the temperature not too chilly Mick had a Christmas haircut all of his own. If only he could cut a straight line in my hair! With both of us now looking respectable for the festive period (not that many are going to see us),Oleanna needed decorating. No suitable ivy was at hand here for a wreath, I’m hoping Fenny Tunnel might be better, but more lights and the Christmas Tree came in doors.
Our tree has loved this year and grown somewhat about four inches. Despite me turning it round in the cratch quite often to try to straighten it, it has continued to grow at it’s jaunty angle, which is very handy with the tumblehome of the cabin. If it survives another year I wonder if it’ll still fit inside, not bad for a fiver at Newark market three years ago.
What a day! First the great trees outside and then they brought one tree inside for me to play with. So many balls to bat around and chase. There are also big things in the windows that I can play with, hours of fun to be had. Except when I was trying one of them out she stamped her way over and shouted in my face! Apparently they are called ‘BAD’ and you have to say it very loudly, I think they must be deaf.
4 locks, 2.21 miles, 4 boats moving, 21 canoes, 1 pair of very cold toes, 1 full water tank, 0 pumpkins, 2 ducks and 2 swans loving apples, 1 co-ordinate different to three months ago, grade 3, 2 possible ways up, 2 many to choose from, 1 tree inside, 2nd set of lights, 0 ivy, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.