Kidlington Green Lock to The Jolly Boatman, Thrupp.
With only about an hours cruise ahead of us today we took our time over breakfast, a cooked one. The breakfast chef did manage to put two eggs into one poach pod and then had to fish one out to pop it into a second pod, that is why my egg looks quite yellow compared to normal.
We then decided to take a bit more time as it was peeing it down. No point in getting soaked before you’ve even pushed off. Tilly had quite a spat with a golden retriever through the window, the woofer came back for a second bark at her and as it’s collar was grabbed by it’s owner there was an apology.
By the time we actually got moving it was gone 1pm. We’d both decided to have waterproofs on and this proved a wise decision as the air soon filled with drizzle.
Today I spotted a couple of things I’d not seen before. At Kidlington Green Lock there were two triangles built into the lock approach walls. First glance I couldn’t make out what they might be for as they weren’t for the bywash. But closer inspection of my photos and I could see that they were to aid putting stop planks in.
Then the top gate at Roundham Lock has had the top of the gate reinforced with strips of metal. Presumably this was because boatmen would wrap a rope around the upright to help close the gate as their boat entered the lock, the metal would prevent the timber from gradually wearing away.
Lots of leaves in the water today and signs that there’s not been much boat movement around these parts for a bit. A yellow blanket covered one end of Kidlington Green Lock, the leaves just lying where they’d landed, quite pretty.
Roundham Lock is in need of some repair, a temporary one made with two lengths of armco to reinforce the beam. I seem to remember last year the near side gate paddle being decidedly dodgy and today it was sporting a hessian and hazard tape covering.
Once up we continued past the usual moored boats and some winter moorings. A couple of cheery waves from those inside brightened up the damp day.
Now it was time to spot spaces. We’d booked our Sainsburys delivery slot for outside 3 Canal Road (which is still for sale) where the canal runs right alongside the road in Thrupp, fingers crossed. One space before Bridge 223 and The Jolly Boatman, was this where Dusty had said was free, or had they meant further on? Another that might just be big enough shortly after the pub too. Both of these too far away from No 3.
On we pootled the slight bend in the canal not helping us to see down the length of moored boats for any gaps. A couple of small gaps, but that was all. Mick insisted on carrying on towards the lift bridge just in case there was an Oleanna sized space, but no, all the space was taken up by winter moorings, several of the boats familiar to us from last year along this stretch.
Would there be space near to Shipton Bridge? Would we be able to change our delivery address?
There was certainly space behind us, so nothing for it but to reverse back. Yes we could have winded through Aubrey’s Lift Bridge, but then we’d either have had to reverse back here tomorrow to wind again or carry on back to Dukes Cut to wind. The bow thruster was powered up and just given the odd little tap to help keep our course straight. Those sat in their boats who’d watched us go past, now could see us going backwards all the way to the pub and through the bridge.
Here there is a gap in the hedge from the pubs car park, not quite as good as at No 3, but almost. Time to change the address. Easier said than done. I could have cancelled our order and redone the whole thing risking not being able to get a delivery at a suitable time. Instead I changed our delivery instructions, here’s hoping they work!
Not somewhere we’d normally choose to moor as Banbury Road is a very busy one and the hedge doesn’t do much to dampen down the noise and shore leave was most definitely out despite Tilly’s insistence. It’s only for one night and then we’ll be on our way again.
2 locks, 2.79 miles, 0.5 miles in reverse, 6 touches of bowthruster, 2 spaces, 1 address altered, 2 boaters with fingers crossed, 3rd sock started, 1 address confirmed, 2nd beefy meal.