Kings Sutton Lock to Tom Rolt Bridge
Sunshine! What a lovely morning. Tilly was allowed out and was gone for around an hour as we had our breakfast. She returned, cleaned herself down, then found a patch of floor to relieve herself of a very large fur ball. I’m glad we’d finished eating as she’d obviously found a friend this morning! Another large ball was produced and popped on the fire to dispose of. Maybe we need to add some fur ball biscuits into her diet as it can’t have been nice carrying all that lot around.
The sound of an engine, NB Dusty came past. We’d wondered where they’d got to as we’d not noticed them come back past us in Oxford last week. Jock had a big smile on his face, ‘This is more like it’ he was referring to the sunshine and crisp air. Despite being cold it’s wonderful weather to cruise in and we were soon outside to enjoy it ourselves.
Half a mile to Twyford Bridge where a barn conversion is up for sale with it’s own mooring. Five bedrooms for £550,000. The chap is still working on his Ford Capri, obviously a labour of love.
Grant’s Lock, the last of the big single bottom gates, the chamber filled with oak porridge waiting for Oleanna to churn it up.
At the start of the new park on the off side Foxes Lift Bridge 171 has vanished. It’s been removed for some reason. The new development now stretches further out from Banbury. Semi detached houses with three stories. Sets of three with french windows opening out onto all of three inches of balcony. Here there is a proposed new canal basin, still very much mud at the moment, but we’ll see.
As we approached the Tramway moorings there was only one boat moored up. Where was everyone?! This is normally a preferred mooring, close to the station and Morrisons without the footfall of the more central moorings. However we weren’t planning on stopping here either.
Rounding the bend behind the foundry we passed a moving boat. The old chap on the back said he’d left the gates open at the lock. Nice of him, how did he know we were coming?! Sure enough there they were open and waiting for a boat to go up. We pulled in to fill the water tank. Now it’s turned colder we’ll be doing more of this.
Banbury Mill Arts Centre opposite was flooded a couple of weeks ago. It sits low and close to the river so wasn’t protected by the new flood defences which were finished in October. Today it looked like the building was open again, business as usual.
Into Banbury Lock, the water cascading over the top gates. We are now back into the land of double bottom gates, easier to open but a bit more of a walk round than with a single gate, unless of course you hop across.
I lifted the bridge by Tooley’s, glad of the activity to warm me up.
Ahead the town centre moorings were almost empty too. A few familiar boats moored up but the building works either side of the canal are understandably putting people off. The footbridge has gone and multistory car park has been flattened. In their place will be a cinema, Premier Inn and a Lidl along with a new bridge. There just seems to be mud at the moment and a lot of high vis.
Just under Tom Rolt Bridge we spotted a space just long enough for us before Sovereign Wharf. Here there are rings, harder to be untied! And it’s not too far into town. Being the end boat we are far enough away from the road to feel comfortable in letting Tilly out.
A new gluten free sour dough starter has been mixed and left on the proving shelf covered in a t towel to get going. A week of feeding and splitting it follows. The quantities are much smaller than the one I did before, which died whilst I was away with panto. It is also made with Buckwheat and Sweet Rice flours instead of Brown Rice Flour. Fingers crossed it starts to bubble.
2 locks, 3.58 miles, 1 lift bridge, 1 vanished lift bridge, 1 crisp blue morning, 1 boat at tramway, 1 Hermione, 2 outsides, 2 very large fur balls, 1 tasty friend, twice, 20 grams Buckwheat, 20 grams Sweet Rice, 60 grams water, 1 wet t-towel, 2 fingers crossed.