Stolen. 13th December

Broadmoor Lock to Claydon Top Lock

Pulling out from our mooring

The rain had gone this morning, but there was still the odd bit of wind. We made ready to head up the next two locks and then see what the situation was with the Claydon flight that has been closed for winter maintenance, it was due to reopen today. Quite often this means that the locks are opened for navigation at the end of the day, so we’d wait until tomorrow. Other times the locks are already open and just waiting to be used.

Varney’s Lock approach

We pushed off and rose in Varney’s Lock. I realised that I hadn’t lifted our ash pan back onto the boat this morning, maybe Mick had done it. Ash from the stove remains hot for quite sometime and it gives off Carbon monoxide, so our ash pan lives on the towpath next to Oleanna when we’re moored so that any harmful gasses can not enter the boat. Once the ash is cool it is then bagged up and put in the bins, not in the hedgerow where toxins will affect plants and also look horrible.

I asked Mick, No he’d not done anything with it. It wasn’t in the well deck where it lives so where was it? We’d recently got a new ash pan, which was maybe a touch too big for our needs. It’s size and bright shiney silver meant it was hard to miss.

Walking back
Empty handed

Once Oleanna had finished raising Mick walked back to where we’d been moored, not far just around a bend. He was gone a while, when he returned empty handed there was only one conclusion. Someone had stolen it over night, well it was bright and new with a slight dent in the lid. We both kept our eyes peeled in case we saw it, but no, it was long gone.

Sun, trying to cheer us up

This means we need a new one as we don’t like having to spread the ash along the towpath, but for now we have no option. We checked everything else was still on the roof, all present and correct, so we carried on slightly disgruntled.

Scarecrows bleached out

Towards Elkingtons Lock a C&RT number checker walked by, an ideal opportunity to ask if the Claydon Flight was open again. He was a very jolly chap, informing us that the locks had opened about an hour ago, ‘lovely new gates’, he said.

2019 gates

It was still early so we decided to press on to the top of the flight despite the mounting wind. Along the straight before the locks we passed a couple of boats we’d seen in Banbury recently, everyone biding their time for the locks to reopen.

New gate

It felt like we were the first to ascend the locks, but who knows.

Repointing and a new top gate at lock 21. At 20 there were new bottom gates, all with the old paddle gear, nicer than new as it’s all bedded in. On the walkways across the gates something like tar has been used to stick grit to them giving an antislip surface rather than roofing felt. Earlier this year when we headed to London a Lock Keeper had said that roofing felt tends to trap water beneath it encouraging the walk ways to rot. So maybe this is a new method.

Think they missed a bit of pointing

Lock 20 had also had quite a bit of repointing done. As I emptied it two pissers showed themselves just past the new mortar.

Pretty withmoody skies

We worked our way up the flight with the wind blowing a right hoolie around us. The locks just that bit too far apart to walk ahead to set the next one, so each chamber was done in turn and Mick managed to hold Oleanna in the pounds between.

Onto the summit

At the top lock work looks to have been completed at the cottage. Blue surrounds to dark pink woodwork give the windows and doorways a jolly feel. Big barn doors open out onto the pound above giving a good view from the sitting room.

Works completed on the lock cottage

We decided to pull in for the day. Mick brought Oleanna through the first bridge to the moorings, the wind assisted by pushing her straight into the side. Mooring up I had great difficulty in pushing her away to get a fender between the boat and bank, we certainly wouldn’t be going anywhere!

On our way to Christmas

Whilst Tilly explored the area the yarn ends on my gloves were woven in, then I pinned them out to block them. Tomorrow they’ll head off in the post to be a Christmas present. I can now start on the last pair of Christmas socks, which I hope will be finished in time to go in the post before the big day arrives.


My second go at the new sour dough starter looked promising today. It was slightly raised and very very bubbly underneath. The new recipe comes with a way of using the discarded starter, you save it up until you have 240 grams from this you can make sour dough pancakes. As what was left today was so bubbly I have started a jar to collect it in. Fingers crossed this time my starter will improve each day, unlike the last lot that got flatter.

A domed top to my starter
Bubbles beneath

7 locks, 1.91 miles, 2.5 hours, 2 more boats, 1 stolen ashpan, 1 red beard, 2 stolen futures, 1 Friday roast, 10 fingerless fingers, 1 yellow toe, 2nd day bubbles, 429 views!

2 thoughts on “Stolen. 13th December

  1. adrian2013

    Glee to see your up through the stoppage is there still one ahead at Napton?
    Not sure about the tar and grit obviously better than felt, but come July on those sweltering days only a few admittedly that’s gonna be a bit of a mess and be traipsed around!

    1. pipandmick Post author

      Hi Ade. The stoppage at Napton finished on the 6th December, so we are plain sailing to Christmas (weather dependant of course).
      I was only speculating that it might be tar on the walkways, you would hope that everything had been thought through. The dribbles down the side of the plank actually look pale grey which suggests maybe a glue of some sort.

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