Todgerless. 24th August

Slat Mill Lock to the hedge near the view between bridges 130 and 129

The weather started off a touch chilly, but soon necessitated a change of legs from jeans to shorts as the sun came out.

Canoes all tucked up nicely

Up Slat Mill Lock where the bullocks frolicked in the field. In the past we’ve moored in this pound only to be disturbed by the cows or speeding canoeists, so we choose below the lock where the cows are held back by trees and the canoes by the lock.

Passing the permanent moorings Hello Kitty said hello from a small grey boat with a crackle finish. The chap who has been weeing into the canal for years had his todger hidden behind a breasted up boat. A ginger boat cat eyed up Oleanna for a possible boat upgrade, a stern look came from She inside. It had no chance of upgrading to my boat! Allan Cazaly’s old boat has had some steel work done to it.

Cropredy Lock Cottage

Cropredy Lock has possibly my favourite lock cottage of the Oxford, it’s been a while since we’ve passed in the summer months. The garden today was tidy behind it’s white picket fence.

If there was a mini woofer sitting on the fence today it would have been hidden by the giant rose hips. I liked the toy woofer and have planned to have one so as to be able to replace it when we pass next, however I have not got a suitable woofer to leave. Maybe this winter I should make one out of milliput, maybe I should make several so that I can leave a different breed when ever we pass.

Passing Cropredy Marina we could see the new extension, another big pool with full length pontoons, plenty of space for them to fill. Maybe a mooring for Oleanna whilst I work on panto? But getting to and from the marina would involve a cab which past midnight are few and far between in Chippy, we’d also be stuck by Varneys Lock.

Staycation 2021

At Broadmoor Lock a single hander lady busied herself to get into the lock, I went up to lend a hand having a good chat. She tends to boat alone as boating isn’t for her husband, ‘It’s like sleeping in a coffin!’. A hire boat arrived as she left and I helped them down, dad and his young adult children loving it, mum not so sure she’d be able to live without her full wardrobe if they boated for longer than a week! Maybe they are going to Woburn Safari Park in September.


Alongside the lock there used to be a stall where you could buy apples and a chap sold ropes and fenders. The stall is now gone and the house that was being built is now complete. The railing to the veranda made from half a pallet and three saws, sadly my photo is out of focus.

Varney’s Lock does look like it needs new gates with the amount of hardware on one bottom gate. I helped the single hander again, closing up after her, then pushed the gates open ready for us. At the farm above Elkington’s Lock there is a stall selling veg and pickles, we’ve still to finish off the veg box from last week before we stock up again. The fields are full of sweetcorn and flowers which may be pumpkins.

We decided to stop for lunch where the sideways trees actually grow sideways. We pulled in a short distance away from NB White Swan, Tilly recognising where we were making quite a row inside expecting to be let out. But as it was only a lunch stop she had to leave the sideways trees to Ghost.

Mick’s every move being filmed

The Claydon Locks are currently locked overnight to help preserve water levels on the summit pound, we were well within the time frame so no need to worry. Our pause below had meant the single hander had gone on ahead, but we were still following someone with no boats coming down to swap over with so every lock needed resetting.

Not quite up to date, we were 14th up

Once Oleanna and Mick had reached a good height in each lock I would walk on ahead to set the next one. With a volunteer on the middle lock we made good progress catching the boat ahead. We paused to see what had happened to our bow fenders, a week link had snapped that held the bottom one to the top earlier, now I noticed one of the hooks had come adrift holding the top fender. Mick tried to reconnect it in a lock but couldn’t work out which chain it had come loose from so it became a job for later.

Hmm, now where did this used to attach?

By the time we reached the top lock the boat ahead was only just starting to fill the chamber. I gave them a hand and then once they’d managed to actually clear the top gate to close it, I dropped the lock. As the lock emptied a boat appeared from above and leant a hand.

Now the long and winding summit pound shows the canals age sticking to the contours rather than going through cuttings or building embankments. We passed through the old Railway Bridge where the last two times we’ve paused for me to collect ivy to make Oleanna a Christmas wreath. Today thankfully there was no need as we’d have only just got in the way of the constant stream of boats.

One at a time

At the tunnelless tunnel we met at least two boats coming the other way, one had to wait for us and the boat ahead, then we waited for the next to pass. One chap coming along a section exclaimed at how narrow it was and he hadn’t got to the really narrow bit!

Fenny was busy as we’d expected. We decided not to stop for a Christmas works do but we’d carry on hoping there would be space near the radio mast just short of the HS2 works. It’s so pretty along the summit, winter or summer. We just wish there were more gaps in the high hedge that masks the views to the west and north.

Up ahead we could see that we’d arrived at our chosen mooring. There were quite a few git gaps, people lining themselves up with the views, understandable as they are so few, just not helpful when you would like to moor up. We sized ourselves up for the first gap, but ended up reversing back to where we’d started. Despite it being late Tilly was given an hours shore leave which she adhered to very well, I could swear she can tell the time! I can!!!

Full up

Mick tried several ways for us to be able to watch Home, I’m Darling on the TV. The TV’s browser wasn’t so keen, chromecast didn’t do much better. In the end we used a cable between the laptop and TV, the old fashioned way. Act 1 watched, we’ll save Act 2 till tomorrow, if we have internet.

Another carving

10 locks, 10.09 miles, 2 many boats compared to winter, 1 ghost, 1 tunnel without a roof, 1 carving, 3 saws, 14th not 12th up, 9 down, 0m 23, 3m 24, 1 moored on the waterpoint, 1 hour after hours, act 1 in the 1950’s.