The Plague Boat. 12th October

Kidlington Lock 43 to Kirtlington Quarry

Lemsip in bed for both of us this morning. Mick was most certainly worse than yesterday and had had a bad nights sleep. We decided to leave the bed made up for ease of afternoon snoozing should one be required.

Funny thing to fall through the hedge

As we got Oleanna ready for the off a boat was just appearing above the lock, we left them to it even though the lock was in our favour, no rushing about anywhere for us and we’d be able to keep our distance from them too. Whilst we waited there was a noise in the hedge of the garden across the cut, it sounded like something weighty had fallen into it. Two cats sat and looked about as a Mutkjac Deer appeared, not that much bigger then the felines. They really didn’t know what to make of it, their instinct to hunt like lions kept them close, but the size of it was a touch off putting.

Hope this one’s on the list for this winter

Once we were up Kidlington Lock we worked our way along what felt to be quite a low pound to Roundham Lock. A boat was appearing out of the lock, but the gate was closed behind them, a helpful passer-by who hadn’t seen us apologised as he walked onwards. This was to be the first lock that took some getting into today, the water level low not helping. I quickly remembered to wait for Mick to take Oleanna out of gear before closing the bottom gate, it’s far easier this way with the big single gates and anything to make life easier was needed today.

A lady from a down hill boat walked towards me, I explained that she might not want to get too close and why. Locks are handy for social distancing, I stood on the off side ready to lower the paddle, the lady quite happy to open the gate up for us to leave.

Someone’s keeping an eye on moorers!

Round into Thrupp not yet filled up with winter moorers. Aubrey’s Lift Bridge now has flashing lights on both sides for road users. Last year we overheard conversations about this as too many vehicles had been crossing the bridge without it being fully down and causing damage. I don’t recall seeing any stoppage notices about the bridge this year so the lights must be working.

New lights

We pulled in, disinfected our hands for the umpteenth time today and filled up with water and dealt with the yellow water and rubbish. Thankfully none of the very friendly people from Thrupp came over to chat, so we could keep ourselves to ourselves.

Under the bridge

Not far to where we should be stopping today, cruising hours reduced now thankfully. But we decided that if we could get that bit further today it would be good, not knowing what Covid might have in store for us over the next few days.

At least it won’t garrot anyone!

This year we’ve seen more and more boats moored up using their centre lines. This really isn’t good practice as it tends to encourage your boat to keel over more when boats pass and should there be any flooding this can end up sinking your boat. But this boat moored under the railway bridge was doing it in a completely different way, centre line upwards away from any harm to walkers up onto the railway bridge!

2022! New Old Bridge

Shipton Lift Bridge 219 has been rebuilt, kept open to boat traffic with a sign saying not to use it until further notice. The water level at Shipton Weir Lock was in our favour, I stepped off and opened up the gate, just to see NB Peggy pulling up behind us also wanting to use the lock.

Sharing a .lock on the Oxford Canal

The lock being lozenge shaped meant we’d possibly be able to get both boats in at once, Peggy being a touch shorter than us. She nestled in nicely and the chap at the helm pulled her right over to step off with a rope. Even though we were sharing a lock with another boat we were still at least 6m away from anyone. The lady suggested I close up the bottom gate and she’d work the top gate and paddles, so no need to be close.

Back out onto a river, the Cherwell, some speed again. We’ve got rather used to it over the summer. Then we were up Bakers Lock and back on the slower water.

Pigeon’s Lock

We pootled on to Pigeons Lock. No-one to help here, but that was fine, we hoped it would be our last lock as we were tired and starting to get cold, paracetamol levels dropping and aches setting in. Oh what a time for the bottom gate not to open fully, Oleanna didn’t want to fit through!

One of the nice houses by the lock

Time to try the waggle the gate about technique. Oleanna was brought out of the lock. I semi closed the gate and then swung it open as quickly as I could muster, maybe it opened a bit wider, but with extra umph Mick managed to get her into the lock. Phew, we’d not have to call C&RT out and sit and wait for assistance.

Quirky buildings and a good car

Jane’s Enchanted Tea Garden is no longer along the next stretch. The business was sold last year and has moved to Ducklington near Whitney. Sadly we never managed to be around when afternoon tea was being served on the banks of the canal. There are still the quirky buildings, Morris Minor and Cosy Caravan, but now it’s just for the owners.

We hoped for a space at the quarry and the moorings gods were looking our way, we had the place to ourselves. It took us time to moor up, everything so much slower than normal. Tilly was given 3.5 hours shore leave and we settled down to enjoy the effects from a top up of paracetamol and some food.

A photo to break up the words a bit

During the day I’d been receiving emails regarding a backdrop for panto. It has a practical doorway through it. Because models are quite often made certain sizes to accommodate card thicknesses the backdrop piece of model had a slightly wider opening than was needed. I normally like maths and making sure things are correct, but today it took such a long time to get my brain round the sizes, tolerances the carpenter was asking and translating it all into an opening for the cloth.

Then the very basic artwork for the Song sheet wasn’t good enough to be printed, could I resend it in a different format? Easy except the font I’d chosen altered itself between formats loosing all the characteristics I’d chosen it for in the first place. Why oh why couldn’t this all have happened last week when my brain functioned better!

Mick did a second lateral flow test this afternoon. A second line. We are now officially the Plague Boat!

5 locks, 1 shared, 6.3 miles, 4 lemsips, 8 paracetamol, 1 box of tissues in a day, 3.5 hours, 1 friend ejected, 1 cat with it! 2 lines, 2 boaters feeling sorry for themselves, 1 bag of coal left, 1 song sheet pain, 1060 or 1129? 1 brain full of covid fog, 1 plague boat.

Thank you to the crews of NB Waratah and NB Peggy for your help today.

7 thoughts on “The Plague Boat. 12th October

  1. Dave (Scouts)

    I know i offered to come and drill that nav light hole for you, but with your current condition and both of us getting sniffly (just colds we think), better to wait until you fully recovered and up near to Banbury.
    Do shout if you need anything though.

    1. Pip Post author

      Thank you Dave, we haven’t actually got the nav light yet, one day! Hope you have only got colds and that they don’t hang around. Stock up on tissues, just incase.

  2. Anonymous

    Are you flying a yellow flag?
    Hope you are both better soon.
    And that CaRT notice at Thrupp is a great improvement on the standard one!
    Regards to Tilly.

    NB ‘Red Wharf’

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