Testing Times. 26th June

Claydon Top Lock Moorings to Cropredy Marina

Overnight our batteries had dropped considerably and turned themselves off again! Hmm! Should we move down the flight a couple of locks? Or should we just start the engine? It was after 8am so Mick started the engine up and ran it whilst we had breakfast.

Windows open at the lock cottage

Much cooler today requiring long trousers. Instead of being first down the locks we were fourth. The top lock was surprisingly full when we got to it, that had something to do with the offside paddle being left up! It must have taken a while to empty for the previous boat. On the lock beam a notice warned of the closure at Banbury and how the moorings were congested. I wondered how many boats had managed to reverse and wind, aborting their journey southwards on this route.

Lovely flower and veg beds accompany the locks. The top lock cottage now has well established gardens which make you want to peek over their garden wall.

We passed a couple of boats on the flight. A volunteer was busy painting an off side lock beam, he said it had taken him quite a while as the windows of opportunity had been brief between thunderstorms recently, today however was a good day.

If it’s black, it’s wet

The tally of boats up and down the flight suggested we’d be forth down, but should it be us who chalked our existence onto the board or would that spoil a volunteers job. We left it to them.

As we cruised Mick checked the charging rate of the batteries via the Victron app, well the two that were connected. The solar seemed to be charging them more than the engine. Blimey had our alternator gone faulty too?!

Lots to keep your eyes busy

Clattercote Farm/Wharf so looks like it needs exploring. So many things piled up in interesting huddles, the eggs and preserves however didn’t pull us across for a nosy, we’d other things on our minds.

At Elkington’s Lock or was it Varney’s Lock we passed a hire boat that was returning from Banbury. The antipodean chap said that quite a few boats had turned and headed away, so there were several spaces available. He also said something about a crane arriving on Friday, but further investigations were on going. We’ll be patient, and anyhow we’ve other things to worry about, like our batteries.

So Cropredy

The moorings along this stretch are pretty, with gardens and many a shepherds hut, or even travellers caravan.

I helped a lady who was having no luck in lifting a paddle, her husband filming the whole of the lock operation with his handheld phone. I got a thank you on camera. So if you ever come across a very wobbly, zooming fast video on youtube with me in it, then that was here. I don’t think he’ll be winning any awards for his camera work.

The camera crew heading off up the locks

Once down the locks we turned right into Cropredy Marina, a pontoon already booked yesterday. We needed some time on hook up. As we pulled in two ladies were busy doing meter readings and suggested we settle in before heading into the office to pay for the night. So we did as told and had lunch.

Theresa welcomed us, checked us in and chatted. Over lunch we’d decided that we’d be better off staying here a few days whilst our electric problems could be tested. Taxi numbers were sought along with electrical engineers if one was needed. Should we need a new alternator they would allow it to be sent here, normally post is not allowed for boaters.

Next question was, would Tilly be allowed out. They have a strict dogs on leads rule, but what about cats? She would be fine. They even have a pot of cat treats sat next to the pot of dog treats on the counter. We were sent back to Oleanna with a few in a bag for Tilly, which she appreciated. I like it here!

Time for the tests to start, the batteries had been taking a lot of charge from the hook up. Mick connected the faulty battery on it’s own to the power. Conclusion, yes it is faulty and being hooked up looked like it wouldn’t kick start it back into full working life.

Next it was the turn of the alternator. A loose connection was found, a nut that would neither do up or undo! An extra nut was added to hold the connection together. With the shore line off, engine run, the alternator seemed to now be doing it’s job. Thank goodness! We just have to hope that the faulty battery hasn’t done any damage to the two batteries left connected. We’re hoping a good charge on shore power will help, we’ll see.

I had a walk into Cropredy to post some cards. Here Cup and Saucer is a street name and I was suddenly reminded that we were in the Cotswolds, amber stone glowing from under thatched roofs.

Between boats

During the afternoon Tilly was allowed some shore leave. We really thought that it would be deemed to be pants. Maybe me staying out with her for a while made it more interesting.

It’s a touch rough under foot!

Pontoons were walked up and down, plenty of sniffing to be done. Now is this my boat? I’m not sure. Maybe a closer look! TILLY!!! This tree’s just a bit too big and it doesn’t have a top to it!


Is this my boat? I need to have a closer look. It’s welldeck is too tidy and clean, not mine. You get a good view from up here! TILLY!!! Oh there’s my boat all the way over there! How do I get back?

I’m always wary of Tilly in marinas. Pontoons, the number of boats closely packed together. Should she try jumping between one polished boat and another, should she slip and fall in, would she get out? Fairly sure she would, but!

Tilly! It’s a good view from here

But if someone arrived to see her sat on their boat and there was a hole in a cratch cover that hadn’t been there or some other damage, she may well get the blame even though all she was doing was being nosy. Too many boats had been explored, so it was time to be picked up and deposited back inside, doors closed. Tilly now grounded until further notice.


This evening I had a go at the Sticky Pork recipe that Carol had cooked for us when we were in Audlem. I had to make my own Ketjap Manis ( brown sugar and soy sauce bubbled up together into a syrup) and I swapped the honey for maple syrup, suspected guessed mix was grated carrot and cabbage, then almost forgot to add the lime. Not quite the same but very tasty none the less. Thank you Carol for the recipe.

8 locks, 2.3 miles, 4th down, 0 charging, 5 uphill boats, 1 pontoon, 8 Dreamies, £20 including electric, 1 alternator sorted (we hope), 1 crane, 1 grounded cat, 2 out of 3 working, 5 sheets printed off.