One Bus A Week. 28th June

Cropredy Marina

Model ready to go

Smarter clothes than boater clothes were put on this morning, time to take my white card model to Chippy and share it with the creative team. Cropredy doesn’t really have a bus service, well it does, on a Thursday, one bus into Banbury. Then there is one bus that returns an hour later. Or you can walk for half an hour for a more regular service, you may as well just keep walking on the towpath into town. No option but to get a taxi today.

I got dropped off at the new Premier Inn by Castle Quays so that I could walk to the bus station and check on the mooring situation and if anything had been happening with Lock 29, Banbury Lock.

As far as I could see above the lock there was plenty of space, who knows what it’s like further back at Spice Ball Park where many people prefer to moor. But there would certainly be room for Oleanna.

So what was the best case scenario?

Two chaps in blue and high vis stood by the top gate, the gate with the problem. They were chatting to a chap and I overheard ‘Best case scenario’. I had to but in as I hadn’t heard the next bit, the bit everyone around here and further afield would like to know.

Crane boat above the lock

I wasn’t given the best case scenario but was told that today people would arrive from Oxford and London. Stop planks were likely to be put in to be able to drain the top end of the lock, but they doubted that the gate would be lifted out today. A crane boat was sitting just above the taped off lock waiting to be used. A couple walked past and asked me if there was any news, I relayed what I’d been told, basically no one would be moving today.

Below the lock the mooring situation was different than above. One boat on the services mooring, another opposite then at least two sets of boats breasted up under the bridge. I didn’t have time to walk any further as my bus was due.

488 to Chippy

I’d opted to arrive in Chippy an hour earlier than I needed to as this year I’ll be staying in different digs. Madeleine my new host had invited me to pop round to meet her and see her lovely house if I was in Chippy. Very handy for the bus stop at the other end of town from Suzanne’s where I’ve stayed before. I’m also nearer to the Co-op and Sainsburys which is handy. We had a chat over a cuppa and I got to look round.

Getting set up for our meeting

Just time to grab something for lunch and walk to the theatre where John Terry (director not footballer) was getting ready to set up for our meeting. Half attendees would be in the room, the other half joined over the internet. Last year I’d done my final model showing on line and know how hard it is to get a camera set up for those on line to see properly. A laptop was tried but those in the room wouldn’t be able to see anything. Then a phone was used, this was much better.

What lies behind the front cloth ?

With everyone present John and I talked our way through the show, scene to scene. Lots of questions from Gemma the production manager, a few from Sophie the costume designer and discussions with Nathan the lighting designer. John seemed very happy and informed me of various changes in the script that have happened recently cementing the twist we’d come up with for Cinderella’s coach. Just one alteration to do in the model, so I came away happy.

Paul, Louisa and myself then went down onto stage to check some measurements. My plans of the theatre have been based on incorrect plans I got the first year, gradually over the last five years I have updated and altered my master plan. But still dimensions needed checking. There would be 2m depth behind the backdrop. Items to be hung on tracks closely together were worked out and subtracted from distances between bars, my guestimate had been correct. Then we worked our way through where items would be stored and how some pieces would best be split for ease of moving. All done, time for a cuppa whilst scanning the drawings. I checked the time of the next bus, blimey seven minutes! I was off and on my way.

Back in Banbury I walked up to the lock, it’s handily positioned right by the bus station. Fencing around the lock had been erected during the day.

Stop planks were doing a good job of holding back the water above the lock and the lock was drained.

Brought from doing towpath works by the look of it

The crane boat had been moved to below the lock and was now facing uphill. The bottom gates still chained shut.

I’ve since seen footage of the crane boat being moved mob handed by C&RT staff. The top gate which had been quiet this morning when I’d visited was gushing forth soo much water!

Looking at the gate this evening nothing was immediately obviously the problem. But at least now those working to mend it can see everything without water gushing everywhere.

C&RT had said there would be an update today, but none came through. We hope to hear something tomorrow.

I walked to the station to get a taxi. This gave me the opportunity to see how many boats were moored below. I counted two facing away from the lock and then seventeen facing towards it. This was only as far as I could see towards the old foundry. Who knows how many were around the next bend at the Tramway?

Back at Oleanna Mick has had a busy day. He’d washed just about anything and everything, we’ve got fresh towels for the second time this week! The bilge pump float switch has been fitted, the stern glad tightened.

He’d also got in touch with Mark from LiFe Batteries in Cornwall who is highly recommended on the 12volt group on Facebook. We’d have no problem adding a new battery to our two older ones, he’d need to set it up correctly to match them. However the footprint of such a battery (100AH, so twice the capacity of the one that has failed) would mean that it wouldn’t fit in our battery tray.

Looking back to the queue below the lock plenty more behind me

Mick asked about replacing all three but with two, but twice the capacity. The existing battery tray wouldn’t accommodate them either. During the day he’d been thinking about changing where we locate the batteries. Being lithium they don’t have to be in the engine bay, so they could move inside and into the cupboard we call The Shed. This was designed to hold a Brompton bike and have a hanging rail. It now holds life jackets, extra coats, handheld hoover, scarves etc and really could do with a proper sort out. The base of it would certainly be big enough for new batteries, they would then have a shelf above them to protect the terminals, then it could be a more organised Shed. The batteries being indoors would also help them to charge in cold weather.

All of this cannot be done straight away. So our current plan is to cope with 100AH until later in the year. This will almost certainly mean turning the freezer off to help live within our means.

0 locks, 1 drained and fenced in, 0 miles, 2 taxis, 2 buses, 1 new host, 1 new deli to try, 1 model showing, 1 big thumbs up, 2 meters tick, 1.5 meters tick, 1 clock to alter, 6 boxes pasta, 14 scans, 42 copies, 1 dash for the bus, 17 waiting, 100AH to live with, 1 clean pooh box, 1 unhappy cat.