A Kind Of Update, Update. 29th June

Cropredy Marina to below Slat Mill Lock

Our three days in the marina were up today. Being plugged in is all very nice, but there’s only so much washing you can do, well the curtains could have come down but the idea hadn’t crossed Mick’s mind. Tests on our electrics suggested the remaining two batteries would be fine now they’d had a full charge and also because of this Mick can now monitor them again. We’d only know for sure if we went back off grid.

Push back

Marina’s are not our natural habitat so we did chores making sure that the water was full, yellow water was disposed of and then went to say our goodbyes to Theresa in the office. Who knows we may be back.

This morning an updated notice came through from C&RT in regards to Banbury Lock.

Planned repairs to the damaged lock gate are progressing on site. Updates of this notice will be provided.

Well that wasn’t really an update, that’s an ‘Oh we didn’t give them an update when we said we would update them’ kind of update. Nothing to even guess at there, no stop planks went in yesterday and work continues on the damaged gate. When we fully know what we’re dealing with we will update the notice. We tend not to knock C&RT, they have an ever increasingly hard job to do, but their communication skills at times are next to none existent.

We reversed out of our pontoon and turned right out of the marina towards Banbury. A mooring was in mind for the day, but would someone have already snaffled it?

Cropredy Lock Cottage

A single hander was just finishing at Cropredy Lock, so the local gongoozlers got to see two boats in quick succession going downhill. The lock cottage looked like they’d had a leak or flood, mats and rugs hung on the fence drying. No toy dog on the fence by the bottom gates, one day I will replace the one I saw there years ago, it made me smile.

This fence so needs a little woofer in amongst the roses

All the canoes were at home, no bobbing about on their wake would have to be endured, well for a while. NB Serendipity was passed at the services, they’d been into Banbury for shopping, winded and now were heading elsewhere for the rest of their weeks on board.

Eclectic café The Saucy Hound

We’ve not noticed The Saucy Hound before, a cafe/junk shop just downstream of the services. It looks like hey do all day breakfasts and hot dogs. Who knows if we get stuck along this stretch we may have a visit.

I counted the number of boats on visitor moorings facing Banbury, 17. They won’t all be headed south of Banbury, but I suspect a good proportion are. We passed one boat with a sign in it’s cratch ‘Make compost not war’. Their array of black buckets on their roof suggested they have a system for their waterless toilet.

At Slat Mill Lock I noticed some old brickwork just behind the bollards on the offside. The boundary wall between the lock and field has a stretch of modernish brick. The earth also looks lower than that surrounding it at either end of the lock. Are these all signs that there used to be a lock cottage here?

What a nice lock!

Quite a few locks along this stretch of the Oxford have a lock cottage standing alongside. Cropredy, Bourton, Grants and Somerton all have a cottage. I spent some of this evening looking at old maps back to 1880’s and there was no mention of a cottage, just the lock, which was quite often referred to as Slatemill Lock, Slate Mill being a short distance away on the banks of the River Cherwell. I also couldn’t find any information elsewhere on the internet. If anyone knows more I’d be interested.

C&RT hogging the best place

The award winning mooring, at the end of a length of piling was occupied by a C&RT tug and skip boat. How inconsiderate of them, don’t they know that they’d moored their boat on the best bit with wide towpath and clear to the sky for solar. We need solar more than we did now we’re down to 100AH of battery. We pulled back towards the lock, ants nest after ants nest meaning we got closer and closer to the lock.

The afternoon was spent sketching out a new clock for Cinderella, emailing it to John and then making a white card version of it for the model. I put together a white card model story board so that everyone can see what happens and when with regards to the set. Have to admit to running out of steam before taking photos of all the model pieces to assist the builders, but that can happen tomorrow.

Happy cat again

Just before 7pm a new update came through.

Planned repairs to the damaged lock gate have progressed very positively today. We will be able to give an update on likely timescales for reopening navigation in tomorrows update

Well, that’s slightly better. ‘Timescales’ may just have been written without thought, to me it suggests there may be several openings. Maybe assisted passages, a temporary repair with a later closure, closed for a month, a week, a day? Who knows. Another update not really updating us, just trying to be positive. I’d show you an update from the Wigan flight or Huddersfield Narrow where you are given almost too much information, but that would be a whole blog post in itself.


However, facebook has interesting photos.

2 locks, 1.9 miles, 1 reverse, 1 right, 1 full water tank, 1 more wash load, 1 empty wee tank, 1 skip in the wrong place, 6 buckets to our 1, 1 cat’s tail held high again, oh that boat Tilly explored the well deck of in the marina, turned out to be NB Perseus another Finesse boat, Tilly has good taste, 1 bad internet connection, 1 boat on the move again tomorrow.