Pensioner Boy. 20th May

Slatt Mill Lock to Lift Bridge 178 (no longer exists)

Present time with our cuppa in bed. An electric shaver and some new pants, lots of them Well we can’t have Tom dingly dangling outside like that chap the other day can we! We certainly can’t Tilly, well done. Next up birthday breakfast. With a banana mountain ripening all the time I made us a batch of banana and blueberry pancakes, they were very nice, but maybe we should have had a third person to help us eat them!

Birthday pancakes

Time to move onwards and downwards. We just needed to find a gap in the down hill boats. With the familiar Sea Otter from yesterday having passed us we quickly untied and pushed off before the next boat could come down the lock. There was chance at the next lock to check if they were relieved to have had a pump out at Cropredy before they headed off ahead of us.

Uphill boats arrived and there was time to chat. At Bourton Lock there was a chap who remembered the old lady who used to live in the cottage, back then the gardens on both sides of the lock were wonderfully kept, now it’s just trees and sideways trees.

At Hardwick Lock a single hander helped open gates and wind paddles, he had offered to help someone the other day and been pushed over by them, a scab on his arm to show for his friendliness! I thanked him and then got out of his way.

If I ever had my hair cut again in Banbury, I’d give Izzy a try.

Two ladies waved from Dink and Malc’s house, we waved back, we always do. Then round past the permanent moorings, an opportunity for a hair cut on the cut. Past Sovereign Wharf and Spice Ball Park pulling up in front of the restaurants at Castle Quays, the closest mooring to Lidl available for us.

A reasonably big shop, 4 bags were brought back and stowed away. We’d checked the middle of Lidl today as we always do, finding several items that may be useful. A 12volt oil pump, a trolley with reasonably big wheels to deal with the towpath, Tcut to try to brighten up the cabin sides that have oxidised, a chunky kneeling mat and a rest for barbequing kebabs. Mick spent some of his Birthday money on these useful items, however he was reluctant to purchase a hoola hoop!

Bridge up

Lunch then I walked ahead to wind the lift bridge up before the lock. As ever people stood and sat to watch us operate the lock, the last with double bottom gates. Last year there had been a stoppage here whilst they did a temporary repair on the top gate. Today that repair is still there, the walkway over the gate still not replaced, the locals used to use this all the time but now they have to walk round as I did.

No walkway still

A family of four were soon enlisted to help push and pull gates much to their delight. Then it was time to top up at the water point and dispose of fishy smelling rubbish. Whilst Mick stayed to do the chores I headed off with a bag to Morrisons. Lidl is fine for most things, but not so good if you are gluten free. The only gf items on offer today all contained coconut, which unless it’s fresh or just milk I avoid!

Walking through Banbury I looked for a 488, the bus to Chippy and kept my eyes peeled should I know anyone. It would have been lovely to say hello to Tim, Alyce or Suzette who I know live in Banbury, but not one familiar face. If there had been something on at Chippy we fancied seeing we’d have jumped on the next bus so that Mick could use his bus pass for the first time. They are currently working up to two big community productions, Lark Rise and Barn Dance which take place next month. The other day Clare asked me if I was missing working on panto, the answer has to be yes. But I’m also really enjoying waking up every morning without a mental list going through my head of design jobs I need to achieve once we’re moored up at the end of each day.

A very arty cabin side

By the time I’d finished at the Morrisons check out, so had Mick at the water point. I walked back towards him from Tramway as he cruised towards me, perfect. Onwards now for one more lock, Grants Lock. Nothing has happened to the lock cottage since August last year, access to the property is owned by a college in Oxford who have refused to sell it, so access is very restrictive to be able to carry out any works on it.

We passed the hire boat who’d had their nice picnic at the services in Napton, they’d turned round today. Should we stop here? There? Round the next bend? Would the towpath get any wider so we could have a birthday barbeque this evening? A cut out area in the long grass showed itself, we pulled in, someone’s effort would assist in our quest for a wide towpath for the evening.

It was later than we’d hoped for, Tilly was given an extension, then brought a friend home! Betg a megfw meittn ton doew! She said with a mouth full as she and her friend were bundled out of the front door.

Possibly good for a slow roast

Mick set up the barbeque and got everything sorted on the towpath, I put together the kebabs and threaded asparagus onto skewers, the new one’s a touch too thick for this job, mental note taken for next time. The plan was to have asparagus for starters followed by burgers, kebabs and sweetcorn. Well the Lidl briquettes took forever to get going, then some more! I popped the asparagus on to cook, expecting to be turning it frequently. Not enough heat to do this! The spears gradually cooked, no charring a good thing. Sweetcorn was added, this normally needs turning frequently too as it colours up and cooks. No such luck.

Sadly all cooked in the oven!

In the end we decided that we needed a lot more coals as the rack was too far away from the heat for things to cook efficiently. But as the coals had taken over an hour to get hot in the first place and we were now starting to run out of day light we decided to turn the oven and grill on inside. Asparagus was eaten outdoors with our first glasses of wine in a week, but it was now getting chilly.

Birthday Boy and his cake

Food cooked and eaten indoors, it was now time to reveal the secret baking and blow out the candles. Happy Birthday Mick!

How on earth am I going out with a pensioner!

4 locks, 6.5 miles, 2 supermarkets, 2 hours shore leave, 1 friend, 14 spears, 4 kebabs, 2 burgers, 1 big chocolate and banana cake, 0 buses taken, 1 full water tank, 66 years old! 1 valid bus pass, 1 Mrs Tilly’s stamp of approval.

3 thoughts on “Pensioner Boy. 20th May

  1. Tom

    What’s wrong with Tom being seen. Tom is very attractive to the opposite sex! Just ask Jan…… OK… maybe not the last part!


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