A Drip On The Inside. 22nd May

Chisnell Lift Bridge to above Dashwoods Lock 37


Rain was forecast and rain is what we got. Only one Stream Increasing on the Thames this morning, but would it stay that way? We could have headed onwards like the hire boat in front of us, but that would certainly end with dripping waterproofs all about the boat, we opted to stay put and hope that a window of opportunity would arise in the afternoon.


The engine was run, Archie and Cary still working on equalising each other out, suspect they’ll do this for a while. We pottered away the morning, Tilly didn’t even bother requesting shore leave It really is a disappointing outside this one. One chap was actually having a very good singsong about the day, Micks app suggesting it was a Great Whitethroat.

Where’s that come from?

The rain changed it’s intensity but didn’t stop all morning. We pottered, watched more Narrow Escapes, knitted. By early lunchtime things seemed to be easing. We ate then popped our waterproofs on ready to see how far we could get. As I opened up the front door I noticed a little puddle of water on the inside. Had something been brought in this way this morning that had been wet? I looked upwards at the door frame. Between the oak and the darker wood of the doors I could see glistening wetness. We have a leak up there. Rolling up the covers I looked around the cratch board. My suspicion is that water is getting under the wooden support for the cratch and finding it’s way in to where the electrics come out from the steel shell and enter the wood. Drier conditions are required to investigate fully, hopefully a bead of silicone and some more varnish will do the job.

An easy lift bridge

This stretch of the Oxford has a really dodgy patch for phone, internet and TV signal. We could either stop before it or we’d need to carry on through to the other side. The rain would determine which we would do.

Close the bridge!

When we came through Chisnell Lift Bridge in June last year there was a group of C&RT chaps debating it, today we got to see why. This bridge was quite often left open to boat traffic, but also could be closed, pulling it open and closed by use of body weight and chains. It now is windlass operated from the towpath, under 20 turns lifts the bridge to pass below. It obviously still has people leave it open as several signs ask for it to be closed including one with a couple of replies .

A touch tufty round the edges

Next Sommerton Deep Lock. It of course was empty. Positioning my windlass to aid extra umph to lift the paddles worked and the chamber was soon filling. For Sale signs were still on the fence by the lock cottage, a glance at the estate agents website suggests it has sold. We were a touch concerned that there were upstairs windows open allowing the elements in.

Some tlc required

Around the lock it looked as though nobody gave a monkies about the length of grass, it’s the shaggiest we’ve ever seen it. Have to say if we owned the lock cottage we’d almost certainly cut the grass around the lock. We’ve seen the towpath being trimmed elsewhere, the GU has had a trim and north of Banbury the cow parsley and iris’s were being mown down as we came along. A shame in some respects, necessary in others.

Just as I got back on Oleanna a boat showed itself up ahead, too late for me to leave the big single gate for them, it was already shut.

Now we had to make our minds up, moor on the meadows or carry on for at least another two hours. The precipitation wasn’t too bad, just constantly light, we carried on.

Heyford Common Lock has for sometime had a temporary lock beam on it’s bottom gate, a frame made from pine that flexed as you pushed it. This last winter the lock was given two new gates, it’s nice to lean against a beam and know all your effort is going towards opening it rather than bending it.

He he!

At Allens Lock someone has been creative with a marker pen. Below a boat was heading towards the lock, the chamber being just about empty I walked up to open it for them. They pulled in behind a moored boat. I lifted a paddle to fill the chamber, they pulled out again, I closed the paddle. They moored up closer to the lock, I lifted the paddle again and filled the lock for us. The paddle gear on the bottom gate didn’t want to close with the gate open, so I waited to close it and it was still reluctant to close, but with some persuasion it went down.

Key of Power bridge

I thought I’d stopped a car at the lift bridge, but it had turned into a drive. Now past the moored boats, we couldn’t be bothered to stop for the bins or water, the tap here incredibly slow. Onwards now to find signal away from the railway if we could.

‘Oses and baby ‘oses

Dashwoods Lock. I walked down to see if I could see if the Muddy Slipper mooring was available. I climbed onto the bridge below the lock. I really needed my camera to zoom in, but that was inside due to the rain, the cow parsley too high to be certain. I waded my way back to Oleanna through the grass and flowers. Above the lock we’d be able to see better what we were doing to moor up, we pulled back as far as we could, got the nappy pins out and moored. Damp around the edges, especially at foot level. Another drip on the inside of the bow doors too!

Oh drip!!

Despite it being quite wet outside Tilly made the most of it. The picnic area a little too overgrown so I decided to retire inside. OUT!!!! We’ve become too complacent with the doors!

Hmm, that way or that?

A look at river levels again and C&RT notices. Nells Bridge was now closed behind us, Bakers Lock and Shipton Lock Amber rising, boats advised to moor up. The Thames also on it’s way up, Dukes Cut and Isis Locks closed. The pair of socks I’d packaged up for hand delivery tomorrow may be with us for a little while longer.

3 locks, 4.5 miles, 1 very wet morning, 1 drip on the inside, 1 damp afternoon, 1 lift bridge, 1 pair packed, size 9 ready to turn the heel, 1 stove lit, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval, 1 very overgrown South Oxford Canal.


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