To leave a comment, scroll to the end of the post,click on the word " no comments" and it will open the comment option for you. Type in your note and choose your Profile. If you don't understand the choices under Profile then choose Anonymous but PLEASE type your name and location at the bottom of your comment so we know who you are!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

A few degrees

Before I tell you about today I forgot to mention that the other day at Lower Heysham, when we were taking on water we were speaking to a young couple on another boat and it turned out that she was an anesthetist from the Heath Hospital,which is near where we live, and because Denise was a nurse that a worked there a few years ago, she also knew people that we knew , how strange........

Anyway back today we left Gibralta and we come upon Bakers Lock which was named after one of the owners of the Rock of Gibralta pub, here the canal joins the river Cherwell, which ifbin the red we shouldnt proceed as it can be dangerous but lucky for us its just in the amber so we proceed, the river is a bit fast flowing but ok, we then go through Shipton lock and back to the safety of canal water.

We then go under the new Shipton Railway bridge with the remnants of the old bridge adjacent this on Christmas Eve 1874 was the site of a railway accident which unfortunately claimed the lives of 34 passengers on that night.

it's then long before we passed the pretty romantic canal side village of Thrupp with its canal side houses and pub hugging the water.We then reach the area of Kidligton which is a suburb of Oxford we plan to stop and use the the shops here but for some reason can't find mooring suitable to stop at.

So we carry on pass Dukes cut where the Oxford joins the Thames and carry on towards Oxford where before the centre we find a mooring by a park, so we tie up and then find the local shops of Summertown, which is a good 20 min walk from the canal but has a good selection of shops including Marks and Sparks' Tescos and Sainsburys just to mention a few, plus coffe shops,banks and a pub.

We get some provisions and head back to,the boat, store the grocers and pay a visit for a couple of shandies in the near by The Anchor Pub, which is a nice friendly establishment, back to the boat and settled down for the night



Friday, 30 May 2014

Off to Gibraltar

No we haven't took he wrong turn and ended up in the Med

The weather today is a lot brighter, so we have breakfast then set off,again it's hard not say this each time is how pretty this canal and surrounding countryside is, but it is with it rolling farmland to the West and the water meadows of the river Cherwell to the East. The canal now and then meanders through tree lined cutting before the opening back to open fields. We pass Roushan House which dates from 1635 with its well manicured gardens.


Again only a couple of locks to operate and a few swing bridges which thankfully have been open, before we pass a golf course with it mowed greens and fairway before we come to Gibraltar and more importantly " the Rock of Gibraltar" which if you haven't gathered is a pub.

In 1596 on Enslow Hill which is near where we are moored,two men Hampton Poyle and Barthomelew Steer arranged a meeting. That. Year was a poor harvest and unprecedented poverty, these two men had decided that they would march upon London and to gain support from the surroundig shires of 200 to 300 men as to bring attention to their plight. Unfortunaly things didn't go to plan as they wre arrested straight away, tortured, and then hung drawn and quarted, at least they weren't hungry anymore.

We pop over the bridge to the Rock of Gibraltar for a few shandies, a band will be playing tonight and we decide if we will stay and watch them or go back to the boat to watch telly, shows we are getting old as we decide on the latter......see you tomorrow


Thursday, 29 May 2014

Lower Heyford

Again the weather is not the best, but we leave our last mooring and the canal again twists through beautiful English countryside the hills rolling out on either side of the canal in the distance.

We have a few locks which are quite deep locks to contended with and also a few swing bridges which one of them caused Denise quite a lot of bother,trying to keep it from swinging back down at every opportunity as she struggled to lift it .We pass the pretty village of Upper Heyford before deciding to moor at Lower Heyford.

After some lunch we decide to take a wander up to the village so we can post my sisters and nephews birthday cards, and what a treat it was the village,even in the rain was adorable with a mixture of thatched and slate cottages with their gardens all covered in flowers, it also had a church with it fine stained glass windows wich over looked the canal. The village also boasted a pub " The Bell" right by the green, the houses had names that hinted at their former uses, the Bakehouse, the Buttery, the school house and so on.

After we posted the birthday cards we paid a visit to the village shop and bought some bread before heading back to the boat, just before the heavens opened again, so again we battened down the hatches and settled down for the evening.


Wednesday, 28 May 2014

No to far as its raining again...

We leave our mooring at Anyho and fill up with water, at the wharf there, also we buy a couple bags of coal, something I didn't expect to be doing a few days before The summer month of June, but the last couple of nights have been cold and damp.
As the title suggests it raining again something else that shouldn't be happening in summer, but it is Britain though, so we only travel about a mile pass the village of Somerton a straggling grey stone village winding up the hill and go through the 12ft deep lock before mooring in the open countryside.
The river Cherwell is never far from the canal at this position with loads of heron and geese, moorhens with their little ball of fluff chicks are also abundant.
So we settle down for the day, baton down the hatches, light the fire and chill out for the evening.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Another rain day

The stocks Anyho

Today we decided not to move due to the weather,.....RAIN, so really not much to say today just that we took a walk to the local village Anyho, which is located a mile East of the canal, the village itself is so pretty, a typical chocolate box village. It was established as a settlement in the Saxon times,it's name is derived from Aienho old English for spring, grove or hill.

On one side of the road but doesn't look out of place in the village street is Anyho park, a 17th C mansion which these days is private house that can be you used as a wedding venues and the likes.

So we went back to the boat and lit the fire as its quite cold and damp and had a afternoon reading before dinner and a night in front of the telly. We should move on tomorrow so a it more to write about.


Monday, 26 May 2014

Boating in rain

A big bull

Bank holiday Monday and its typical bank holiday weather, it's raining! our friends Mike and Helen turn up to the boat and off we set for their days trip. We encounter a swing bridge that needs to be raised first, with a lock following closely and then we top up our water, before leaving Banbury behind, and then it's into open countryside and despite the rain it is beautiful, with rolling farmland with the fields full of their lush green crops.

We only go through four locks today but also plenty of swing bridges where their is a chain attached to pull down on to open, but luckily for Denise and Helen most of them are in the open position other wise their arms would be hanging off.

We pass the village of King Sutton, we don't stop but see it in the distance, but in church stands a font that is linked with the baptism in the year 662 of St Rumbold who lived nearby,a bit further down the the river Cherwell runs adjacent and joins at the Anyho lock, which makes this part of the stretch so times s going into flood and with restricted use. At Anyho Wharf we moor up for the night and pay a visit to the canal side pub the Great Western, here we have a few drinks before Mike and Helen get into a taxi to go back to Banbury to pick up their car and. drive back to Cardiff. We had a great weekend with them with plenty of laughs, one memorial one was when Helen took over the tiller to steer the barge,in that matter of 10m she managed to turn the boat at a rate of speed into the side of the canal full of trees and bushes and when told to turn, she was shouting " I am" and laughing her head off, she was,but the wrong way. And all this took place in the pouring rain which did not let up all day but was full of laughs.

A swing bridge that needs brute pulling power to operate



Sunday, 25 May 2014


A nice sunny morning, so we had bit of breakfast before setting off on foot today to meet our friends from Cardiff, Mike and Helen, Michael and I have been mates since our infant years where we use to live opposite each over in Cardiff.

So we met them at the bar of the hotel which they were going to stay and basically it was a day of chatting, laughing, drinking, eating and sampling the local pubs in the area which some were steeped in history, so it was also cultural. We had a meal in "the Church House" which was as the name suggested was an old converted Church where the meal was ok, but its worth the visit just to see the decor, then we headed to another venue where a local girl Amy Simpson was singing and launching her first album, so if she ever does become famous then we saw her at the beginning and no need to pay concert hall ticket prices.


Then we said goodbye, but not before planning for our friends to come out the next day with us on our boats,so it was back to the boat where Firkin the cat had missed us not being there and to sleep.


Saturday, 24 May 2014

Ride a Cock ........

It's not a ghost but Denise in her wet weather gear .

Thought the title would get your attention, left last nights quiet mooring in the pouring rain, normally we wouldn't travel in this weather except we plan to meet a couple of friends in Banbury.So despite the weather we carry on, we have to operate three locks and only travel about four miles before we reach our destination, where we moor right in the centre of Banbury.

Banbury was originally a wool town and no trace of its castle remains after Cromwell demolished it during the Civil War.

The ancient cross which was made famous from the nursery rhyme Was also demolished in 1602 and the present cross is a 19c replica.

" Ride A Cock Horse To Banbury Cross

To See a Fine Lady Upon a White Horse

With Rings on Her Fingers And Bells on Her Toes

She shall have Music Wherever She Goes."


The spiced Banbury cake is also from here

The historic boatyard "Tooleys Boatyard " the last remaining element of Banbury's canal terminus still survives since 1790 situated right next to the modern shopping centre which has all the shops that one needs to spend shopping also a host of pubs including the 1570 Ye Olde Reindeer Inn which is probably the oldest building in Banbury.

As said before we are in Banbury because our friends Mike and Helen are popping up tomorrow as it's a bank holiday weekend, so we are looking forward to seeing them and having the odd shandy tomorrow.


Friday, 23 May 2014

On to Cropredy

Set off to a cold grey morning, a bit of a shock for this time of year, but at least it wasn't raining.Oxford canal is another pretty canal, it also. A very twisty and windy one, with a lot a open farmland on both sides, with villages far and few between. One of these villages is Wormleighton a manorial village that still retains a feeling of privacy, next we pass Fenny Compton Wharf where we take on water for the boat but unfortunately it's to early for  the inviting canal side pub The wharf inn. Next we cut through the non existent Fenny Compton tunnel that is no more,then we into the flight of locks at Claydon, this consists of five locks which are nice and easy ones. A couple of more locks but the promised rain has now come and it's tipping down, so we then reach our overnight mooring at Cropredy a sleepy little village which comes awake in August where the Fairport convention concert happens,

Also Cropredy was the site of a civil war battle on the 29th June 1644 where Cromwells forces under the command of Waller attacked the bridge at Cropredy in an attempt to open the way to Oxford, despite been outnumbered the Royalist Calvary managed to scatter Wallers army thus protecting Oxford.

So we moored up got out of our wet clothing had something to eat and settled down for A night of telly, we were going to the pub but decided against it.


Thursday, 22 May 2014

On our way again

We returned to the boat a couple of nights ago, done a few jobs that needed doing, went shopping in Lemington Spa to stock up our cupboards with food and booze, topped up the diesel and water and had a pump out, then said good bye to our neighbours and off we set.


Our plan this trip is to do the Thames Ring, nearly 200 miles with a lot of locks including double and single and the odd couple of lifting bridges, we will take in the Oxford canal, The Thames River and the the Grand Union Canal and then back to our home marina Wigram Turn.


We set off and join the South Oxford Canal almost immediately,we skirt around Napton hill where the legend of why the 13c church is built at the top of the village instead of the village green is that the devil persisted in moving the church building stones to where the site of the church is nowadays.


Denise has got to work on this trip and soon the first of our eight locks which is today's quota, approaches, we meet a lot of hire boats who are on their way back to return their boats. We progress slowly and pass the lock where a couple of weeks ago was the site of a major embankment slippage, here a volunteer lock keeper and his helper gives us a hand.

We pass an old canal arm where an old engine house was situated which use to pump water up to the summit from the bottom of the Napton flight of locks and then pass a tiny settlement Marston Doles which owes its existence to the canal, here the towing horses that use to drag the canal boats use to be stabled.

Onwards pass the small but pretty village of Prior Hardwick till we moor up just pass bridge 128 Willisons bridge, and just in time as its now raining with thunder and lighting.