19th May; Calcutt to near Barby
We left the marina shortly before 9, and cruised gently towards Braunston. Plan A was to be at Flecknoe last night in glorious sunshine, but as it rained all yesterday afternoon, Plan B it was. We saw our first cygnets of the year at Napton junction. I did more steering than usual today – Dave has made me a step, from scrap timber we salvaged from a local building site. Not because I can’t see over the roof, but because a dodgy shoulder makes steering uncomfortable at my normal height!
I love this time of year. The greens are vivid and vibrant and the blossom this year is magnificent. The air is thick with birdsong and the scent of hawthorn blossom. With good weather for pollination there should be a massive crop of berries for the birds – let’s hope the weather gets warmer and calmer.
We passed this old wooden boat near Braunston a couple of years ago and there was a generator running and something that may have been a pump ….. but it looks to be a lost cause now.
The weather was quite chilly to start with but was warming up as we approached Braunston. The ducks here are very bold! This one waited patiently while the boater sorted out her camera.
We moored on the North Oxford just past the turn, and I left Dave attending to the brasses while I walked up to the village from bridge 89 through a flock of sheep with their lambs. What big ears you have!
The footpath comes out near the church and I looked and looked for the peregrines, but only saw a couple of pigeons. It is of course obligatory to take a picture of Braunston Church but I went for a closer view of the stonework this time;
After the purchase of some Braunston Bangers and a few other things I walked back in lovely sunshine. At the start of the footpath I spotted this sign – it was quite small and not very noticeable so I don’t know how much effect it will have, but I found it amusing.
When I got back three ducks flew onto the roof. As Dave had just done the brasses we didn’t want any ‘accidents’ so we waved our arms at them, but had to flap our jumpers to persuade them to leave. The forecast was for rain later, so we got going again quite soon after lunch. The sunshine didn’t last long but it wasn’t cold, and we moored after an hour between bridges 81 and 80 (near a Young Offenders’ prison, we have recently discovered), before the noise of the motorway at Barby gets intrusive. It’s a popular mooring here but we got a nice spot at the northern end and although plenty of boats moored behind us we had no-one in front.
Meg and I went for a run back to Willoughby and Dave did got busy with a touching-up brush. Luckily the forecast rain held off till evening. I think it may be handover day at Calcutt tomorrow as we saw several hireboats grimly cruising as it got colder and wetter.
3 locks, 8 and a half miles