Wednesday 25th May; Hawkesbury Junction to Brownsover
Oh, what a change from yesterday! Woolly hat, fleece and gloves for me, and Dave went back below after a while to put his thermal vest on. Into the cold headwind on the North Oxford, and as we passed the wildish sub-station area on the offside I thought I might have seen a water-vole; they do live round here apparently, but another I saw a bit further on turned out to be a rat. As we passed the garden opposite the tackle shop at bridge 4 I took a couple of snaps of the variety of motor vehicles there, and wondered again how on earth the owner managed to get the newer-looking ones in past all the overgrown old ones …… my car expert tells me this one is a Ferrari.
The passenger window is a little open and the windscreen wiper must have been in use when the engine stopped. It doesn’t look as though it has been in an accident so what’s the story? The vans and larger vehicles seem to be in use as sheds.
We managed to squeeze in at All Oaks Wood for lunch, after which we waited for a boat trickling along the line of moored boats to go past. Then a work boat hove into view coming towards us round the bend, so it was a good few minutes before we left. But it didn’t take long to catch the first boat up as it was still going at boat-passing speed. The steerer appeared to be new to the game, so we hung back to avoid stressing her. There was plenty of time to take a photo of the entrance to the old Brinklow Arm with its lovely bridge.
Occasionally someone else took over from the steerer in front so she could open a can but went no faster and it began to get annoying as we had to keep dropping into tickover to keep our distance. Eventually we thought they were pulling in to let us pass but no, they were just making a meal of lining up for Newbold Tunnel. The sign at the entrance gives the estimated transit time as 2 minutes. Now, in general it doesn’t take as long to go through tunnels as the notice says, especially a wide tunnel like Newbold, and as my watch has a stopwatch I timed them ….. THREE minutes! Thank heavens they pulled in on the pub mooring. It wasn’t a hire boat and they all had cans of Special Brew in their hands, maybe they were just extremely relaxed …..
We only wanted to go as far as Brownsover where we took a space on the 14-day stretch in case we couldn’t get in further along. Dave went straight off back to the aqueduct where he took the steps down to the road and went to Halfords. I went the other way to Tesco as the cupboards were pretty bare. I’d made a cake yesterday so we had a slice of that before getting on with jobs. For the first time since we got the boat I have a working light above my side of the bed – Dave had finally managed to get a replacement switch for it. Then he repaired the bike puncture, as he’ll need it to fetch the car so we can go to Crick on Saturday.
12 miles, 1 lock, 1 tunnel