Wednesday, 27 July 2016

A ruckus at Banbury

Monday 18th July; Chisnall Lift bridge to Slat Mill lock

Phew what a scorcher!  We made a rather belated ‘early’ start – 8am – though it was still cool.  We only saw one moving boat for more than an hour.  By 9 we were approaching the farm shop at Nell Bridge and made a quick stop for some meat.  Their whippets were already beginning to droop in the heat.  It was tempting to take our ease on the settees and armchairs set about on the slope but we resisted.  They have a nice little van parked under a shelter.

1 pig place nell bridge

Under the motorway bridge, and then we came to Coles lift bridge which is normally left open.  The chain was swinging - it had just been used by the farmer who had crossed to check his cattle.

3 at coles lift bridge farmer just crossed it

By the time we were approaching Banbury it was very hot.  Another marina or at least a ‘basin’ is planned – we are certain this sign wasn’t there when we passed over a week ago.  Will it mean this canal will get even busier?

4 below banbury didnt see this on the way out

We stopped to go up to Morrison’s, then on the service block to fill and empty.  We moved across the canal to wait for the lock and I went up to set it, to find an alkie amiably resisting two security men’s attempts to move him on.  Reinforcements were arriving as I closed up for the boat in front of us, and suddenly the two new security guards took off running full pelt down towards Dave – then straight past, phew.  A visitor to Banbury was shouting the odds at the inoffensive boat waiting behind us and his companion had over-reacted.  After a lot of shouting and arm-waving everything calmed down again.  Two women from the arts centre came out to watch and commented how disturbances were ‘getting worse’ in the area.  Meanwhile the alkie had crossed the lock and was chatting peaceably to a couple watching me working.

Our plan was to moor at Spiceball Park and take Meg for a walk under the trees.  But there was no room at all so we carried on, snacking on the onion bhajees and vegetable pakoras which we’d bought in Morrison’s.  The sun was scorching and every patch of shade was welcome, but we wanted to get away from the noise of the motorway.  There was a queue at Bourton lock, and I went up to find Seyella in the lock and a crew member injured, already reported by Geoff.  Only time for a quick hello as he was rather occupied! Eventually all was well.

There was plenty of willing help as boats went up or down the lock and once we were through we gave up the idea of getting to Cropredy and looked for the first decent shady spot to moor.  Here it is, below Slat Mill lock.

6 small patch of shade below slat mill lock

We were joined by a couple of other boats but many more went on up the lock.  Dave washed and waxed the starboard side, which hadn’t been properly done for a while.  It was so hot again that we spent most of the evening sitting out on the towpath.  Meg was off her food, which is most unusual, but we hoped it was only because of the heat.

11 miles, 7 locks, 1 lift bridge

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