Saturday, 20 July 2019

Back to Banbury


Sunday 14th July; Chisnell lift bridge to Banbury
We woke early to find the mist that was lying over the fields last night had vanished in the early sun.  We were on our way by 8.30, in lovely cruising weather.  Not too hot for Meg yet, and she clearly detected some enticing smells – ears pricked and nose whiffling for the first half hour or so.


In Aynho, few people were about and most seemed to be still abed.  This chap was looking alert though, with his (or her?) dog on his lap playing with its non-skeletal toy.


Some boats have so many tubs and planters on the roof that it is a wonder they can see to steer at all.  This boat was not on a permanent mooring so they must move somehow!


All was quiet at Aynho lock too, with the Cherwell flowing placidly across above it.


We didn’t meet another boat until we got to Nell Bridge lock.  They had just left the Pig Place mooring, having spent the night there - £12 plus 3 quid for electric hook-up, which seemed a bit steep.  I suppose it’s what they charge visitors to their camp site.  Anyway we pulled in to get some sausages and eggs (which were on offer at 2 boxes for the price of one).  Outside, the tables were heaving with happy campers having what looked like delicious breakfasts.

Around Twyford Wharf, there were several fields of what we think was flax (linseed) with its beautiful blue flowers.


The water level was much better than last year, when the boats moored at Twyford Wharf were grounded and listing.  One bridge has a ferocious-looking guard shark.  Having a bad hair day, I think.


We started meeting more boats as we neared Kings Sutton lock, having to wait for one to go up and finding 3 at the top waiting to come down.  At Grant’s lock, I noticed that the bridge has two numbers – 174 and, faintly, 148.  I remember reading something about why there are two numbers, but now I can’t find it.


We carried on to Banbury, stopping on the Tramway moorings to have some lunch and get the paper from Morrison’s, before carrying on through the town centre and managing to pick up the same mooring by the park that we had on the way down.  Naturally Meg demanded a proper walk as she had been so patient today.  We took her right round Spiceball fields as well as the formal park.  These are much rougher and more fun to go sniffing about in.

Geranium pratense

Knapweed
It was really still too hot for Meg, so we had to go over to the river and find a low bit of bank so she could get a drink.  Revived, she had plenty of energy for more play before we returned to the boat.

9 miles, 5 locks

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