Sunday, 13 August 2017

Onwards and upwards - battered and bruised, but still functioning!

Sunday 13th August 2017
Boat Inn, Birdingbury Wharf, Grand Union Canal to below Napton Locks, Oxford Canal
4.5 miles, 3 locks

After I had posted yesterday's blog we went back across the bridge towards the pub to explore what we felt might be a different walk for Monty.  As we looked over the bridge we spotted this boat.  The mooring has no signage to indicate a long term mooring, but surely this boat has not moved for years?  As we went past today we spotted that the back deck is piled high with tyres - no room for a helmsman.

Anyway back to the walk - this is just one of several notice boards introducing the area to newcomers

It was certainly a drop of 'Monty Heaven' -wide open spaces which are just perfect for ball throwing

Not a place to be visited after a lot of rain judging by the paw prints backed into solid earth

There was a bit of woodland

and then we came to an area under some sort of construction

with a swing bridge in the distance

Is this a road under construction?

It leads to Nelson's Wharf which was not like this when we came past two years ago and looks as though there is room for more expansion

This is the view from the wharf to the canal

We certainly had a very happy dog, although we did get back to the boat with one ball less than we left with

 And so to today.... how would I be?  Well I had a bad night with a lot of pain, but not to my knees.  It was my lower back that was giving me grief.  I had had to take a couple of paracetamol in the wee small hours and I got up this morning still in a lot of discomfort, so it was a slower start than we had anticipated.  Chris did the morning chores and took Monty for a short walk to do all things a good dog has to do first thing in the morning and we pulled pins around 10am.

This is a view of the new moorings at Nelson's Wharf from the canal as we passed today.

It was an uneventful trip to Calcutt Locks - just three of them and all we had to do today, however when we got there we encountered our first queue of this trip.  We were the fourth boat, but with two boats going up at a time it was only a 20 minute delay and with the sun shining on us and people to chat to it was all very good humoured and a pleasant interlude.  As we arrived the man on the boat ahead of us came to take a rope and pull us in.  Always welcome, but particularly today with me not at full strength.

Monty immediately took to his daughter and they quickly became firm friends.  Not something he does very often - we think he is missing Evelyn

He also made friends with this rather beautiful Samoyed

All it good time it was time for our locking partners, a Kate boat, nb Jenella and ourselves to enter the bottom lock.  They had a big crew, so I was lucky that I was not required to do much.

It was very busy with boats going this way

and that.  By the time we got to the third lock there was another boat waiting to go up and the Jenella crew insisted we go ahead which was very kind of them.

 Once we were out we came across this boat which I am including for Evelyn.  She kept looking for pirate boats and now we have found one - now there cannot be many pirate boats with a huge ice cream cone on the bow!

It was the wrong time of day for us to partake of their offerings, but with younger crew a stop would have been a must

This amused us - it says ' STOP HERE for all your pirate booty - hats, flags, bandannas, swords and sailors outfits - knock and give us an ARRRRRRRRRR!'   How could we not think of Evelyn when she told us her joke of the moment 'Why are pirates called pirates?' 'Because they arrrrrrrrrr!'

The next point of interest was the junction where we were to turn right

onto the Oxford Canal towards Oxford

Suddenly we were in wide open country with expansive views

plus the frustration of following a canoe who was too slow for us not to catch him up, but not slow enough to overtake!  In the end Chris put the bow to the bank so that Monty and I could disembark and walk ahead.  The delay was just enough to get a decent distance between him and the canoe.

Now that is a good name for a boat on the Oxford Canal

The views just kept coming

This boat took us by surprise being so low in the water.  Chris reckons it was a tunnel tug - does anyone know if he is right?

Then suddenly you round and bend and know that you are approaching Napton with

the windmill perched high up on the hill

How is this for a house?  It looks as though they have had a garden room built on that is nearly complete

As Monty and I approached Napton all we could see was a solid line of moored boats.  Would we find a mooring.  Someone was smiling down on us as I found a Tentatrice sized gap that we slotted into.  After lunch we walked up to the village to get a paper - the sign by the canal says is is 50 yards (we reckon they forgot the last '0') and that is open every day early to late. That is not the case as it shuts at 14:00 on Sundays and we got there at 14:45.

Back to the canal and we then walked up the locks.  We spotted the church in the distance high on the hill.  Legend has it that it was to be built on the village green, but that the devil persisted in carrying the building stones up to the site where the church was eventually built.  Apparently you can see 7 counties from up there.  An expedition we might have undertaken if I had been in better form.  Another time maybe - who knows?

Neither of us has ever come across a 'Christadelphian Meeting Room' before.  Courtesy of Mr Google I now know the following - Christadelphians aim to get as close as possible to the faith and practice of the early Christian church. They describe themselves as "a lay community patterned after first century Christianity". Their name comes from a Greek phrase, Christou adelphoi, which means 'brothers (and sisters) in Christ'

Once again we were afforded fabulous views and a taste of what we can look forward to tomorrow.

This is looking down the locks from lock 13

We walked back down again back to the boat via The Folly for a swift pint

I survived the day taking alternatively paracetamol and ibuprofen which worked well and I hope I get a better night tonight ready for the 9 locks we have to do tomorrow.

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