April 2005

Finally I find some time to route the hull supports and associated parts. The delay I have now is upgrading my bench driller. I've given up on the toy and acquired a real one. I'm not sure of it's vintage but it's certainly got more metal in it than anything you'd buy today.

Napton junction in the early morning mist Five days after mooring up at Calcutt we were on the move again. This time a short 2 day run down to Lower Heyford. The Oxford canal is very picturesque but exceeding slow going when you're in a hurry. You've barely got started then you spend the next 2 hours circling the same Windmill.

Passing under the M40 After lunch outside the canalside pub at Fenny Compton it was on to Cropredy for the evening stop. On the approach to Banbury the canal passes under the M40 for the first of three such occurrences. Then onto King's Sutton, Aynho, Clifton, Upper Heyford and finally mooring up at Lower Heyford around 4 o'clock after 35 miles 32 locks.

We returned the following Friday afternoon and continued south to the Thames. Leaving Lower Heyford in horizontal sleet was not the best start. Only to get worse following an altercation with a lock handle at the Northbrook lock resulting in a whack to the face producing copious amounts of the red stuff. We moored up in Shipton just short of Thrupp as darkness fell. Untying the center rope and the roof was covered in a sheet of ice...

Saturday morning Next morning we awoke to a clear blue sky and were underway by 7:30. Usually we go through Oxford and join the Thames at the Isis lock but this time we decided to try the Duke's cut. Conditions on the Thames were excellent and there were no stream warnings which is unusual for this time of year. This probably explains why it was so quiet with so few boats out. We made Wallingford by 17:30 and had a lovely meal at the George Hotel.

Moored in Wallingford

Leaving Wallingford we saw our first Slipper launch of the trip. We arrived at Reading by 14:30 after 52 miles and 22 locks. K & A next...