Friday, May 08, 2009

A visit to Banbury

We only intended a short cruise today, just through Cropredy and find somewhere suitable to hole up for the weekend.

Through Cropredy

We had a stop on the service point to top up and empty, and witnessed a curious scene. There are a row off recycle bins in front of the waste disposal compound. The “instructions” indicate that there is no need to segregate glass, paper, cans and plastics. So there they are, overflowing with mixed recyclables.

The local authority recycling truck arrived, and 2 guys got out, had a desultory rummage through a couple of the bins, and one said “It’s all mixed up”. The other said “That’s it then”, and both got into the truck and drove off. So the bins remain, overflowing. In a couple of days there’ll be bags of plastic and paper stacked around the bins, just ready to be blown into the canal, or around the village. Some sort of procedural issue, I guess.

Out of the village the wind seemed even stronger than yesterday, but at least the early showers had been blown away. In fact the sunny spells got longer and longer, and we have wall to wall blue skies this evening.

We didn’t come across anywhere we fancied stopping between Cropredy and Banbury, and soon found ourselves entering the town.

Into Banbury, past Sovereign Wharf. ( Open Mon to Thurs only!)
The town was a surprise, with extensive moorings on both sides of the canal at Castle Quay. Even at this time of year they were busy, so I imagine it’s a bit chaotic in the season. There’s not a lot of room for moving boats to pass each other.

Banbury Moorings
We moored up and had a walk into town, past Tooleys Yard. This is where Tom Rolt had the boat “Cressy” refitted in the 1930’s, before his trip around the inland waterways as described in the classic Narrow Boat. He wasn’t keen on Banbury’s development then, I think he’d have a seizure if he could see it now….

Mags and Tooleys Historic Boatyard – yes, the glass building behind her.

Still, town hall is attractive, and Banbury Cross is still there. Though I think the “fine Lady on a white horse” would have trouble hearing the music from the bells on her fingers and toes. The Cross is now the middle of a busy traffic island.

Banbury Cross
The Town Hall
We pushed on out of town (after a visit to Greggs for a couple of cakes), watched by the gongoozlers through the lift bridge and then the lock. Like most towns, Banbury fades into the countryside through a belt of light industrial units, then we were out into the fields again. It was not long before we pulled over on pilings between two of the (open) lift bridges this side of town.
Had a short walk with Meg across a couple of fields down to the River Cherwell. It looks very pleasant. We’ll be seeing quite a bit more of it next week.

Locks 5, miles 6½

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