Monday, August 06, 2012

Encounters, wood and late showers

I was getting ready to get moving this morning when a boat went past. Not an unusual event, you might think. But this one turned out to be NB Tesla. You remember Bernie and Val who came to see us when we were waiting for the river to go down at Bablock Hythe? They were looking at buying a boat, this one. It turns out they did, and were just taking it back to Thrupp after a successful survey at Banbury.
They pulled in and we had an hour talking boats before parting company.

Bernie, Val and son Declan, and NB TeslaSAM_2085 Bernie and Val and Nb Tesler
Enjoy the boat, guys!

We got going, about a mile to Northmoor Lock, where we were stopped by a couple of C&RT chaps removing a tree that had blown down across the canal.

Blocked passageSAM_2086 Tree sorting at Northmoor
We waited for about ¾ of an hour for them to do their stuff, then, while they enjoyed a brew provided by Mags, I disposed of the cut up tree – in the direction of our roof. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, eh.

There was a bit of a queue behind us by the time we got into the lock.

Northmoor LockSAM_2089 Northmoor
Meg made a new mate while we waited…

Meg and PickleSAM_2088

A boat was just coming out of Dashwood Lock when we arrived, then we had a steady cruise to Lower Heyford.
Always a popular spot for mooring, it was busy with boats. Fuel boat NB Dusty was moored at one end of the village, and Bones in the middle.

Bones’ unusual artwork.SAM_2095
Both boats were locked up, so no diesel and no natter. Ah well. We can deal with the former at Aynho Wharf tomorrow. The latter will have to wait till we come down again.

I nearly managed to drop Mill Lift Bridge onto our cratch as Mags was going through. It’s balanced to stay down, so I’d put my weight on the beam to lift the deck, then reached down to secure it with the chain, which took my weight back off the beam with obvious consequences. After a couple of ups and downs I just sat on the beam and held it that way.

Mill Lift BridgeSAM_2096 Allen's Lock

Allen’s Lock, near Upper Heyford, has a miniature brick tail bridge, beautifully proportioned.

Allen’s LockSAM_2097 Allen's Lock
Mag’s is waiting for the lock to empty.

It really is a very attractive canal, the South Oxford.

Countryside near SomertonSAM_2100 Nr Somerton

Our last lock of the day was Somerton Deep, living up to it’s name, being 12 feet deep.

Formidable lower gate of Somerton DeepSAM_2104 Somerton Deep
It’s a heavy gate to swing, I’d struggled to close it on the way down, and I fared little better this time. Still, I managed in the end.

There’s a splendid cottage alongside though, to make up for the effort.

Somerton Deep Lock CottageSAM_2105 Somerton Deep

A long way down….SAM_2107 Somerton Deep

We pulled over just past Bridge 193, after what felt like a long day but in fact was only 4 hours on the move. We’d done well with the weather, the showers that were due didn’t really materialise, at least not till later.

It was around five o’clock that the sky darkened and over came a stupendous thunderstorm.

You can see the spray bouncing off the roof of the boat moored ahead.SAM_2112 Heavy Shower

Then this guy came round the corner, struggling to see where he was going….SAM_2113 Heavy Shower

The boat, maybe appropriately, is called Sunseeker!

Locks 5, miles 8


Carol said...

Ahh, the dreaded two pronged attack! Mags makes them tea whilst Geoff deftly relieves them of the wood......Epic! (George)

I had the same problem at Mill Lift Bridge when we went up the south Oxford last year - I wasn’t strong enough to hold onto the chain to hold the beam down as well as try to turn round and sit on it - it was a good job I tried it and failed before George was ready to come through!

Love the picture of Sunseeker - hope he finds some soon - it looks as if the side hatch is open too letting in all that rain!

Geoff and Mags said...

Hi Carol
Well spotted! I just hope he had an interior screen in. If not he'd likely be baling!

MortimerBones said...

Fantastic pictures of the rain!!!!

Ade said...

Hi Geoff as Bones said amazing rain pic's, top drawer camera work right there.