Friday 18 November 2011

Banbury - Shipton. Trouble at lock

Grants Bridge under repair at the lock

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King Sutton Church
Kings Lock

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The lock cottage and pretty Tarvers Bridge
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A new (to us) shop opened up above Nell Bridge, selling gas and all things pig - you need to be quite stalwart though as the moorings are 'vague' and these 3 hounds will come charging down to meet you
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We'd trundled on quite happily up until this point, but knew there was a problem when we reached Nell Lock and saw one boat waiting ahead and a group of people (more people than we'd seen for a week) peering down into the lock in that head scratching way

BW chaps were in there fishing, poking and prodding as a boat (who had passed us on our moorings at high speed earlier) was stuck trying to go down - another boat (coming up) was in there as well trying to pull him through.
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Success eventually - although whatever it was in the way was never found; only moved so it's waiting to happen again
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Looking back into the lock
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we shared the lozenge shaped Aynho weir lock with Jack the lad - 'Jack' is a right old softy (the dog)
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moored for the night at Aynho as we ran out of daylight. After dark some lads turned up in canoes fund raising for Leukemia Care - they left again at 7.15am. The stamina of youth! We left about 9.30.
Allens lock is a doddle coming down, but is very tricky coming up as it is set at an angle away from you - the cause of many an undignified arrival for the unwary.

A pleasant untroubled day as we continued on through the Heyfords.
and the Mill Lift bridge - now replaced with metal and well balanced - last time we came this way I walked merrily on past the bridge forgetting all about MR who had to be rescued by a villager

We moored up in good time at Shipton (we prefer the moorings to those at Thrupp), where Daisy had a ball.
Somewhere between the two points we picked about a kilo of field mushrooms - so that'll be mushrooms and blue cheese;  mushroom pate and mushroom soup for starters........I could tell you where but I'll wait 'til I've picked some more on the way back up. Yummy!!!

PS before I forget - the boat stuck in the lock and tearing about said that they had to get to Reading - they passed us a few days later coming back up grumbling that they couldn't get to Reading as the locks were closed on the Thames. That does tend to happen at this time of the year - the antidote is called planning

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Banbury - but should be in Oxford when this is published today

I am more than a bit behind with the blog and am getting into trouble as we are turning up at places before we are expected - so position update - Wednesday am at Shipton/Thrupp. Intending to drop into Oxford today.
Many, many years ago I lived in Banbury for 2 years as a student at  the art college – it’s good to come back as a visitor and get a fresh prospective. It really is a lovely town.
The eggs are a lot cheaper too! approaching Spiceball Park they had their own free range eggs for sale at £1.50 per dozen. Now that’s value.
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We enjoyed Ye Ole Reindeer Inn, but not the price of the guest ale, ‘Flagship’, at £4.00 per pint. The normal Hooky Ales – Old and Gold – were at the (what is fast becoming) more usual price of £3.30 per pint
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We were also given a tour of the Globe Room which was dismantled for safety during the blitz and then re-assembled. It’s now owned by the Council although it’s part of the pub building. Well, I think that’s the story but It was all too quick and complicated for my poor little brain to keep up with!
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Here we are moored on the left, Beefur behind and MR in front. Nemo and Daisy had to make do with the bushes and gardens around the Social Club for one night – they’d had more than enough mice recently anyway. Sue deserved a good night’s sleep and a break from the mouse catching night watch.
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G had an eye test in the morning and we stocked up with veg at the market before watering, re-stocking at Morrison’s and moving out to Aynho. We wanted to be down at my friend Wendy’s at Kirtlington for the weekend so decided to push on.. we all know what happens when you make a plan….

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Wormleighton to Cropredy

Hadn't long set off when we spotted the Bicester Hunt – approve or disapprove it’s lovely to see everyone out and it is very much part of our heritage. Mmmmm...... I’m aware that I’m beginning to sound very patriotic recently.                       OK, I can live with that.
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This is Wormleighton reservoir (hounds to the far side) but there is VERY little water left. The canal level is OK though
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Stopped for a long chat with this guy, I used to hunt with his Dad many years ago
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Claydon top lock. I love this flight, it’s so pretty and so remote
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Fenny Compton Inn now has a shop and sells eggs at £2.00 per 1/2 dozen – I queried the price and was told that they were local free range. When I commented that they should be cheaper due to reduced transport costs he wasn’t particularly amused. They also sell herbs and spices within the pub as a separate franchise with an honesty box. These were VERY good value for money.
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Clattercot wharf
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and into Cropredy – The Red Lion has closed down until further notice!
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The Brasenose wants £3.70 for a pint of Broadside!!!!!!! Cheaper ales are on offer (but not a lot). Definitely, ‘down South’ now. Ouch.
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Every time we come to Cropredy I lose G. Last time was to Dougie and James, then on NB Spirit, now on NB Chance. This time I lost him to  Penny on NB Campanula. He disappeared off muttering about showing her how to do electrical equalisation checks – makes a change from etchings!
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Chirruped for Daisy in the morning when ready to leave and a puddy tat voice answered me – not Daisy, but Rosie, she was soooo affectionate. That made 3 boats in a line with puddy tats on board.

Monday 14 November 2011

England's green/orange and pleasant land

This really is a beautiful part of the world - I've done this lovely circular walk before, but in the summer, not the autumn. This time G came with me.
We set off up to Stoneton Manor and the old moat from the original medieval village - only a farmhouse and the moat left now.
The farmer is very much into shooting and fishing with private fishing areas and fenced enclosures to keep young birds under control
When I was last here, the farmer and two children were being picked up by helicopter for a day at Old Warden aerodrome!
We returned to the canal via the gorgeous and secluded manorial village of Wormleighton
If you just want a short walk, it's straight up the track from bridge 133 

Coming from the canal it appears completely isolated, although there is a main road the other side - probably 15 minutes by car from Banbury

the oak trees looked stunning in their autumn gold

The church is 13th Century

It's such a short walk and so worth the visit
Alternatively, you may wish to invest in a slice - this 5 bedroom house is yours for offers in excess of £675,000 - although the environmental impact of the high speed train link in the vicinity may have reduced the price a little!