David had been up early and whipped the car along to the next stop, Cropedy, leaving Leon's car here at Somerton.
After a bit of a lively discussion, it was decided to risk all and move WaL onwards, after all we had two odd hours to make a run for it. So after I had hurriedly dressed and unknown to me Fliss and Leon had shot off for a run, we set off.
Frequent Flyers to this blog will remember that we had spent a chunk of time here in this area earlier on in the summer around Somerton and I had developed a love for this view below, it is of the lock ahead or perhaps I should say the Lock cottage at Somerton Deep Lock, with the bridge and the fields surrounding.
|The approach to the lock.
|See the two wee boats on the right, these belong to the home owner as there is no road access the scoot down to the meadows by boat.
A small argument ensued here, my confidence isn't up to helming through the tight bridge, and bringing WaL into the lock, my upper arm strength isn't up to the gates and the paddles... So after raised voices and no plan I jumped ship, emptied the lock (After checking all around for coming traffic) and did manage to open the huge gates, whereupon I shot down the steps, jumped back on, David jumped off and he worked the lock.....
As I opened the gates I looked over the bridge to see WaL not quite where I expected her to be. He'd gone below to make a coffee I think it was.
|He reversed WaL back to straighten up.
|So now with us in swapped places, this is the zonking great gate that I have trouble with.
|Much photographed Lock cottage.
Well the rain scheduled for 11am arrived at 9:15am, so as we approached Aynho two drenched runners came into view... They jumped onboard and both headed for hot showers, David and I were kitted up in wet weather coats and by wonderful good fortune found a visitor mooring empty just before the bridge and got on it quick, David watched the few empty spaces the other side of the bridge fill up quickly with approaching traffic.
We had foresaw this rain coming and had made plans, Fliss and I had made plans that is... the boys had made slightly different plans.
So all dressed up in coats and credit cards on pockets, we set off for our car just at the bridge, as we reached a large deep puddle David fatally hesitated realising he'd left the car keys in his shorts pocket, as he stood roadside a passing car drove through said deep puddle and soaked him, as he stood there a little in shock but swearing loudly another car repeated it. Tactfully Fliss and Leon walked away lest he see them guffawing into their cuffs. I stood by him heroically sympathising. It was hard.
We drove to Bicester, where most women will be aware of Bicester Outlet Village, sadly as we approached, the car park signs said ALL CAR PARKS FULL, David was incredulous, 3000 spaces full, what sort of morons want to go there...?
Fliss and I sniggered quietly. I was driving, so I of course followed the signs to the Full Car Parks and as we entered it and got into the queue Leon was heard to mutter
"You cannot be serious"
I gave the signal and both Fliss and I jumped out in a synchronised delft movement and ran abandoning the car and husbands in the queues, "Call you when we're done I yelled over my shoulder" running.
A hour later we tracked the men down in a nearby pub, their faces were pure delight as we negotiated the doors with our shopping bags but still beautifully in time to go to the cinema 7 minutes away to see Mama Mia Again. The opening scene included the cast dancing on the roof of a narrowboat moored at Godstow Abbey to "When I kissed the teacher" there we had been just a few days ago. A great film to watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon and I am still singing the music.
The next morning was an early start to get to Cropedy, there it would be out with this lot of visitors and in with the next...
|Leaving Aynho early the next morning.
|Pretty close to the chimney.
|At the lozenge shaped lock here, Leon had appeared dressed, Fliss had not.
|The last glimpse of the tidal section of the river Cherwell, a mere whimper today.
Leon is a keen paddle-boarder, except he mostly does it on the sea, these two were a bit wobbly, they were in the middle of the canal and in the end we gave a quick friendly beep on the hooter to tell them we were here... I asked the woman if her bare feet were cold but she said no.
|Fliss jumped off here to do her 5 K's, she runs 2 or 3 times a week, he daddy worked out how far she should go forwards then return to the boat, all the time wanting to do the exact milage..... rather him not me.
|Autumn very much in the air now.
|Leon noe helped this single hander through Kings Sutton Lock, but I was really looking at how much work is being done here new owners and Improvements.
The dearest Darlings packed up and departed at the end of the trip. We had washed up here in Cropedy. As we approached the service point a nb pulled out in front of us bold as brass without a backward glance. As it happened he was leaving a visitor mooring which suited us down to the ground, but he wasn't to know that, amazing to pull out right in front of another boat right in front of a lock.
The next morning I set about changing the bed, packing the washing, packing all the clean clothes and polishing all the light switches as Joe and Lesley were arriving. David drove off to meet them at Debdale Marina, our home base then drive them back to Cropedy to WaL where they are doing us an extremely BIG favour, thank you both again. They are taking Wal home and putting her to bed for us.
We have been called away to our real home to host a wedding. Another wedding, this will be out third and last daughter to marry in three years, shortly after that we both are heading to southern Italy. Yes madness I know but after last summer which was cool and unfriendly, we decided to take a trip to have some warm sunshine to finish off the summer, now having had a scorcher I'm not so sure but the food, wine and scenery will be worth it.
Should you follow Lesley on Facebook you will be able to see how they got on with WaL. I did follow it from home and saw how they met up with good friends of ours....
This summer has been a very very lovely one, thank you for sharing it with me and I might tell you about Italy in the future.
Farewell for now.