Sunday 11 July 2021

We've had time off!

 Well Reader, 
I hardly know where to start, I've been remiss in attending to my bloggy-diary and I know it.  Thank you to Louise this morning who messaged me and I received the unspoken prod to get writing again.

The fact is that we've been home for part of it, the weather forecast said the next four days were rainy, now I don't mind a day in the boat with a nice glass of,  a good book and a selection of M&S foodie treats but four days is pushing it don't you think?  So with the advantage of having the car nearby, friendly people in a cottage watching over NB WaL we might just as well get rained on at home as here..... and we were.

As I phoned my mum to tell her we were coming home for a long weekend David had already booked two days of golf with his chums.  Sadly (hahahahaha) one day was fogged off and the other raining so badly his chums cried off.  So he helped with gardeny jobs.

Mother in the mean time has had her second eye cataract operation completed and is currently enjoying convalescing at a nice hotel called my sisters house!

We arrived at Somerton Meadows and went for a nice walk, it was really lovely actually, along the canal to the second bridge, through a field with bullocks which I am not keen on, then past a new build which was almost completely hidden from view, the only access was a very dirt track and through a field.  Almost certainly will be flooded but they had taken the precaution of building it up on stilts, completely surrounded by trees my pet hate but it did get me wondering if the owners actually had planning permission!

Pretties on the walk.

We carried on walking steadily uphill and ended up at North Aston where there is Aston Manor or Hall or somesuch which hosts the public footpath over its frontage and the new owners have seen fit to put this where the footpath is;

Bloody great bull.

The owners will get the wrath of my pen descending on them soon I can tell you.  
Well I can now tell you that my fence vaulting skills have greatly quickened. 

Gently climbing the Cherwell valley.

This scene below reminds me greatly on the scene in 
The Fellowship Of The Ring, the first of the Lord of The Ring series when the five hobbits were on the road here then the Wraiths galloping along, Frodo shouts "Get off the road get off the road!!!!" and goes giddy....

For anyone who didn't see the film then its a pretty green path in trees.

More pretties.

Now there's been an incident at a lock further down the canal, Dashwood Lock, maybe you've heard about it?
The arm or Beam of the bottom gate has broken off!  Hard to believe isn't it?  The lock was being worked by CART (Canal and Rivers Trust) staff but the times were restricted to get through to two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon.  

We decided to get through while the going was good.  I had expected there to be a big bottleneck and a long wait but no, just us and another boat so we went down it although Dashwood Lock is one of my favourite mooring spots, actually used to be for now the lovely open views all around have been removed by the unchecked growth in the hedges heights on both sides.... Note to self to buy idiot proof heavy duty hedge trimmers.

You can see here that the views all around have been lost or misplaced from behind David at the end of the long lock landing.

Hedge trimmers badly needed.

Well that's broken alright.  Interesting to see what the beams look like on the inside.

The CART operative's jacket.

The CART operative.

The lock now emptying and a handy rope attached.

Heave Ho me hearties

Yes it worked and that's how to do it if you break a Beam.

So let's us just continue on that conversation of cutting back the towpath greenery for a minute.   Whilst I had a captive audience (CART employees) I asked about the policy on the South Oxford and yes the "Policy" varied from district to district, yes the recent weather has played a big part, rain that is Reader, as all our lawns have grown up high too, yes there is a variation of demands of boaters starting from those who want the canal towpath mowed and maintained and manicured the entire length of the canal, those who love it overgrown and countrified or jungle-fied and those who want a happy medium of having armco and possibly where there are mooring rings made visible.  Currently it's not entirely safe to step off your boat in the sure and certain knowledge that its firm or there's not a bloody great hole to sprain your ankle in because the grass is knee deep.

Anyway that conversation is going to roll and roll for the present time.

We went on a little way more looking to moor up as the sun had come out.

This is what we found, wild geraniums abound all along the pathway, the sound of birdsong and bees was pretty wonderful, Now there's an argument to be made here about NOT cutting back.... 

Only about two boats passed us for the rest of the day, goodness knows where all the boats and boaters are, but I'm glad they are not here.

Wild geraniums in abundance with associated Damsel flies and buzzy bees.

Looking to my right from my chair, its the tow path but on the left of the photo is the River Cherwell, a glass too many and I'd be in the drink.

Chairs, sun, a kindle and a glass of, what could be nicer?

I have no idea what supper was.  I'm now making notes to remember.



  1. Well on the subject of cutting back ,I prefer it natural with a few areas trimmed for mooring ,we were moored by bakers lock and they were mowing the towpath and yes they carried on by the boat and sprayed grass cuttings over one side and you know how hard it is to get off ,so no they can stop mowing if there is no consideration for the boats , hope you enjoyed the S oxford for now it's our favorite canal

    1. Dear Sharon,
      Well I'm sorry that you had your boat splattered with grass cuttings, we've not yet had that pleasure. But I think it was probably human error after NB Percy had the same thing happen to him just after a repaint or something similar in expense and he pursued the contractors financially.

      Mostly I've seen they just leave the grass alongside boats.
      The CART man also did point out that not all armco is actually a mooring, some is where the banks have needed saving.
      The saving of insects is vital to all of us, but like you I feel that where lots of people like to moor it should be maintained a little better on the South Oxford than it is currently as it is on other canals.
      It's a favourite of ours too for sure.