Friday, 30 October 2009

Hillmorton, mostly.

We have had a really exciting day, made it to Rugby and ......Daaa-daaah, Tescos!!! OK we had to stock up on essentials, red wine, sherry, malt and I think we bought some food.
To go back, Braunston and we finally caught up with Chris and Jude

on Theathenia, didn't get a photo' of them but they are good mates and we caught up with their happenings, and supped a drop of red with them.

Between Braunston and Hillmorton you run alongside the old Great Central Railway, long closed but this signal still stands forlornly waiting for a train that will never come.

At Hillmorton you have three sets of paired locks with the church towering over them.

These were the central workshops of the Oxford Canal, now a busy boatyard and hire base.

At the bottom of the locks we came across this Rose Boat (Which we had already met at Braunston)

with its splendid Anglo-American crew, it was great talking with you guys, hope we will see you on the cut in future.

Where do people get there boats names from?

Although some are more obvious.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

A change of scene.

We finally left Braunston today, after several days of debauchery with some old friends, Chris and Jude on Theathenia. Made it to Hillmorton but only have a GPRS signal so can't load any pictures. Hopefully will make it to Rugby in the next day or two and will do a full update then. Oh for full 3G coverage!!!!!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

A lost church.

Yesterday morning we walked out from Braunston to Wolfhampcote, a village that disappeared in medieval times.

All that is left is the splendidly irregular church.

The interior was vandalised in the 1950's shortly after the church went out of use, but a few bits of medieval wood work survive.

On the way back Braunston church loomed above the trees, next to the remains of the Windmill. We then adjourned to the Old Plough for lunch. The Black Sheep bitter is superb.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Back at Braunston.

Shifted down on Saturday, Braunston just can't be avoided, all canals seem to lead here.
The Mill House is being refurbished and the Old Plough still does really good beer and grub.
It's now chucking it down and blowing half a gale. What an exciting day!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

A RAS with the local Royal Fleet Auxillary.

Today was RAS (Refuel At Sea) day, Ian on Gosty Hill was coming down the cut and we waited to take on diesel and coal, much easier than a frigate in the Atlantic!

Gosty Hill arrived, the measured beat of her exhaust heralding her arrival.

Ian stood guard on the diesel hose while Ally(please forgive any spelling anomalies) watched the pump.

Mr B. pursued his own interets.

Refuelling complete Gosty Hill set off toward her home port, just above Claydon locks.

Now the stove glows and Marmite snores.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The demon farmer of Flecknoe.

He's back, he arrived at 1815hrs. and started doing agricultural things in the field opposite. Do these yokels never sleep? Any bets that he'll be here until the witching hour?

Just odds and ends and a poem just for a bit of culture.

Good grief, is it that long since I added anything to the blog? No excuses, just lack of a signal and going fishing and a day with Cairstine and Noah and Jonah and being bone idle.

We met them at Marston Doles and they worked us down the locks to Napton.

We left Napton a couple of days later, saying good bye to the windmill, the Canada geese and the awe inspiring collection of junk on the farm by the cut.

Now moored between Flecknoe and Lower Shuckburgh, whose church is as fine an example of Victorian Gothic as you will find, truly wonderful in its awfulness. Apparently Shuckburgh means a hill haunted by demons, I don't know about that but the hill opposite us is haunted by a farmer who insists on plowing and performing various other rural tasks until gone midnight each night!

A walk through the lanes and we found this wonderful wandering road, actually Flecknoe Station Road, the station, alas, long gone, but it brought to mind G. K. Chesterton's poem:

The Rolling English Road.

Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such that we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.

I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,
Where you and I went down the lane with ale mugs in our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.

His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which,
But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.
God pardon us, not harden us; we did not see so clear
The night we went to Bannockburn,by way of Brighton Pier.

My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage;
Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to paradise, by way of Kensal Green.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

A close encounter and a missing tunnel.

Between Claydon and Fenny Compton on the Oxford Canal there are some tight (and shallow) bends, on one of these we suddenly encountered the Narrow Boat Trust, motor and butty, with a load of bagged coal, heading south. A rapid astern was not enough

and the motor ended up on the putty on the outside of the bend, the long shaft was called into action

while the butty took him right up the transom.

After some vigorous poling they were free!!

Fixed smiles were the order of the day

and the pair (Ididn't get the motors name but the butty was Brighton) went off towards Claydon.

Then we came to Fenny Compton tunnel, well it was a tunnel originally but was opened out in the 19th century and is still called a tunnel, confusing or what?

This is tunnel bridge, allright!

The remains of industry, what these were I have no idea but there they are, alongside the cut.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Family Visit.

Just had a family visit from Natalie, Mark, Esme and Elliot so here are some pictures.
Jill smiles at Esme while Elliot practices his right hook.

Jill and Natalie debate whether to feed Esme to the ducks.

Small girl + chocolate.

Big sisters? Huh!
Mark struggles with an Oxford lift bridge, he had to walk to the next lock and I threw the boathook in the canal, all good fun.