Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Calcutt (and coincidences in Cropredy)


Big black man spying on us late on Thursday evening at Flecknoe




We’re getting lots of comments from passing boaters admiring our plants, some even taking photos as they pass.  The sweet peas have done really well but any fresh flowers have to be picked every day to stop the plants from going to seed.  The nasturtiums are now providing us with salad leaves and flowers and the tomato plants are keeping us in fresh tomatoes.  One of my daily tasks is to water and dead-head all the plants.  We use fresh water on the plants for eating and canal water for the display plants – hopefully I don’t get them mixed up!

Gardening

Nasturtiums grown from seed and ready for eating

The harvest is in full swing around us at the moment and it is fascinating to see how technology has changed things.  We hardly ever see the traditional small bales of straw, farmers nowadays produce much larger bales which have to be lifted onto the trailers mechanically.


Loading a trailer with straw bales (means they must also have a mechanical grab at the other end to unload the trailer)


There are many ash trees in this area and it seems that the Chalara dieback disease has affected some of them.

Second tree from left affected by Chalara dieback disease which was first discovered in Europe in 1992 (in Poland)


Buddy’s next few months supply of food had arrived at Karen’s mums so on Friday we popped down to Wendover to pick it up.  As we were moored a fair way from the road, Karen kayaked the food back to the boat.

Karen grimacing because I was taking a picture of her!


On our way back from Wendover we went via Cropredy to catch up with Jan and Gordon.  They were at the Fairport Convention festival for the three days but came out to have a drink with us in one of the local pubs and listen to the fringe bands playing there.

On the green outside the Brasenose Arms


Jan and Gordon have a narrowboat too and they keep it in the marina at Cropredy so we all had a wander down there to have a look around the boat.  Coincidentally, other friends of ours, Lesley and Mike, have bought a plot of land right in the middle of Cropredy, complete with moorings on the Oxford canal.  They had very kindly offered to let us use the mooring if we had the boat down that way but our plans don’t include travelling down there until later in the year.  We were really envious that they had managed to find a plot of land in the middle of a lovely village like Cropredy.

Our water tank was getting dangerously low and the waste tank dangerously full so on Monday my main job was to get to a boatyard and then find a new mooring for the next two weeks.

Monday morning – our last at Flecknoe



It seemed to take all day to cruise five miles, go down three locks, take on water and get the waste emptied.  Well, it actually took five hours but it seemed longer because it was so hot.  Buddy lay in the shade of the balance beams at every lock.

Lowish bridge at Lower Shuckburgh but plants got through OK


Getting ready to turn sharp right onto the Grand Union canal at Napton junction.  The South Oxford canal carries straight on ahead
 

Pulling the boat out of the top lock at Calcutt.  I tend to drag the boat out of locks when going down so that I can keep Buddy near me.  I really don't want to leave him on the boat on his own in case something goes wrong


Using the services at Calcutt boatyard - Buddy is lying in the shade under the trees


Waiting for Calcutt middle lock to fill before we could descend




Third and final lock of the day - Calcutt bottom lock

Buddy in normal pose when we take on water

I always wear a life jacket when cruising on my own and I now think I should wear one even if Karen and are cruising together.  I have never been a good swimmer and I'm not getting any younger!
 

We ended up mooring west of Calcutt on a stretch little used by other boaters.  We were last here in April and had a pleasant two weeks without really seeing anyone come past us.  The path down from the road was really overgrown so I spent a while cutting back the brambles and nettles to make Karen’s journey from the car a bit easier.  As it was such a warm day we had yet another barbecue in the evening.

Our new mooring for the next couple of weeks



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