Napton (a gentle cruise to the pub)

We wanted an easy day on Friday so after a leisurely morning indoors we set off for a cruise to Napton.  Karen drove as she hasn’t driven the new boat much and it’s easier to practise manoeuvres in the winter when there aren’t many boats around.  Soon after setting off we arrived at Napton junction where we had to make a sharp right hand turn off the Grand Union onto the South Oxford canal.

Karen looking pleased with herself after negotiating the sharp right hand turn onto the South Oxford canal in one simple turn without hitting the banks or having to reverse

We couldn’t believe that it was over three and a half years since we were last on the South Oxford canal.

After a couple of miles we arrived at the moorings by the Folly Inn, our destination for the day.  As it was quiet we decided to turn the boat round before mooring - we wanted to get back to the Grand Union by the end of the weekend.  This was the first time Karen had turned the new boat round and, as there were no onlookers, she did it perfectly.

Approaching the winding hole

Half way round

A look of sheer concentration - one hand holding the tiller hard over and the other on the throttle.  The sign on the towpath indicates the winding point.

Safely moored up for the evening with the festive lights on!

I took Buddy for a walk whilst Karen got on with wrapping up presents.  Even though it was fairly mild we had some mulled wine when I got back and then went to the Folly for an early evening drink.

The Folly Inn

We had a pleasant time in the pub and got chatting to a few boaters.  At one point I asked Karen what she missed about the old boat and she replied, "Absolutely nothing".  It made us laugh but in the end had to admit that if we had to chose something it was the fact that as it was bigger we had more storage space and more berths.  It feels a bit callous but we obviously don't miss the old Chalkhill Blue at all.

It is two months since we moved from the old boat onto CHB2 and in that time we have only covered 173 miles and been through 127 locks.  That's half the daily average that we used to do before Karen went back to work - in those days we used to average five miles and four locks a day.

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