Buddy and I set off after breakfast on Tuesday, so that once again we could get to our destination for the day by lunchtime.
Straight into it – Buddy waiting at the first lock of the day – Fosse bottom lock
After the first two locks, we stopped at Fosse Wharf to top up with water. As the sun had come out I moved the tomato and chilli plants onto the roof.
Mike and Lesley, whose plot of land and mooring we are heading for in Cropredy, are currently on a two-week canal holiday around Cheshire. They have been posting about their travels every day on Facebook and Mike has been sending me pictures of stop plank stores to add to my page of stanking planks. Lesley contacted me yesterday to say the couple who they are on holiday with have a connection with me. They are good friends of a couple I know, Joce and Martin. I first met Joce when we shared a house together many years ago in Surrey and when we started our own families went on many winter and summer holidays together! Also, I had met Jane and Duncan several times at Joce and Martin’s house and think they were in one of the skiing trips Joce used to organise.
Going up Fosse bottom lock
We soon reached Welsh Road lock, the fifth of the day, which is where I wanted to moor. We love the spot at the top of the lock, opposite the lock cottage. The cottage is fairly large for a lock cottage and Colin and his wife live there. I got to know Colin quite well when we used to moor here in the winter and had many a chat with him leaning on their fence.
Welsh Road lock cottage from our mooring
As I was mooring up I could hear a family of buzzards above us and for the first time got a picture of one of them. Not very clear or close as it’s only an iPhone but at least you can see the classic outline.
Buzzard circling over our boat as we moored up
Us from Welsh Road lock cottage
When I was coming up the lock I noticed a sign outside the cottage; they have now got into selling drinks and ice creams.
There seemed to be a constant stream of boats passing during the middle of the day and I would say that very few didn’t stop and buy something. I popped over during the afternoon for an ice cream and had a chat with Colin’s wife (I’m hopeless with names). She is a mental health worker and is based in Dartford in Kent which is where I was born (well, that's where the hospital was). When I first left school I worked as a live-in farmhand on farms in the Yorkshire Dales for eighteen months or so and then moved back down south and worked on farms attached to mental asylums in Dartford. So, we had a pleasant 20 minutes chatting about the various mental hospitals in Dartford and their patients, which are now long gone apart from a small unit where she works – the asylums not the patients, but I suspect many of them are long gone too.
The pounds are still quite low so Buddy has been finding it difficult to get water but he managed to find a spot by the lock when we were chatting
So much better than that tap water they try and make me drink from my bowl
The water is taking on the familiar blueness of the blue lias limestone, the bed rock of this area. It'll get bluer over the next few miles until we get to Napton where we're joining the Oxford canal.
Later on, Buddy and I had a walk to Long Itchington and on the way a boat was coming past us – it was nb Paneke which I know I have seen around before. Anyway, the guy driving called out to his wife, “It’s Mr Chalkhill Blue”. I asked them their names, Roger and Jane, and Roger also told me that they are readers of this blog. It was good to meet you guys, even if it was fleetingly 😊
I forgot to ask what the boat’s name meant but could tell it was Maori. I looked it up later and apparently it can mean three things: boat; advance; and point (as in game scoring). I guess it means boat in this context but I suppose it could be advance as in going forwards. They also had a good display of flowers on their roof but I didn't think tp ask to take a picture.
Our mooring later in the day when the clouds had all rolled away. The boat on the right is Colin’s boat on their permanent mooring outside the lock house.
In the evening, Karen picked me up and we went for our weekly bridge session with our lady friends in Stratford on Avon.