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June 22nd 2010 - Aynho Wharf

We stayed in Thrupp for two days, mainly because we had a reasonable TV signal and Clive wanted to watch the England v Algeria match on Friday!  That was a total waste of time wasn't it!!!

On Saturday we left Thrupp but didn't intend going too far.  We cruised for about three hours and encountered several locks and lift bridges.  Finally we came up through Dashwood Lock and there was a really lovely bit of mooring immediately afterwards so we stopped there.  It was a very rural spot miles from anywhere so we expected peace and tranquility but we didn't get it!  It was like Piccadilly Circus, there were soooooooooo many boats out for the weekend and no sooner had one gone down the lock than another came up and so it continued over the whole weekend!

However we did manage to finally christen the barbecue, which Clive had got for his birthday back in February from Vicki and Ben.  It seemed a funny present at the time as it was freezing cold on the Shroppie at that time!  So we got it out of its box for the first time and assembled it and we were really surprised at how big it was as it folds completely flat.  It is called a Notebook Barbecue and a very clever idea it is too.  Anyway we put it together and Clive got out the bag of charcoal we had bought all those weeks ago whilst on the Grand Union Canal just South of Milton Keynes!  It was that instant lighting charcoal and there were two individual bags in the outer bag.  Clive reckoned one would be enough but had underestimated the size of the barby and the fact that it was lumpwood charcoal containing lots of small pieces which promptly fell through the grid into the bottom! Still we managed to cook all the meat though for safety's sake I finished it off in the over for a few minutes, just to make sure it was all cooked through.  Next time we will get better charcoal or at least use two bags instead of one!

We stayed at Dashwood Lock for a couple of nights because it really was lovely then on Monday 21st June, the Longest Day, we set off after breakfast.  Again we only cruised for about three hours and eventually moored up at Aynho Wharf, luckily finding the very last available mooring! 

You may recall that when we were coming down the Grand Union we ended up giving two guys a lift on the boat, Richard and Ronnie!  We picked them up at a lock, where they were thumbing a lift(!) and dropped them off at a boatyard where Ronnie had left his car.  Well Richard has kept in touch with us and said that when we were on the Oxford Canal to let him know and he would come over and meet us for a drink.  Well he did just that yesterday evening.  He and his girlfriend Maria arrived about 6.30pm and we all trooped across the bridge to the pub, The Great Western Arms (its next to the railway line!) for a drink and a meal.  It was great to see Richard again and also get to know Marie.  Something spooky happened though, just as we had finished our meal and were preparing to go back to the boat for coffee my phone rang.  I fished it out of my handbag and looked at it and it was Richard phoning me!  I called across to him asking why he was ringing me and he was astounded, he had left his phone in his van!!!  So we stopped off at the van and he retrieved his phone and sure enough it had rung my number a few minutes earlier - how strange!  Marie was a bit unnerved by the whole thing - is there a spook in Richard's van we all wondered?  The other possibility (more likely!) is that his bluetooth head set had probably fallen off the dash and triggered a last number recall!  Whatever, it was really funny!  Richard and Marie came back to the boat and had the guided tour and a cuppa and then finally it was time for them to wend their way home. 

We are having more visitors today.  Barrie Williams and his partner Cath don't live very far from Aynho so they are coming over to pay us a visit this evening.  I suspect we will end up in the Great Western Arms again!  We certainly couldn't offer to feed them aboard Lady Arwen nor even offer them a drink other than tea or coffee!  There is a dearth of shops on this canal and we have got very low on provisions.  There is a tiny canalside shop here at Aynho Wharf but its stock is very limited.  They have no fresh bread, only par-baked rolls.  There is a freezer with a few bits and bobs in it so I managed to get some fish fingers, frozen peas and a tin of new potatoes so that will do us for one meal at least!  But we have no tonic to put in our gin and no wine - how sad is that!  All being well we will be in Banbury tomorrow and will be able to go and do a proper shop as there is a Morrisons very close to the canal and also a big Tesco store but that is quite a distance away, so I think it will be Morrisons that gets our patronage this time!

I am afraid there are no photographs in this blog as the signal here is just too weak to upload them to the website - we really are going to have to try and get some kind of signal booster for our dongle, this is ridiculous!!  I will try to put our current position on but don't hold out much hope.  So if I don't manage it, we are about six miles South of Banbury on the Oxford Canal!

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