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  • clivenmel

March 4th

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Last night was interesting to say the least.  It got very, very windy and was really knocking the boat around and the rain was lashing against the windows, however half way through a film we were watching it was like somebody had thrown a switch � everything just stopped!  It was quite weird � we looked out of the window and there wasn�t a breath of wind, no rain and the moon was just peeping through the clouds � amazing!   Today however has been lovely.  We set off this morning about 11.20 � it was beautifully sunny again but there was a definite chill in the wind, so we did get togged up against the cold.  I walked up to set the first lock, it was empty, which I expected as obviously nobody else has come down the flight, however I thought it might have taken in some water, but much to my delight it hadn�t and it opened straight away.  I glanced up at the next lock and one of the gates was already open � brilliant � things are looking up!  As it turned out I only needed to raise the paddles on two out of the eight locks, the majority of them had at least one gate open, so we made excellent time.  We are not sure whether it was last night�s wind or whether BW had opened the gates because there was an awful lot of water around the other day when we came down the flight.  We did take fifteen minutes part way up the flight to stock up on wood again, there was loads of dead wood lying around amongst the trees flanking the flight and we soon had a great stockpile on top of the boat again.  We finally made it to the top lock in very good time, it had only taken an hour and fifteen minutes in total, which is amazing, it actually worked out at less than ten minutes per lock, which is unheard of!   Whilst Clive was cruising up then next stretch I popped inside and made us a cuppa and some sandwiches and no sooner had we finished them than we were at the next set of locks.  These too didn�t take long as there were boats coming down this flight, as we were leaving the first lock there was a boat emerging from the second lock so we swapped places and then the same thing happened at the third lock.  We had decided to pull over at the top lock and pop into the chandlery for a few bits and pieces and some smokeless fuel � normally we buy three or four bags, but their�s was really expensive at �11.25 a bag - so we only bought one!  The wood that we have been gathering is great for keeping us warm during the evening however you can�t bank the stove down with wood, it needs coal to ensure it stays in all night.    Once we had put the three locks behind us it was plain sailing up to Napton Junction, where we turned right onto the Oxford Canal and now, after our little faux pas, we were back on track!   The Oxford canal is lovely.  As you can see from this photo it is very narrow and not very straight, in fact it is much more like being on a river except that it isn�t flowing.  It meanders through very pretty countryside and although we had had a bit of a cloudy spell after lunch, the sun came out again and when it was out it was lovely and warm, however when it dipped behind a cloud the temperature plummeted!  We cruised along admiring the scenery and were delighted to see this beautiful windmill � Napton Mill, up on the hillside.    We had decided that we would go as far as The Folly � yes it�s a pub!  Immediately after is the start of the next lock flight and we didn�t want any more of those today thank you!  Just before we arrived we passed a field on the left with a herd of the most adorable little Thelwell ponies in it, there were loads of them and they were all absolutely gorgeous, but I just loved this one � maybe we should have a ship�s horse!   We finally got moored up and the pub was just around the corner.  We decided to go and sample the landlords best before dinner, however when we got there The Folly was shut!  This seems to be happening to us a lot lately!  Mind you it was only 4.30pm so we assumed it didn�t open till 6.00pm.  We decided to have a stroll along the towpath just to see what was around the corner and there was the first lock.   Very narrow and fortunately not very deep � however we�ll save that for another day.   So, back to the boat.  I lit the stove whilst Clive was mending my seat on the stern.  The other day it fell off!  It was held on by two screws and some glue, but not very securely!  Whilst we had been in the chandlery he managed to get some epoxy resin to bond the seat back on, augmented by the screws.  Let�s hope it stays on this time!   As there was loads of lovely hot water I decided to have a shower and wash my hair, then I started making a curry for tea, whilst Clive proceeded to give the rear deck another wash and brush up.  I happened to glance out of the window and saw the most stunning sunset, so I had to drop everything and grab the camera.   I think it was worth it, don�t you. It is so lovely where we are moored that I think we may stay for another day.  We are on a 48 hour mooring so there is no rush.  It is very peaceful here, there are lots of birds around so I might manage to get some more photographs tomorrow, however it is going to be quite cold, at least in the morning.  We�ll see.

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