|We stayed on our mooring just south of Napton on Friday (18th) as the weather was pretty horrible again. On the advice of our waterways guide, we decided to walk up to the old engine house (“that’ll be interesting” we thought) at the end of a now mostly disused arm off of the canal – there are a few moorings but most of it is not now navigable. Off we set, at first walking along a fairly well defined path, which became like walking across someone’s allotment, then on to climbing styles and clambering over fences (all marked as a designated footpath) and having to lift Sal over the fences as she kept trying to squeeze through the gaps and couldn’t understand she had to jump – although she jumps over styles without hesitation! We were ankle deep in mud and knee deep in wet grass but on we went in our quest to find the interesting old engine house! On reaching our coveted destination, we couldn’t help but laugh – it was nothing more than a pile of old bricks! To make matters even worse, there was nowhere really to go from there so we had to retrace our steps! Oh well, Sal found it interesting – lots of rabbity smells!!
On Saturday, we moved to the other side of Napton, working the 9 locks in only two miles. We stayed there for Sunday as well, walking into the village on Sunday morning and having coffee in the little village shop/cafe. We bought some water buffalo burgers which we had for our dinner – the jury is out as to whether they were worth the £5.20 paid! On our afternoon walk, we ended up walking through a sheep field – Sal thought that was enormous fun!! Not so much for me having to hold her! We enjoyed our stay at both ends of Napton.
We moved on Monday past Napton Junction, where the Oxford meets and continues on as the Grand Union, and took the direction towards Braunston. At Braunston, the Grand Union meets the Oxford again. We moored just past the junction and, happily, was able to get a delivery slot for the next day, Tuesday, so prepared another big supermarket shop to be delivered to the chandlery car park! We walked up to see the marina which was featured in Tim & Pru’s rather emotional last programme, which is also where their boat is moored. It was of added interest to see the programme as we are currently on the stretch featured.
On Wednesday 23rd, we moved from Braunston to just outside Hillmorton, to The Waterside pub. Dave visited and stayed overnight with us so we needed a good location to meet him and where he could park. He arrived on Thursday just as it was getting dark and we headed into the pub soon after his arrival. We’d moved onto the moorings right outside the pub as the mooring we’d had for the Wednesday night had a rock shelf below the waterline and, despite our best efforts (the fenders don’t help when the shelf is below the waterline), the boat bumped every time another boat went past. Sal hates it and can’t settle – the only thing she’s not managed to get used to in this boating lark! In fact, she’s generally aware of boats going past when we’re moored up, as she can feel the movement that the passing boat causes, and she’ll often go to the back and have a nosey out to see what’s going on, but absolutely hates it if the boat bumps! She was much happier after we’d moved. We realised that we’d been to the pub before when we came up for the Crick boat show last year but it had changed hands and was now much improved – at least not as “sticky” as it had been before! 😂 We had a very nice roast dinner – my favourite! Dave slept in the lounge on one of the sofas, morphed into a single bed but wasn’t alone – Sal elected to snuggle up with him! She went from a “who-are-you-again?” growl to “oh!-let’s-kiss-and-cuddle!” very quickly, helped along by the gift of a Jumbone!! Dave left by 8.15 on Friday morning so we set off and cruised a short distance to the bottom of Hillmorton Locks – the forecast was for rain later in the day, so we stopped and got tucked up by 11.00 am – a short day even for us but no point cruising in the rain if you don’t have to! The rain did indeed set in pretty soon after we’d stopped and continued through the whole of Saturday, too. So, apart from a couple of wet and muddy towpath walks, we were nicely holed up inside, listening to the rain on the roof.
We made it to Rugby on Sunday 27th and stayed for one night on a mooring very close to a lovely big Tesco so a chance for a good stock up of the cupboards. (It seems like I’m always writing that we “stock up” but with limited storage, we do need to stock up quite frequently!!) After the dreadful weather of late, it was such a pleasure to see the sun and clear skies!
All along the canals there are (crab?) apple trees, the apples are all falling now and rotting – the smell is lovely, just like cider! Sal has even eaten one or two of the apples before we could stop her! The trees are starting to turn to autumn colours – I love the autumn colours and am expecting to see some delightful vistas over the coming few weeks!