Monday 10th October 2016 Monday has been our last day on the River Thames in this the year of 2016. Boo Hoo !!! OK. Over that now. We have departed Old Father Thames utilising Oxford Junction as the method of evening passage. Swimming along ‘Sheepwash Channel’, under the railway & sharp left turn. nb:Black Bart is arising into the Oxford Canal. Isis Lock squeezes us from wide to narrow waters. Cap’n Bart shouts Aaaarrrggh !!! Twice. Aaaarrrggh !!! “Haul out the mooring pins crew & secure those lines”. “Mooring pins at the ready Cap’n”. We is soonest safely ‘landed’. ‘Moored’ is the technical nautical term one believes. Here we may stay for a few hours. For the night at least.
Tuesday 11th October Today we may have have a plan. Back to those wide deep waters again. Not in our Bart though. Off to find a craft sum of you bloggets may or may not remember from Bart & crew’s Thames swim from October 2015. ‘Leap of Faith’. We know. A whole year ago. A-maze-ing !! We are re-kindling those memories with a tittle cruise. We have power. Always a good start. We have propulsion. Even Better. Off we go. Crew of four we be. Totalling ten legs between us. Work it out yourself. Cannee do everything for you. Sorry !! Not really. Anyway, Leap & crew is soon making light work of Osney Lock (no ‘proper’ lock keeper again) (we have a better ‘in-boat’ lock keeper anyway, so ‘ner’) & we cruise by East Street, under Osney Bridge & onwards. Jericho is slowly disappearing to stern as we fly through aqua-de-la-Isis. Many ‘ers on, miles covered (furlongs, so many furlongs) & finally, Cap’n Leap allows craft & crew some respite.
A fine Perch is found. We moor for lunch. Most delicious. Then we is off to the very local watering hole for a drop of their finest. Splendid. Time is marching on by & tis getting on so we return to our trusty steed & make our way back to Leap’s base camp. What a Most Splendid of days we have enjoyed. Blooming Marvellous. Cheers !!! Chink ! CHINK !! CHINK !!! Crew of three are on their way back to Bart. Narrower, longer, deeper. Also waterless. Water pump stopped working just before we off out earlier. Time for sum investigations to commence. Water containers (kettles) (Yes we have a couple) are filled at local(ish) water point, along towpath. Skip returns with l’aqua only to find skippet turned galley tap on without thinking & Hey Presto. Water flows. Very strange. OK we’ll accept that for the moment. Can’t really face the ‘pump room’ now anyway. & Relax……
Wednesday 12th October We enjoy a slow start to the day after yesterday’s shenanigans. Eventually a walk to ‘town’ that be our local (just for now). Oxford. Gloucester Green market is a pleasure indeed. Lucky we is ‘ere today as is only open today, tomorrow & Saturday. (every week that is. Sillies) A fine mix of colours & aromas. All sorts of marvels to behold. clothes a-plenty. food of all descriptions including a varied options list from many a vendor. Magic. Extra mature cheddar (very large chunk) (Skip’s fav) & a couple other goodies as bart-ered for, before we continue into town.
Many a step is walked before we two (1st mate is on Bart ‘standing’ guard) (slobbing on the sofa is likely) finally make our return home. Time to check that cheese out. Yum Yum. Tasty. Off to the Osney Osteopath for Skippet’s back. Most unpleasant in recent times. Needs a ‘follow-up’ to IOW chiropractor visit of t’udder week. An ‘er or so later & skippet is almost leaping aroand like a teenager again. We is off to ‘The Punter’ for a celebration meal with Leap’s cap’n before we is off on our continued travels again. A Most Enjoyable evening is had by crews of two craft. Lovely. Cheers !!! Chink ! CHINK !! CHINK !!!
Thursday 13th October Today, tittle old water pump is being of concern. Shouldn’t be surprised really. Twer inevitable. Works OK. Then doesn’t work. Then dribbles. then seems fine again. All the above (before really) in different orders, (in)consistently. Spent a fair few times in the ‘pump room’ (as we call it) over the last two, three years or so. Maybe time to give up & consider a replacement. What ?? A New One ?? A New Pump ?? Yes Matey. Has t’appen. Skip is off to Osney Marina (& Osney Marine Engineering) to see Les. A Very Helpful, knowledgable chap his is too. The Shurflo pumps are apparently a troublesome bunch. Yes we have come to learn that in Bart World. Getting a bit of a name for themselves. A Jabsco pump with similar spec to the old failing unit is hunted for & successfully found. Fantastic !! The usual Bart-ering takes place & a deal is done. Cheers Les. Thanks for all your help & advice. Off to find cap’n de-la-Leap to have coffee & Cake & Sad Goodbyes. au-revoir. Until an-udder time. We will meet again friend. Ciao. Skip, Skippet & 1st Mate need to return to Black Bart now. We ‘ave a new water pump to install. different (physical) dimensions & mounting requirements. Not a problem. Just need to make a few adjustments (tweaks being the technical word) to a few tings & hopefully we will this new Beast fitted & pumping the fresh aqua out the taps again. We will see……. Yes !! We have water. Tis wet. Tis flowing. Lovely. Will see how tings are in the coming days, but looks promising. We know it’s new and all that, but confidence has been slightly k-nock-ed with the problems we’s had with the old brute. Fingers & thumbs crossed. Toes two (two on each foot). That took a muchly longer than expected. Was Skip doing it. Oh Yes. Not the mostly speedy of operators in the world. Even in Bart World. So what !! Relax. Chill. Don’t fret bloggets. We is trying not to. OK. That’s enough of that. Crew decide to stay ‘ere for an’udder night now, as it be late in t’afternoon. Not worth cruising now. Goodnight.
Friday 14th October From Oxford we do finally depart. Cap’n Bart commands one’s crew. Lister’s thrumming. Lines slipped. Engage propulsion. Cruising we are. Slowly slowly (catchy monkey) we move creapingly north. Port Meadow to Port (only as we is heading ‘up-stream’) (don’t think it be Starboard Meadow for them moving South) & Oxford’s outlying residentials passing to starboard.
This be a fair narrow section of the canal & many a moored boat to pass so we is trundling even slower than we is usually swimming. But that don’t matter. The whole point with this ‘lark’ is NOT TO RUSH. Some need to be reminded of that simple (easy to remember) (so you might think) ting. We is saying no moor than that. For now.
We even manage
to photograph a
in action. Brilliant !!!
One lock & a couple of lifty bridges are easily dealt with & we are passing through Dukes Cut Junction where one can turn West & swim back into Thames waters.
Bart will not be partaking of that particular exercise today. We continue in the narrow (& has to be said, shallow) channel, via Dukes Lock & Drinkwaters lift bridge. Lister keeps the old revs a tittle lower than ‘normal’ slow to minimise riskies of troubles with that murky thing sum-tyms known as the bed (of the canal) & the items that may lurk down there. Troubles seem to be avoided, so far. Fairly soonish after Kidlington we ‘fall’ upon Thrupp & decide ‘let’s pitch here’. We do like it here in Thrupp. Not much to the ‘village’ but perfect for a passing through canal boat. Narrowboat. What-ever craft takes your fancy. We is now into static mode. That means Bart is now ‘NOT’ being propulsed.
Saturday 15th October Some Barty jobs is to be our day today. Squirrel (fore) & Epping (aft), Bart’s warming boxes are being readied for the winter onslaught. Chimneys swept. internals brushed to within an inch of their lives. Black dust & ash removed from all nooks/crannies & refreshed they are.
Externals are cleaned & re-blacked. Looking GOOD !!! Now time for Ballast removal. We is commencing the search for some of Bart’s low-down weighty tings. Where be they hiding ?? Don’t know, but won’t be easy to get to. Might be hard to remove. Bart has 1.1/2″ thick re-claimed (proper) tongue & groove oak flooring. Tis Lovely. When installed sixteen years ago Orion Narrowboats (where Bart were ‘born’) never intended this wonderful floor to be removed. Done proper-like mate. Under the bath we do go. Skip already knew there be access to the darkness ‘ere below. So might be an ‘easy’ start to the process. One can hope. Not a quick job but two big thick concrete paving slabs are
broken sufficiently to allow extraction & removal from Bart. Calculations identify we ‘ave removed aboat 70kg. The whole idea is to lift our Bart just a tittle bit moor out of the water. To reduce the draught/draft. We know we can’t raise our craft a great deal, but a couple of inches might be possible with some moor investigative (& then heavy) work. Not a bad start to this new project though. We managed to remove aboat 250kg of steel from the fore last winter which lifted the bow a tittle bit out the water. Next, to the aft. Going to try & gain access below the stern flooring soon. Watch this space….. Amazing how quickly the day goes when your having ‘Such Fun’. Ciao for now.
Sunday 16th October Soft boiled eggs. Yummy !! & toasty soldiers. Even moor Yummy-ness !! Can’t be any moor a delightful way to start a Sunday. After a very slobby slow start to the day that was, you understand. You have to sum-times don’t you. Yes. You should. Were a very wet start to this day, but now the clouds have cleared sum-wot & the sun is warming us through. Time for a chuggen along the canal we thinks….. We creep under Aubreys Lift Bridge & sharp turn left, berthing for water. As we’s aboat to depart two hire boats swish by. We follow them past Thrupp’s thriving on-line permit moorings & via an’udder (Shipton) Lift Bridge amongst the odd fixed bridge
Bart is the last of our convoy of three to enter the ‘diamond’ Shipton Weir Lock. Bart being the longer narrowboat can only fit in the middle. Handy that as we now ‘leap-frog’ our lock companions by being the first to cruise out,
into the fresh wide River Cherwell Waters. Getting that dizzy feeling again Cap’n. Need to come down again. Sorry Skip !! Unfortunately tis only a short stretch of wide deep water, with Bakers Lock taking us back into the cosy water of our current canal friend. The Oxford. Forgotten already had you ?? Well stay with it. Pay moor attention please.
We swim slowly carefully by noddy’s home & those prized hens, continuing under the now raised Caravan Lift Bridge (loads of these tittle gems over the Oxford’s flow). Pigeons & Northbrook Lock are separated by aboat eight furlongs and both Old & New Brighton Bridges. The marvellous rural scenes passing Bart & crew by are a continuous joy. We are fond indeed of the Oxford Canal & all the wonderful surroundings it enjoys. & we too. We leap (almost) up Dashwoods Lock , crawl under High Bush (Br 208) Where Cap’n Bart spies a fine berth for craft & crew. Tis here we shall stay the night. At least.
Monday 17th October Maybe time for some wood chopping. Skip likes playing with the bow saw, the chainsaw & the axes (yes plural). Sum of the wood stock is removed from the roof & equipment is readied for action. We’s gonna have some Fun !!
The chopping begins.
Even moor wood is de-roofed
& Chainsaw munches into life again.
Within an ‘er & a half we have a good
pile of fire wood. Just need to
split the biggies into tittle-lies. Not all if them this time. Want to cruise a mite further this afternoon so time to roof-box-up what is fire ready & roof-up the rest, to be split later. The big axe will come out again later. All the equipment is stored away & nb:Black Bart is prepared for an afternoon cruise. We pass through the Heyfords. The Lower & upper. Crawling under bridges including Mill Lift Bridge & up locks including aliens & Heyford Common. Those nautical miles slowly disappear aft. Behind us if thow duth not understand.
The local wild life keeps us in check as Bart’s crew navigate these Oxfordshire pastures.
Somerton Deep Lock be our last today. The BIGGY. 12′ (feet). 144 toes to be moor exact.
Somerton Chisel Lift Bridge finds us well, waving us through & onto our chosen ‘spot’ for a night’s well earn’t rest. Should sleep well this dark. Good Night Bloggetts. Sleep Tight.
Tuesday 18th October This day we is moving on. Just a few strokes
further, through the water we glide via Aynho Wharf
to Aynho Weir Lock for a very brief foray into the River Cherwell again. Only a few minutes & Nell Bridge Lock lifts Bart back up to the canal where we ‘park’ at ‘The Pig Place’ in Adderbury where crew acquire (by mostly legal means) a fresh supply of coal, free range eggs & (unsurprisingly) bacon. Lovely Jubbly !!
After our land experience we return to the watery world we now call home. Onwards…. In a generally northerly direction, taking into account all the twists & turns & back-doubles that form a natural course when traversing many a canal. Lift bridges adorn this waterway by the dozen (& moor). Many being in farmland so tend to be left in a raised position. We like the occasional lifty to be down so we can have the Fun of playing & enjoying their quirkinesses. Kings Sutton & Grants Lock take
nb:Black Bart & crew up to new heights & finally, under our last two lifted bridges for the day. Here we shall moor & enjoy the sights, sounds & pleasant aromas of the surrounding rural countryside. All Together. Deep Breath. The BIG chopping block is taken off the roof and safely positioned. Ready. The heavier of the hand axes is signed out from secure storage & kindling is produced a plenty. Darned handy stuff this kindling. Never know when you might need some at short notice. Be Prepared. That’s all we’re saying. For now…..
Wednesday 19th October We is swimming through our first & only lifted bridge for this day’s cruise. A short cruise it be. Just into Banbury. Not too many furlongs (or nautical miles) to travel in a slow deep draughted narrowboat, along a relatively shallow inland waterway.
Into the Rural Hamlet of Banbury do we sail. A relaxed visit to the local services followed by a most pleasant of chats with this Most Pleasant of chaps & we are negotiating this hamlet’s narrow (as they tend to be in these ‘ere parts) lock. OH. Not an’udder one !! Tooley’s Lift Bridge (needing a windlass to first raise & then lower after safe boat passage), adjacent (now there’s a Big word) to the very old ‘istorical Tooley’s Boatyard & dry dock duth not delay Cap’n Bart (Aaaarrrggh !!!) & crew for a muchly long time. Soonest we have safely passaged under & through to find our homely craft berthed in the centre of ‘town’. Hamlet actually Skip. Sorry !! Off to the local village (hamlet) stores for a couple of much needed provisions. Might see you again later. Don’t wait-up……
Thursday 20th October Cap’n Black Bart has taken his crew on an exhibition. Or should that be expedition. We never quite really know. Anyway, Who Cares ? We dannee. We is in Bart World. A Most Wonderful World to be. A fine trip into the fourth (we think) dimension, but now with our treasures gained Aaaarrrggh !!! We is Back ‘ere ……..
Today be a lazy day. Bart shifts gently forward to an improved berth away from the overhead (usual type of bridge then) footbridge which were very noisy with all that footfall during our static-ness underneath. Roxy kept barking at these unknown noises above. Were quite unsettling for the poor girl. A brief foray into town (sorry, hamlet) & in our return to Bart there be a Very Strange Boat berthed to our aft. A Fine crisp looking (but Very Strange) craft. Cap’n C.L.Leicester & crew are known to Cap’n Black Bart. Loads of Aaaarrrgghs !!! are exchanged & big slappies of backies. All the usual pirate pleasantries over with, we is ‘getting down’ to moor ‘normal’ chitty chatty-ing ketchup. Fruity brown sauce actually. Don’t do the red stuff. Moor into the broan. Very Tasty. Mad ?? No…..
Friday 21st October For today is a VERY SPECIAL DAY. For moor than one reason. Actually, for moor than one Person. A Fine date marked down in History. A Very Important day for one & all. You all know who we is talking aboat. Well we certainly know some of you closest bloggetts out there do. As we be thinking aboat very special people Lister & team are readied for ‘the off’. Only a short swim to Sovereign Wharf where their fine services are made full use of & the empty gas bottle is replaced with ‘fresh’.
Cap’n C.L.Leicester & crew sneak by, haul the big sails up & speedily disappear over the horizon. Once we is ready to cruise on Bart makes moor steady progress leaping (well, almost) up Hardwick, Bourton & Slat Mill Locks as we swim towards the cold icy world of the North Pole. We may never arrive, but will stoically keep on trying.
nb:Black Bart keeps on treading water as we leave old Banbury diminishing in the distance to stern. That be one of those nautical terms.
Tis a fair olde while before The huge metropolis that be Cropredy appears before us. The customary l’aqua berth refreshes before ascending. the almost as huge Cropredy Lock aft-which our craft lands for muchly Wonderful Roast Pork & all the trimmings. A fine joint (quite funny, eh !!) effort from the chief chefs aboard our rejoined water voyaging beasts. And boat (home) made apple pie too. Wow !!! A Splendid evening of much scrumptiousness finishes a Glorious day. Thanks One & ALL. Cheers…. Chink ! CHINK !! CHINK !!!
Saturday 22nd October Suitably slow start for crews this morning. Tis a late disembarkation from this big old busy place. Bart manages to escape ahead of old Leicester, making for & successfully climbing eight locks.
The last five (Claydon) locks lift Bart over three hundred toes (thirty feet) (not going to keep telling you) & leads the whole crew too
A Lovely mooring for the oncoming er’s of darkness. Tis not long before tuther Cap’n helms his trusty steed into that fine position just behind us. Those wondrous chefs have been at it again. Delish-ous-ness to savour. Boat made Steak & Ale Pie followed by desert to delight roands the day off. Perfeck.
Sunday 23rd October Sit still for just one minute & their trying to sneak off again.
Pesky Cap’n Leicester & his troublesome crew of too. We haven’t even had our eggs yet. Sunday ya-no. Cap’n Black Bart finally takes control & soon(ish) has Lister & old prop thrusting us all through the murky shallow waters & after only one lift lowly lift bridge we is carefully creeping our way through the (not quite so dark)
Fenny Compton ‘Tunnel’. Darn cosy in’ere mate. Aaaarrrggh !!! Can hardly see the road (canal really) ahead. Long narrow stretch through this dense woodland. Glad no aggressive war-some reprobates be lurking in them there shadows. Seems like ages, but we is eventually safely through & making our very wriggly way past Wormleighton
& many a fine beast that roams these vast green, luscious thriving plains. As we ‘skirt’ the (toes is for bloggets to calculate) 432′ Wormleighton Hill there be a sharp double bend in the flow of our watery route, split by Griffins bridge (131). As Bart is trying to swing round the second tight bend the (Not going particularly low) (& Not making any apparent effort to reduce momentum) oncoming narrowboat receives some ‘Stern’ words from Skip. NOT impressed. Apparently, tuther helmsman (other words ‘spring’ to mind) cannot just stop his boat. Well, one supposes that one-other could at least of tried. & might also have tried to steer (at a much reduced flow) round Bart instead of into Bart’s Port side. Moron !!! Skip is Not a Happy Bunny. Skippet tells skip a tittle later, that such expletives have never before, been so enthusiastically ‘thrown’ out to an’udder by Skip during helming practise. Practise is indeed what this always is. It’s just that sum need moor than just a tittle moor practise. There are those few out there that need sum teaching. Deep breath & relax…. Pulse rate slowly reducing. Onwards we travel. swimming the murky, shallow & increasingly wibberly wobberly watery-way that be our current ‘path’
After what seems like ‘ers (it was ‘ers skip) (oh yes) (silly me) Cap’n Bart spies some (friendly) pirates. Ha !! Thought they could get away from us Eh !!! Gotcha….. Thow cannee give the wily old Cap’n Black Bart the slip that easily ‘Me Hearties’ Aaaarrrggh !!!
Monday 24th October Moor here we shall for the day. Cap’n Leicester & crew have sped off early this morn as an appointment needs to be kept. Maintained is likely. Cap’n Bart will let them off this time. for Bart, today is Ballast Day. Need to gain access to below stern cabin flooring to see what we can find. Large concrete paving slabs is likely.
Handy having the raised floor aft of the bed. Not particularly easy, but at least a part of the continuing main floor below can be cut through & lifted without the inevitable damage not being such a big problem. Going to be a tight squeeze trying to get into that gap between the different floor levels. Could be fun. Skip does have some history with tight, difficult spaces. Here We Go. Starboard side. An almost unbelievable amount of time drilling & sawing in some very awkward positions & finally, an extraction hole been created. Hopefully Big enough. With (the usual) persistence wedging tings underneath the paving slabs &
hitting them as hard as is possible in the confined space until they finally split into two. Reposition tings & start hitting again. Need to split into moor bits. Extract the offending lumps of concrete & we have one 35kg ‘weight’ on the towpath. It appears we had four slabs down here. Two wide x two deep. Time to try & shift the second upper slab across from tuther (Port) side. Cannee reach across to it, through the big hole. Big holes are drilled through the floor of the port side shoe/boot cupboard & a variety of implements is used (through the holes) to try & lever the slab across t’uther side of Bart. Difficult slow work but eventually the slab is ‘slide’ across half way. Incredible the time this has all taken.Not much to show for that effort. That’s Ok though. Doesn’t matter how long some of these tings take. Worth the effort. Will do some moor ballast ejection an’udder day. Oh !! How time flies when one is enjoying one-self.
Tuesday 25th October Tis slightly higher in the water as nb:Black Bart cruises the last furlongs of the Oxford Canal’s ‘top pound’. What we boaters call ‘The Summit’. Been here since departing Clayton Top lock tuther day.
Now we be descending the two Marston Doles Locks (lovely bed-stead mate) before the Napton Flight of Locks appears from roand the next corner or so.
As we pass down the flight of watery ‘steps’ the Napton Water Buffalo keep us company. Magnificent creatures.
Bart & crew only climb down through three chambers, before finding a splendid location with glorious views & fine pleasant neighbours. Nosey parker were only aboat ten feet away, pogging right through our window. Port side hatch to be exact.
Fantastic berth for a night. Or too. Now we are off on a tittle walk down the remainder of the Napton lock flight to enjoy a Most Splendid evening of ‘Fruity Broan Sauce’ (not ketchup) with Cap’n H.M.Morgan & Harbour Sea-Mistress (or were that seamstress) (confused now) Morgan Aaaarrrggh !!! at the Folly Inn. Very Highly recommended. Fine ale. Fine food & fine puddings two. Cheers Maties. Chink ! CHINK !! CHINK !!! Great to see you again. Been blooming ages.
Wednesday 26th October We are on the renewed hunt for ballast this day of static-ness. Reopen the ‘new’ aperture (lovely word) in the floor & struggle we do to ‘slide’ that second ‘upper’ paving slab fully over to starboard side. Usual breaking-up method utilised. The upper two slabs had been ‘trimmed’ down from 600mm square to 600mm x 550(ish)mm wide before they had been put in sixteen years ago. The lower two are the full size (un-trimmed) version. tightly fit into their ‘home’. Not easy to try & lever one end of first slab up & slip summit down there & get it underneath. With that done the banging starts with the club-hammer again. Persistence & time. Not a problem.
Magic. We have two paving slabs out. That is an’udder 35kg + the full size 40kg). The usual difficulties are experienced shifting the last remaining slab from starboard to central position (for now, at least). Time to put things back together in the stern cabin. Doesn’t look like much but took a wee-time to achieve said weight removal. While Skip has had head ‘down a hole’ Skippet & 1st Mate have been for a walk, down, up & into Napton-on-the-Hill. Treats are in the goodie bag upon crew’s return. Water Buffalo burgers & sausages too. Fab !! Looking forward to those. Ciao for now Bloggets where ever you may or may not be…..
Thursday 27th October This is a day for downward motion by gravity & water flow. Four final locks of the Napton flight operated with the assistance of ground paddles, gate sluices & even a CRT volunteer lock-keeper. Splendid fellow. Very helpful.
Shortly after disembarkation from Napton lock bottom chamber (sounds interesting) (don’t ask) we pass the moored CRT barge with new lock gates waiting for installation somewhere on the Napton flight. There were a couple of badly leaking gates so good to see replacements ready & waiting.
Within aboat an ‘er or so nb:Black Bart has turned & be passing through the sharp, tight entrance into Wigrams Turn. We is booked in for the night just to continue our ‘Fruity Broan Sauce’ with that cheeky chappy Cap’n Morgan & his Gal. Time for some Water Buffalo burgers & chips. Absolutely Yummy Yummy our our Tumm-(y) (ies).
Friday 28th October Freaky Friday at Midland Chandlers in Braunston is not far away so we cheekily sneak a lift by a most modern form of transport. A Vehicular with four wheel & other many interesting features. Far too complicated to go into at this juncture. Much needed items are bart-ered for & we return with our Bounty. Ten litres of Oil for Lister. Organic Green toilet fluid. Loads of it. Water filter cartridge, turnbuckles, screw links & most important, a new Brass Horn. The old horn is very old, sickly, unwell & un-brassy. Hope the new horn will be Loud & Proud. Time will tell. Bart reverses from our overnight pontoon over to the quayside. Sounds impressive doesn’t it. Not really. Fill ‘er up mate & empty ‘er out too. Make what you want from that confusing statement. Boaty types are likeliest to make sense of such strangeness. We is all a tittle strange out here in this watery world. Depart we do, waving a teary Goodbye to our friends. Until next year. Don’t know when. Don’t know where. But one day we shall meet again. Ciao for now…. Cap’n Bart takes us out, back onto the cut, sailing for ‘ers & many furlongs before we tired & exhausted crew are finally allowed to rest. Not sure where we are now. Tis dark & scary out there. Miles from anywhere. From civilisation. We Love it !!
Saturday 29th October Some Boaty Jobs is for this day. Just like house work, but different. Pipework tweaks amongst other works by Skip & re-mounting the bow’s button fender with the new turnbuckles & screw links by Skippet amongst udder tings. A successful boaty day is had by all. AND Roxy is Such a Good Girl. Managing to just relax while Skip & Skippet are busy most of the day. Soo Clever our poochy. She ain’t 1st Mate for any ole’ reason ya-no !!
Sunday 30th October Soft Boiled Eggs. Yummy. Must be Sunday. Oh !! Yes !! It is. & we had an extra ‘er of relaxation. Fall Back. That be wot sum peoples call it. We is ‘aving a slow day. So pedestrian in fact, it actually be ‘static’. That’s correct. You’ve got it !! Bart is not cruising today. We is staying right here. A few moor of them boaty biased jobs to do. Skippet & Roxy are off for a Very Long Walk. Gone ages. Now Extremely k-nacker-ed. Both of them. Skip is trying to broan sauce weeks & weeks of blogging backlog, what ever that is. And then the Biggy. The last of four Big thick paving slabs is inched (mm-ed to be moor exact) across to the excavating access hole, smashed to bits & bobs (smashed I Say !!) & extracted from Bart. That’s a guest-imated total of 150kg from the stern to add to the 70kg from the mid (nautical term evades one) (under the bath) (Yes, we have a bath) (done that one before) (fools) & the 250kg removed from under the fore-well a fairly long while ago int’winter. Winter ‘just’ gone or the one before (or maybe even the one that’s probably on it’s way in) we cannee quite remember. We don’t mind. A small amoant of memory hazy-ness is permitted, on occasion. Here in Bart World it has to be allowed, in small doses you must understand.
Monday 31st October Moored we shall stay today. Yes. Again. A few extra boaty works need to be carried out. It also has to be recorded in the blog that it be Most Glorious today. Blue sky, sunny, warm, calm. Beautiful. hope you have all enjoyed such a Wonderful Day. We eventually get roand to continuing the boaty jobs regime of recent days. Today they have included amungst others, Winterising roof pigeon boxes & installation of the new Brass Horn. Pigeon boxes each being cleaned, sweet tittle brass port-holes polished beautifully, brass bells removed ready for polishing & winter storage. And finally, their winter jackets are fitted. All Lovely. Brass Trumpet Horn is be mounted at the fore. Neoprene sponge gasket cut to suit footprint of bracket. Mounting hole positions marked out, centre punched, drilled & tapped M5. Suitable coolant fluid used where necessary. Bracket secured to steelwork with suitably sized & weather capable fixings. Power cables fed through old hole via new home (boat) made waterproof (hopefully) ‘grommet’. A tittle application of vaseline is made to all ‘through metalwork’ fittings, to ably assist as & where required. Always handy. don’t want any uncomfortable sore areas do we. Do you, either. Bet you all know what that can be like. We certainly do. Can be Painful. Just irritable if you are lucky. Enough Said !!! Eh !! Apply soothing agent & if required, just a tittle talcum powder. Maybe. OK that’s quite enough. STOP !!! Back to Brass Trumpet Horn. All fitted. Looking Good. Press the ‘Horn’ button & we now have a wonderful & Very Healthy ‘low-tone’ (112dB) ‘Here We Come’ sound. Not one of those awful ‘Get Out The Way’ type Monsters. Just Right. Perfeck for Bart. Crew are Very Pleased.
Tuesday 1st November Today we may be up for a bit of cruising. Maybe we is off to Braunston. Yes. Braunston sounds good. It is not a massively long cruise. just a few hundred (or maybe thousands) (we didn’t count) strokes as we swim the last few furlongs of our current watery companion.
nb:Black Bart takes the right fork under the twin bridges at Braunston Junction &
reverses back past the bridges for l’aqua refreshment. We finally leave the Oxford Canal as we cruise back (forward to be moor exact) through Braunston Junction & into the ‘singular’ waters of the Grand Union Canal. See you there. It you want to come. It not. Go your own way. Select your own route to swim. That’s fine by Cap’n Bart & the Merry Crew of Three. We is going this way. By for now. Ciao for niao. (that’s Italiano).
Black Bart has cruised North, to Braunston from ‘Sheepwash Channel’ & Oxford Junction with the River Thames, swimming 55 miles of the Oxford Canal, crawling through one long (not quite so dark) leafy (Fenny Compton) tunnel, ascending 30 & descending 9 narrow lock chambers, sailing over one (we think) aqueduct over the River Leam, swimming along no embankments (is likely), through hardly any cuttings & Swimming slowly, carefully under 20 lift bridges & 131 ‘fixed’ bridges.