#46 Oxford Canal – South. April 2017

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Monday 3rd April 2017      Monday is a Good day to leave port & commence the 2017 voyage of Cap’n Black Bart & crew  Aaaarrrggh ! !! !!!  Following a few getting ready-nesses & chitty-chatties Cap’n Black Bart can finally stop shouting at his crew. They is all readied & old Lister is re-awoken. Chugging times is here again……. Tis sunny, but the strong breeze makes departure from Wigrams Turn a tittle awkward, but crew just aboat manage to keep Bart pointing in the correct (southerly) direction. We cruise the ‘er or so to Napton bottom lock. The big ascent of narrow locks commences. Swiftly (in narrowboat terms) the first four are dealt with. Aboat ‘er of climbing & we is at our fav Napton flight mooring position again. Guess what !!  We land. Nappy pins at the ready, lines are secured. We like it here. The sheep keep an eye or two or three (& moor) on Bart as they wander aroand just tuther side of the canal. Great views of the Wonderful Warwickshire countryside from this vantage point.

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Tuesday 4th April      overcast this morning, but still pleasantly bright. A cooler day. Warming up a tittle later. Tis like rush ‘er roand ‘ere at the mo. Moor than an ‘er actually. narrowboat followed by narrowboat so-on & so-on ascending the watery chambers of Napton. It eventually quietens down (just a tittle) so we make a move. Lister warming up, lines slipped, nappy pins stored, windlasses at the ready. The last three Napton locks is soon below us. Marston Doles two Locks is not long aft-er. Sharp (for a seventy footer) right & temporary halt for liquid refreshment. No, tis not a pub. Leave that confusion to you bloggets. A tittle thinking time may or may not be required. Soonest & we is on our way again. Swimming this long & extremely twisty-turny pound. two ‘ers later we spy a favourable location to land in sight of Wormleighton Hill at 432ft (metres is for udders to work out if such information is desired) & (of course) the Big radio mast in these ‘ere parts.

Wednesday 5th April      Warmer every day. Still quite cloudy but moor promising. An appointment is to be made today. Estimated ninety minute chug was just aboat right. Slow going. Bart has been finding waters on the shallow side in these ‘ere watery passageways, so Lister & old prop be in relax mode. Yes. Most of Bart & Lister’s friends settings are relax mode, but there be different levels. This be chilled-relax. Not ultra-relax. We only use that one for passing udder moored craft (including cows) (they not be moored) (they just be standing by or in the water) (usually cooling off and or drinking) and/or whilst approaching possibly awkward manoeuvrings that be coming upon our craft & crew. Udder settings denominations even, may be highlighted for your education of/to Bart World (a Very Strange world on occasion) at sum point in the near or mayhap distant future. If Lister is woken up a tittle moor Bart just pulls deeper into the water & with these conditions old prop starts kicking up debris from the canal bed. Not good.

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We just trog along slowly, admiring the delightful views & spring’s new life. Ah !! Look !!! Ain’t they sweet. To be moor exact. Tasty. Yummy Yummy in my Tummy !!!   Yes. Back to the chugging stuff. So easily distracted. Foodies can have a strong pull. Bart arrives (& we too) (as is on board) in Fenny Compton. We is waiting absolutely ages, but Finally our guests arrive. Will let them off as we ain’t seen them for blooming ages. Moor pirates !!!  Cap’ns Morgan & Morgan. A fearsome cap’n-ship & with 1st mate Rosie too…..  Aaaarrrggh ! !! !!!      As we is docked at the Wharf we venture int’Inn for suitable refreshment & a nibble of sum-it tasty. We all be retiring back to Cap’n Bart’s ‘ship’ for sum real liquor. Not sure wot ‘happens later. Memory problems. No-ting to worry aboat. We is Pirates. Aaaarrrggh ! !! !!!

Thursday 6th April      Got no idea wot skippet put in that tea yesterday. Much stronger than the usual Yorky served on board. Think sum-one be playing silly beggers. Again. Cap’n Bart’s face looks all Funny int’ mirror this morning. Even worse than normal. Not sure if it be the eyes &/or the head. Not to worry. We have a course to set & sails to fill with wind. Actually, it be sunny, warm & calm this morn so sails is out the wind-ow. Sorry Lister. We need you again today. Fired-up beautifully as always. old prop tensioned for the work ahead. Off we go. Like a Huge coiled spring. Almost. Gently progress past many a moored vessel. Tis a big old wharf of Fenny. Fenny Compton ‘Tunnel’ (look it up. quite interesting) (were a real tunnel many many years ago) stretches out in front of us. A pleasant experience with a mass of overgrowth having been cleared from the banks of the watery path we be ‘treading’.

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Treading water is wot they sum-tyms say. Cept we be ‘moving’ (to the fore today). Albeit, slowly. Claydon’s five locks come thick & fast before Elkingtons, Varneys & Broadmoor locks lower us yet further for the

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final swim to lovely village of Cropredy. Fantastic to see the old skills being used to create a natural barrier. Seeing this increasingly used in our beautiful countryside. Bart is not landing in this here village this cruise. unusual indeed.

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Cropredy lock drops us majestically before we continue on our way, creeping by a fair few static craft. Not as many is usual though. Tis still early for some slow-coaches though. Hey !!  Not us Mate !!!  We might be slow but we ain’t That ‘Slow’. Te !!  He !!!  Slat Mill Lock might be our final chamber of this ‘ere tittle jaunt. Crows nest be a look-oat for a suitable deep cover in which we can safely & secretly (don’t tell anybody) anchor for the dangerous dark ‘ers of the coming night. First attempt be unsuccessful, but tis not much further along this deep (not really) ravine we just aboat manage to lay the anchor of Black Bart to secure our rest for the darkness ahead….  See ya……

Friday 7th April      Good Morning Peeps !!  Not feel quite so weird this morning. Proper Yorky this time. No meddling with this morn. Thank Goodness. Ridiculous cruise yesterday. Well over five ‘ers. Madness !!  Moor sense today please Skip. Cannee keep that salt-o’pace up no moor Cap’n !!  Today there be a fair blue sky up above there be. Only a few white fluffies floating aroand. Just like the few narrowboats doin ‘ere. Floating aroand of course. Dim-wit. Dunno wot you’s be thinking summit eh ??  Mid morn departure successfully completed and following a smooth & creamy descent via Bourton lock and the ch’amber de-la-Hardwick (a tittle francais for you) Cap’n Black Bart Aaaarrrggh !!!  & ‘is motley crew of three (& eight legs) (& even moor toes) is soonest in the quaint tittle ‘arbour of Banbury. Yes Indeed. A Fine port for one (moor in-fact) to stay safe & warm for the darkly night ‘ers. Following a few walkies & a number of importantly acquisitions for the coming days & weeks. Roxy is off for sum doggy Fun in the woods. She be gone ages. Don’t know wot she bean up-to.

Saturday 8th April      Lines slipped, nb:Black Bart is creeping under (the up-ed) Banbury lift bridge (thanks Skippet) & knot long aft, Banbury’s own chamber has emptied us into the next pound which be swishing us under a sum of

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lift bridges & eventually into Grants Lock. Now, this next pound be shallow. Bart be struggling. Tink we just aboat be swimming. Mud sliding is moor likely. With Lister thrumbing low, we be just aboat keep slippy-sliding along. Kings Sutton Lock provides a tittle light relief as we be gently lowered into (guessing) an inch or so moor of the wet stuff. Still shallow, but slightly less troubling. We be making moor comfortable yet still cautious progress as

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Bart creeps by this wooden cabin-ed craft. Look closely. Darn Clever. Talent has been waiving it’s hand here. Crew decide lines need to be secured. Attempts to go static, by ‘The Pig Place’ (look it up maties) fail. Cannee make the bank. Even our ‘big’ tyre fenders is knot be big-enough. Lister & old prop suggest ’tis time to go aft’. A pleasant experience allows BB to aft back past a couple of udder landed craft. We is soonest safely static-ed behind nb:Anna Claire. Invitation to which for early evening drinks & nibbles is most gratefully received & then experienced. Lovely.

Sunday 9th April      Tis a beautiful sunny, very warm day. Time fore much needed work. Bart’s roof is wanting a tittle tlc. We take the ‘easier’ (not sure aboat that) section first. Rear of the roof boxes. Serious bubblies scrubbings ensues. Backed up by muchly flowing watery washings. The Big bright planet in the sky warms & dries the (hopefully) clean curvey form on top. Rust-oleum RAL6005 Moss Green rust busting gloop (first of three biggy pots) is opened. Not as dark as expected. OK. Got to go for it anyway. Skippet leads, with those skilled brush adorned fingers. Edges are masterfully dealt with. Skip follows with the minnie roller. May not have been convinced, but this colour be winning us over. Looks like might work well. Takes a fair old while. While Skip is progressing with the tittle roller Skippet is rubbing down the slightly tatty tiller handle’s wooden delight. First coat of the magic stuff is then be applied beautifully.

Monday 10th April      Cap’n Black Bart has made a Wonderful decision. We is staying ‘ere mates. Ship Mates. Aaaarrrggh !!!  Me H-Aaaarrrggh-ties !!!!  The workings must continue. Second coat of roof gloop is slowly applied while skippet is be working that old magic honey onto the wood again. Buoy. That is Looking Mighty Fine. Skippet now turns attention to the fore-well. Twas time to refresh. Thorough cleanings & preparations completed, the black stuff, Multi-forte is readied & application begins. Well (Yes, already told you it were the well) is now looking very clean cut & sharp. Fabulous !!  These tings take soo long. Well (got you again) worth it though. Fore-Well & aft-roof is both splendid. Tiller too. Well done crew. Bart is most impressed.

Tuesday 11th April      Today is a day to cruise. One does not know to where or how many strokes (swimming) (told you that be-fore) it might take. On we the crew go. Leaping down the nicely named Nell Bridge Lock, through the cross flow (not much today) of the River Cherwell & into the (nearly) diamond shaped Aynho Weir Lock where Skip makes a foolish error. Cap’n Bart has safely manoeuvred one’s craft into the lock. There be an-udder vessel approaching aft so is invited to share the chamber. Both craft in. Paddles opened, water escapes. Unfortunately, nb:Black Bart cannot escape. The down-stream opening/exit of the lock is wonky-fied and Bart’s seventy feet (long she be) will not squeeze out. The sixty foot vessel we is sharing with cannot move out the way enough so we is stuck ‘ere. With gate re-closed, lock needs to be re-filled & our lock companions have to reverse back out through the now re-opened up-stream gate. With lock then re-emptied Bart can finally creep out the re-opened down-stream gate. Our (now sacked) hire boat lock companions is not too fazed by the Fun (!!) experience. Worth a go. We have shared t’udder diamond shaped lock in these ‘ere parts with two boats in cruises gone by. Yes. Three in a lock. That lock has a moor customary non-wonky exiting aperture, so Bart could swim gracefully out without any red cheeks. Make what you will of that particular statement. Te !!  He !!  On we go passing Aynho Wharf. Knot long aft, we make a snap decision to secure fore & aft lines, in sight of Chisnell lift bridge.   An-udder decision. Fore section of Bart’s curvey roof is cleared & muchly bubbly scubberlings is endured. The green, yellow & white growths are a-plenty in various locations. Stubborn tittle tykes they be. Stiff brush struggles. Very stiff brush still not truly tuff enough. The fine (not the monster biggy) wire brush is booked our by olde’ quartermaster. Even using that baby takes considerable persistence. We finally seem to be winning. Aft-er sum-tym the washingly rinsey stuff can begin. Yeh !!  Thank Goodness !!!  Then we can go back into the warm & collapse.

Wednesday 12th April      Up early for work. Cap’n Bart can be a mean hard task-master. Buoy cannee !!  Early be a relative sort of word. One must remember that on occasion. Past (working) days of early-nesses are difficult to understand now. Not sure wot 5.30am actually is any moor. The old & the second ‘new’ green gloop tins be now opened & stirred. Off we go…..  Painting now commences. An area twice the size of the already aft-ed area. Wot-FUN !!!   Steady progress as the minutes creep on by. The morn just seems to disappear. It is quite windy today which makes handling greeny-fied wet paint brush & rollers (Yes Plural) interesting. Yes. Interesting !!  That’s the word. One of them anyway. Crew/workers feeling quite cold even though the fleeces had be adorned from the start. Even doubled up on. Time for hot steamy coffee with bacon & egg sandwich. Truly Scrumptious. Warming up slowly, we are. We settle in for a wee while of aft-ernoonly contemplation & udder tings. At least the continuing windy-nesses & tittle smilies from Mr./Mrs. Sun (hat n’all that) should help the paint unwettying-nesses. Tis quite a while int’aft-ernoon & those green tins are being broke out ag’in. Brush & rollers at the ready. 3. 2.. 1…  & we’s be off. second coat. Won’t bore you with the finite intellectual details but many minutes (& then sum) later (aft-er to any boaty peoples oat there) (sum-wear) the painting is done. Fore now at least peeps.  Quite pleased with that. A fair few feet & inches covered there Me H-Aaaarrrggh-ties !!!  Shiver me Timbers !!!   Might remember to download couple of pics later if you really want to see. Not that fascinating to you lot (two) per’haps but very satisfying to the good cap’n ‘ere & the merry crew of three (legs, toes & all that stuff). Just local to roof boxes to go. That could be interesting as they is not able to be whole-heartedly departing the roof so a tittle temporary jacking up may need to be resorted to. We shall find in the next (painting) installment.  Back to now. A Good Job (reasonably) Well (Oh !!  No !!!) (‘ere we go ag’in) Done. Good-Nite !  Arrivederci !!  Ciao !!!

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Tis quite pleasing this ‘ere fresh (moss really) green roof.

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Thursday 13th April     Up n’running (chuggen) & we is off. It not even be eight int’morn. This is tremendously concerning. Sum have said “Just Ridiculous !!” Tis a lovely start to our day. Unfortunately, the clouds do take over sum-wot by mid morning. Somerton Deep Lock, an eye watering twelve feet of liquid only slows us (& Bart) down for a wee while of time. Heyford Common & Allen’s locks follow sum-while later, leading us int’&thru Upper then Lower Heyford where a very dry Cap’n Bart needs a long slow cool drink. A good many times on, we is trogging again with occasional lock lowering. Dashwoods, Northbrook & Pigeon’s chambers take us all further ‘down-stream’ where Enslow’s Rock of Gibraltar is much closer to southern Europe than we often give credit for/to. What-ever the write wording may or mayhaps not bee.

P1190355The cows have come ‘ome, back over the bridge (no lie !!) & Bart bee Bumbling along, straight down Baker’s descent into wide River Cherwell waters. Only for a brief, very twisty, turny navigation feeding our vessel calmly into & through Shipton (diamond) Weir Lock. Cap’n Bart makes shore they be nobody aroand to see. We not sharing this one with anyone else. Aaaarrrggh !!!  Me H-Aaaarrrggh-ties !!!  Cap’n Barti Ddu (tis Welsh one knows) hails to one & all the crew. Many of them there. As all you bloggetts tis likely no. Our coarse slowly turns us through the sleepy Hamlet that be Thrupp, via the elecky pivoty lifty bridgey thingemy jibby. Hope(less) that make as much sense to you’ll as it did to us narrowboaty cruisy types. Roundham Lock makes us Very Dizzy. Just So Dizzy. We need to stop Cap’n Barty Ddu. We’s been crewing over nine ‘ers & now blooming (udder words are available) ty-red !!  Please ??  OK Me H-Aaaarrrggh-ties !!!  One calls out in Welsh. Translation not available before going to print. Sorry !!  We is anchored in a tittle bay just past Kidlington kove. Skip is off in a ‘tittle row boat’. A ‘tittle wooden boat’ for much needly provisions. Hot cross buns are required. A great significance so importantly acquired ready for tomorrow.

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& the temporary overnight accommodation is definitely not quite up to the mark !!!  You should see the pic from tuther side. Most unpleasant. Tis the rear y’no. Not post-able. Sorry !!  (ag’in). Just a tittle too graphic.    Buona sera to all you Italians oat there…..

Friday 14th April      Good Friday. Tis the day to remember particular important events & to enjoy a hot cross bun or two. Cap’n Barti Ddu has raised the crew not quite so early this day, but not much of a lay-in……. Lines slipped, nappy pins safely stored, Lister & old prop chug Black Bart to & safely down Kidlington (should that be Moss) Green Lock. We chuggen slowly to, then under the up-ped Drinkwaters (not sure we actually would) lift bridge. Tis knot long aft we bees entering & downward flow-ering via Dukes Lock. Just a tittle baby lock of 5’4″ rise & fall. Depending on which ways you’s bee a’heading. Of course. Immediately below the chamber we be changing tack to starboard which be West.

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Bart crawls under the tight tittle bridge & straight (cannee going wonky ‘ere maties) into, up (just a tittle bit) & out of Dukes Cut Lock. Only a wee rise. Even though it not be Scottish water. As far as wee know. Tis only a short furlong or so before the Oxford Canal intermingles with the even wetter waters of the Isis. So to one of Bart’s old Favourites, the Oxford Canal we all cry Aaaarrrggh !!!  Me H-Aaaarrrggh-ties !!!  !!!

Black Bart has cruised swimmingly South to Dukes Cut Junction from Wigrams Turn Junction, swimming 46 miles of the ridge & furrowed Oxford Canal, crawling through no tunnels of any description, ascending 10 & descending 28 narrow lock chambers, sailing over zero strange channels (well we did-nee see any) called aqueducts & swimming slowly under 107 (fixed) bridges & even moor carefully under 17 lift bridges.

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