Monday, 21 July 2014

Cropredy calls

Fenny Compron to Cropredy
July 2014

A lazy days cruising.

After all the industry of the last few days we eventually made a start at 11.30, leaving behind the already vacated visitor moorings and pressing on through the Fenny Tunnel, a cutting which started life as a tunnel.

Helen started on her last three batches of Lime Marmalade with Medlar Vodka, finishing the first as we reached Claydon top lock. By now it was hot, hot and sultry without a breath of a breeze and the slightest effort resulted in sweat - nice!

Claydon Top Lock

We progressed to just above Cropredy where we moored to let Helen finish off the last of the Marmalade leaving me free to entertain myself. Never one to let the grass grow under my feet I set about melting the fraying ends of the towing straps and painting a bit more of the ellum - the black sloping bands this time.

 Lackadaisical mooring at lock landing

Odd jobs finished I set out in search of Meadowsweet which is to be dried for future use. Whilst on this mission I had a wander around Cropredy which I can best describe as a classic English village languishing under the summer sun. No one was about and not a soul stirred. The Red Lion was bashing in the heat, its golden yellow stonework absorbing the heat of yet another summer and the chatter of a few patrons tumbling out of its windows.

The church offered solace from the heat, its thick walls holding the temperature at bay and the march of time measures out in the steady click, click, click of the clock and exposed swinging pendulum. Every five minuted there is a whir and then on the quarter hours the cables snap to attention and the bells ring out their peal. 

Cropredy Church

The bells are interesting in that they were recast a few years back and a photo board shows the process. One bell was paid for by Fairport Convention and is therefore known as the Fairport bell. Thinking of this band who have become inextricably linked with the village - as we passes through Broadmoor Lock, just above Cropredy, a band was rehearsing in a partially soundproofed hut, belting out a series of period numbers which I had never heard before. It would be nice to think it was Fairport rehearsing for the festival in a couple of weeks time!

With the stained glass windows examined and 30 minutes spent in the church imbibing its peace, it was back to the boat. There examining the butty was an elderly gentleman with a passion for marmalade - a craving satisfied with two freshly made jars.

As the evening was cooling was dropped down a couple of locks and moored in the middle of nowhere, lulled to sleep with the bleating of sheep and the distant toot of trains making their approach to Banbury.

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