Wednesday, 6 August 2014

North from Oxford

North from Oxford 
July 2014

Our return from Oxford was hot and sticky with only the merest hint of a breeze to mitigate the stifling heat.

 Setting sun over the Oxford Arm

It started with an interesting extraction from the Oxford Town Arm which has a maximum winding width of 30ft. We winded the butty but were obliged to reverse the motor all the way. The redeeming facet of the manouver was the butty itself which we tied to the bows of the motor and this served as a great drogue and kept us straight. All we did was leave the engine slowly astern and guide the direction by the use of the boat pole, nudging the stern this way and that.

Reversing out of the Oxford Town Arm

The extraction may be a fiddle but the mooring at the far end is uber close to the city centre.

Our trip north was only as far as Banbury where our relief crew took over for the next five days to Camp Hill in Birmingham.

I think I ought to mention the paint incident. As we were tied in some shade just north of Lower Heyford I thought I would put some final touches to the ellum. Painting over I pressed the lids on the paint pots and stepped into the stern of the butty - or didn't. There was a hole in the canal bank which I stuck my foot in and the result was a nearly full pot of cream bursting open all over the cockpit floor. I desperately stuffed up the drain holes to minimise spillage into the water and scooped as much of the rest back into the tin. If that wasn't bad enough I returned to the floor six hours later when the paint was more or less dry and gave it a coat of red to cover the mess. Job done I twitched and over when the red can! This time I cave the cockpit sides an extra coat and its fair to say that the floor has a very generous layer of Ferrari Red. Twice in one day!

Along the way we hid from the sun where we could, met Nick from Eileen who passed us whilst re-fueling at Aynho. Them we spent time with Gary and Della Mann of Muleless and Maffi too. Whilst in Thrupp we also met up with Paul Balmer of Waterways Routes who was busy filming the Oxford Canal.


And so it was with no small degree of sadness we left the boats behind and returned to the real world ashore.

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