Thrupp to Oxford
30 May 2017
In the end we stayed in Thrupp for five nights, and four very productive days.
Elderflower coming into bloom
Thrupp is a sleepy little place consisting of a small hamlet, two pubs and a vibrant cruising club who work very hard to maintain the canal environment as a clean pleasant place. The only interruption to this idyll is the railway track which carries a seemingly endless procession of freightliner trains dragging of scores of container waggons. That said, the occasional groan and rumble never seems intrusive in the way a busy road does.
Shipton on Cherwell Chruch
We figured we would undertake a spot of passive towpath trading from the seven day moorings and use the time to do the first real making session of the trip. We were given the use of a vehicle whilst in Thrupp, so on Friday we set off to reccie the Kidlington market. It turned out that it included a huge fruit and veg stall and, as it was late in the afternoon, there were bargains to be had. Whilst we hadn't planned to buy, the opportunity was there so we bought strawberries, raspberries and cooking apples - which then needed processing before they went off.
Hmm, we nearly bit off more than we could chew and, of course, decided to do this on the hottest day of the year so far! Anyway, Elderflower cordial was started and five batches of Strawberry & Raspberry Jam with Raspeberry Gin were prepared and simmered down that day. Saturday was then a day of feverish activity as the five batches were converted to 50 jars of preserve and the cordial made into 50 bottles. But we had miscounted our raspberries so it was back to the market for more strawberries!
Muleless (Della and Gary) riding to the rescue
We did have a bit of a glitch with pasturisng the cordials as the 2kw generator wasnt up to the task, but thankfully Gary and Della from Muleless cane to the rescue and let us tap into their extensive battery bank. This not only got the job done but probably saved us from a lynching from the Thrupp residents association!
That said, the good people of Thurpp did take us to their hearts and during this making marathon, with jammy smalls wafting down the towpath, we did a brisk trade and probably sold as much as we made!
Improvised printing shop
With the weather on the change we decided to move on to Oxford, stopping after Kidlington Lock to set up the Genny to run the printer and prepare the labels for all the new preserves. No sooner had we set up, with Helen casting her spell over the technology, than the rain started and the sign board was pressed into service as a make shift tent.
Maffi going the second mile
The rain kept stepping up a gear and by the time we met Maffi at the lift bridge above Dukes Lock it was more than persistent. Then it just got worse and worse till it was coming down in theatrical style and we were both soaked through. We squelched on till we reached The Plough where Maffi and Bones were moored and gave up, driving pins into very soggy ground - and retiring to the pub as soon as the lagoon in front of it has subsided.