This letter to Granny and Grandpa last October says that Stefan, the Bottles on Oakfield and a trip to Shropshire to visit Ian and Claire were in close proximity. It is rather ironic then that 3 months later history repeats itself. Last weekend I was with Ian and Claire, and this weekend I was with Stefan and the Bottles. Stefan likes to boat, and I like to have weekends away in the peace and quiet, so we organised to have a BBQ at the disused Quarry in Kirtlington. Maffi, Mark Paris and Stefan and I met over tea on Saturday morning at Annie’s Tea Rooms before heading off. I decided to fill up with water and was delighted to receive a text from the Bottles saying that they were just leaving Aynho and could meet us at the Quarry. I love the Bottles.
It was so good to be out boating again. My boat wasn’t able to go anywhere over the Christmas/New Year break as I had starter motor trouble. the good ship and I sat with itchy feet and tiller bars as other boats went on day trips around the area and we were unable to move. So, yesterday once another cable had been fixed (thanks Mark!) we pulled the pins and headed north.
The cement works look fabulous:
Stefan and Boots sat at the front looking contemplative
I resisted the temptation to moor up and have a swing on the rope swing. I love the way the canal chases the Cherwell.
And then the welcome sites of the quarry walkways
It took us ages to light the charcoal, so long in fact that we realised it wasn’t charcoal at all. We did manage to light a bonfire though. Mark was insistent that it was impossible to take pictures of a fire…
You could always tell where Stefan was standing because the smoke was billowing in his direction!
Here he is in a rare moment of not being engulfed in smoke:
Mark looked very peaceful
So I took more pictures of the fire:
It was a really good fire and Maffi collected most of the wood from the Locks on the way up – Thanks Maffi!
It was a fantastic night
The journey home was rather eventful. The engine over heated, then we got hung up in Shipton Weir Lock. Shipton Lock is getting harder each time I go. I can barely open the bottom gate. The lift bridges are harder too – and lots of people have complained about them. I don’t think they balance them any more which is a great shame. Especially for paper pushing single handers like myself!
As we left the Quarry Oakfield were behind me – it was glorious looking back down the cut at them. I remember the patient wait to sell their house, then to have the boat built and then finally 3 months ago they cruised into Thrupp. To see a dream develop into a reality for two such lovely people is nothing short of fantastic, to get to share it is even better!