Monday, March 25, 2013

Narrow Boat or Ambulance Boat?

After a LONG TIME my engine finally fired into action and I set sail for the north in the pouring rain. I continued the following day in the snow.
The great spring cruise continued on Saturday and I was rather amazed when all four of my crew stepped off the train wrapped up like northern explorers. 
All the enthusiasm lasted until we met the first hurdle 10minutes into the journey. We couldn’t lift the lift bridge at Heyford. Our crew tried various things before they could jump ship and get back on the train station to go home I whizzed up the road and found a willing volunteer in one of the houses. In no time we were through the bridge and back under way.
It was going well as we cruised through the snow. It was actually quite picturesque until an unfortunate incident at Somerton Deep lock.
Joy stood up just as the boat banged and she fell over and broke her arm.  Fortunately the front doors opened and we were able to see that she was wounded.  We stopped everything and went straight to her side which must have felt like AGES to her, but it wasn’t.  Despite being in terrible pain she was frightfully brave. We wrapped her up, stuck her in a chair and started to head off to get her to civilisation as soon as possible.  We weren’t sure how badly her arm was hurt but it seemed clear she would be scooped into a taxi and taken to the hospital as soon as it was possible.
I was rather worried as shock was setting in for Joy. I am sure you can imagine the relief when I discovered that the towing pair ahead had left two of their crew to open the lift bridge for me. The two were just about to give up holding the bridge when we came around the corner. I briefed them shovelled them in the front door, did a quick introduction and left them to it.  Now with two nurses on board to take charge and keep Joy safe I couldn’t believe our good fortune!  It was a great blessing because Joy was getting even colder. They grabbed more blankets and wrapped her up even more.
On arriving at Aynho the Good Dr Saffin, another nurse, was there to greet us and had arranged for her friend Martin (aka knight in shining armour) to pick Joy up and take her off to the hospital.  Joy was wrapped up, scooped up and sent to hospital. That left 5 of us to get the three boats, one without an engine, up to Banbury.  Amazingly we made it!  5 became 6 when a friend cycled down the towpath to greet us at Grants just as we were flaking and Peter (NB Futurest) was there to lock us through Banbury lock and through the lift bridge – both baring fresh smiles and good cheer.

What a trip. It was epic. We were exhausted.  On Sunday the exhaustion completely overtook me and I was shovelled off in a proverbial wheel barrow out of the supermarket and in to bed.  I am still fuzzy around the edges.  As I imagine, are the others!
Joy has been checked out and has a broken shoulder and some unhelpful bruises.  She was frightfully brave, didn’t create a fuss and was very sweet about the whole injury.  She is bandaged up and is now instructed to get well soon.
GET WELL SOON JOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The wetlands of Lower Heyford

Normally, as I walk along the towpath, I peer through the hedges and see the fields and cows with the river Cherwell chasing through the countryside.  This time the view has changed.





Thursday, March 14, 2013

More Ice Crocus’ and co.

In the evening icicles had formedP1010917


and the following morning after another cold night it was looking even better!





Monday, March 11, 2013

Strange ice whatsits at the weir

I looked up the towpath towards the wee weir and spotted some white on the path.


I wondered whether there had been some localised snow and went to investigate. I was rather surprised at what I found. Here are some pictures if the ice.




I have never seen anything like it before

Friday, March 08, 2013

Winter Fun of never ending proportions

Fun? Did I say fun?

The small job I started on the boat and several months later  I thought it was all coming to an end.  The end, as usual, is a rather tenuous relation to finished, but it was the end for now.  The end being enough that I can move off the mooring I am on and sail off into pastures new.

I sat in my arm chair dreaming of misty mornings standing at the tiller cruising along the waterways.  I had already decided that I would stop in various places and do a ‘little bit more’, but the major deconstruction and reassembly was just about done.  The vast improvement was brilliant.  All I had to do was put the calorifier back into place, plumb it in and be gone.

Oh no.  This is not how it has worked out at all.  It seems that my aged calorifier didn’t like being unplugged and has decided to leak.  I have peered poked and prodded but it is looking increasingly like I will need a new one.


Friday, March 01, 2013

Beautiful Tug for sale