I’m guessing this will be our last post from the Oxford Canal – at least for a while. We will soon be on the Grand Union Canal making our way towards London, although we have decided that we won’t go right into London at this time. We are hoping to make it to Watford in time for Bob’s next eye specialist appointment on 21st August, and then to welcome our friends from USA, Mick and Kendra, onto Celtic Maid for a visit. Also planning to catch up with some of Bob’s relatives – Julie and Phil, Cheryl and Mick, and Maggie and Steve.
But back to what we have been doing.
We left our friends and headed north towards Rugby last Monday (21st July) in search of a mooring close to Tesco to get in supplies, and within walking distance of the bus stop for our coach trip to London via Coventry to attend more appointments. This is getting to be an interesting hobby – identifying where we will be at the time of the next appointment and then finding the best and cheapest way to make the journey!!! National Express won out this time and it worked very well.
We were lucky to get a mooring very close and spent the next couple of days getting in stores and checking out the town. Certainly not the prettiest we have seen but they do have a very large park which seemed to be getting lots of use in this beautiful weather we have been having! And the 40 minute walk to the bus stop helped us get the exercise we need!!!
An early start on Thursday morning to walk to the bus and take the journey – we made it in plenty of time and were the only passengers on a 48 seat coach from Rugby to Coventry! VIP treatment. And it was the same coming back. The coach from Coventry to London was much fuller but we were able to get off at Finchley Road and catch our tube directly to the hospital making the journey a little shorter. And Bob’s eye is getting better all the time – the inflammation and pressure were down so that the medications could be reduced again. He does have a cataract which will require treatment once the eye has stabilised. So we are both feeling more optimistic now!!
We stayed the night with our friends Chris and Sue which enabled us to complete another few jobs on Friday before returning home that evening from Victoria Coach Station. What an incredibly busy place with coaches going to all parts of the country and Europe!!! Not our favourite place but needs must!!!
On Saturday morning we stocked up with fresh produce before undertaking the necessary but arduous task of the washing in preparation for refilling at the water point before the 3 locks at Hillmorton, just south of Rugby. By the time we got this finished it was getting late so we decided to tackle the locks and cruise back to Braunston on Sunday. This also gave us the chance to refill the diesel and purchase engine bay insulation along the way.
We found plenty of room to moor at our previous Braunston location which is an easy walk into the town. So we set off Monday early afternoon (after chatting to family and friends via skype and watching our beloved Crows beat Collingwood in the AFL game played on Sunday!!!!) and found our friends Chris and Jim on their boat Sylph. We were on a mission to pick up our new centre ropes from the ropemakers so arranged to call back in for a drink on our way home. Which we did but enjoyed more than one drink and a lovely dinner before making the trek back to our waiting Celtic Maid.
Today we have been very busy completing some projects on the boat. Whilst Bron cleaned the interior, Bob fitted the engine bay insulation. Not sure if we told you but our boat only has a 800 watt inverter meaning that the use of a vacuum cleaner, microwave, hairdryer or straightener (amongst other taken for granted electrical items) is not possible. At all. Ever. So cleaning is very, very manual. And takes a long time for such a small area. And fortunately burns lots of calories!!!!
We are hoping that Bob’s huge job today will reduce the engine noise considerable making it more pleasant to cruise and lessen the need to communicate whilst in transit by yelling at each other!!!! We await the outcome with cautious optimism!!!!
Last week Bron completed her first craft project – porthole buns to both insulate in winter and keep the light out all year round for sleeping. They work a treat and we have both been getting better sleep and waking up much later. They look pretty good – from a distance but…….
As an aside – the Oxford canal is very narrow and the bridges which we pass under do not leave any room for error. Fortunately to date we have only had one small scrape, but it is amusing to see very eroded areas where many narrowboats over time have cut it just a bit too fine!!! I guess they have done their civic duty making the available space wider for the rest of us!!!!!
Many of you have asked for maps so that you can see where we are. We are in the process of working this out so hopefully by the next update your request will be granted!!!
Please check out the new photos in the gallery!!!!