Friday, February 24, 2006

Heading south

We are travelling south on the Oxford Canal and have arrived at Banbury. On the way we stopped at Napton, Claydon and Cropredy. Slow n easy just waiting for the locks to open back at Braunston. BW are installing 'back pumps' which will pump the water up 36 feet to the top of the flight of 6 locks. Should be open again by the middle of March when we plan to go east this year.

Braunston works

The 9 locks between Napton and Marston Doles got us up to the summit. These were the first flight of locks seen since before Christmas last year. We tackled them together with No Problem helping each other with the paddles and gates. Next day we continued on and on past Fenny Compton and down the Claydon set of 5 locks and stopped near the bottom lock. Both boats moored on a good edge where a gap in the trees enabled our satellite reception. On the way we noticed that an old wreck of a wooden converted 'butty' called 'African Queen' had sunk. Then we moved down to Cropredy. With the lack of rain this winter the river Cherwell was very low. Remembering that back in December 2002 it was flooding over the road and into the fields. While Sue n Vic entertained their visitors I spent the time making a wooden base for our satellite dish and solar panel during four lovely warm sunny days.

After that we moved on into Banbury. It was a Saturday and the centre was full of boats and shoppers. While the girls went off to the shops the guys stayed on guard. It is a sad fact that some members of the public will show a lack of respect. Later in the week we noticed that the centre was empty of boats. The winter moorings and residential boaters had been moved out. Apparently the shoppers complained about their washing and smelly smoking fires. We stayed down by the wood yard just out of town near Morrisons.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Limited hours, Limited service

I had applied for a Gold Licence by post and after a month the licence failed to arrive. So our boat is not displaying a licence because it had to be returned. When in Braunston on a Friday I called into the one day a week open BW office. My application was sent to the Watford office but could not be found. Despite their wonderful computer system they were not able to issue a licence at Braunston. So I was obliged to reapply with all the paper work that applies. I tried the Waterscape web site but that could not handle Direct Debit arrangements. We need the licence to travel on the rivers this year.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Solar Panel

Have had a 'Solara M. Series' semi flexible panel, which claims to be 40Wp, on the roof for a few weeks now. It is about 2 ft. 6 in. by 1 ft. 6 in. and were amazed to find that its regulator indicated a charge from sunrise to sunset even when cloudy. Boat batteries are usually at their lowest in the morning and I was in the habit of running the engine for about 2 hours and a further hour in the evening before 8 o'clock. I now find that there is no need to run the engine in the morning as the voltage is generally higher than before. 2 hours in the evening seems to be enough for the lights and TV. In order to run the lights and TV in the evening you need enough battery capacity to store the power. You can generate and store the power with more panels during the day. Get it right and you wont need to run the engine! But then you wont have hot water!


Got to Braunston and stayed a week. The ice came and went regularly. Sue n Vic headed off to Calcutt and Napton for an appointment with the boat yard. Our friends Mary & Ray came up in their 'campervan' and stayed in the marina car park. We all got on the bus into Daventry to shop and see the dentist. Those two days were warm and sunny and we enjoyed catching up with their news from back home.

Then we visited Bob & Jane on 'Hobo'. Bob was pleased to see Molly again. Jane told us about Mr. Finch a known criminal who keeps on breaking into narrowboats. He was fished out of the canal in a drunken state and promptly arrested and is now back in jail for two years.


On a day when the ice had cleared we moved through Braunston and turned. On the way we saw a familiar boat called 'More To Life'. The owners have changed the spelling of the name and as we passed greeted us with a cheerful wave. Then we got some more diesel from Ivor on 'Mountbatten' before mooring up for another night.

On our way out to Napton a boater enquired if our boat was painted differently on the other side. I explained that another boat with a similar name was in Braunston and that it was our first boat. Many boaters say to us that they have seen us often where we have not been!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A long cold stretch

The north end of the Oxford canal is very remote and exposed, passing a golf course and open fields. Once past Ansty the railway is very close following the canal all the way to Stretton Stop where Rose Narrowboats operate. Next through All Oaks Wood which is quite bleak at this time of year. On through the illuminated Newbold Tunnel and stopped just past the water point and the 'Barley Mow' pub. 12 miles done in 3 hours, one of our longest travelling days this winter. "Get inside for a warming cup of tea".

The next day our friends on No Problem found that their engine would not start so we towed them to Brownsover. An engineer arrived to replace the starter motor. After shopping we continued to our journey up the locks at Hillmorton.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

No Problem being towed

Just a quick Blog to show the bow end of No Problem.  See


through bridge

Coventry Basin

We arrived end of January and squeezed under the low Bridge No. 1. The original Wharf buildings are fully restored and now used by the artists of Coventry. Plenty of room here for at least ten narrow boats. The general public have access by a bridge over the ring road but only the local residents come by. So it is very quiet and secure. The Rangers provided information and a map of the city. The canal on the way in was deep and clear and had far less rubbish than we saw back in 2001.

Basin 1

The location is north of the city and just a mile from the centre. A bus and coach station, Motor museum, the Cathedral and the hospital are all within about ten minutes walking. Plenty of big shops are here including Sainsbury's. So all in all a great place to stay for a couple of nights once you have travelled the 5 miles down the canal through the old industrial heart of Coventry which is considered to be the birthplace of the British motor car industry.

Bridge 1