It was cool in the boat so on went the rads to warm up while the engine charged the batteries. We wondered how much diesel we had in the tank. Ann found a ready made dipstick which indicated more than half full, that should be enough for the trip. There was not much water in the tank up front when we dipped our own stick in. We had decided to use a couple of jerry cans for water. At the end of the trip it has to be all pumped out for the winter months.
Next day we took the car up to Cropredy marina and got a taxi back. That plan went well in the warm comfortable taxi. Our first problem was getting the boat away from the boat yard mooring! There were so many boats in the way. It took a gradual process of push an shove to get us on our way.
Ann at Allen's Lock
The lift bridges down this way presented the next problem. Many had blown down in the wind. Normally held up with chains anchored to the ground. The chains had broken and were too short to reach. I was obliged to fetch the boat hook to reach up to the chain. By now the wind and rain was testing our resolve to carry on. Then we entered that deep lock at Somerton. Ann was doing her best to shut the large single heavy bottom gate. I had to use the boat hook to help prise the gate shut while down on the boat. It was quite a struggle.
This was Hell on earth but we battled on determined to get at least half way just past Nell Bridge. At least the wind had calmed down and there was some blue sky. We were cold, wet and tired. On again with the rads to get warm n dry. We consumed one of those handy ready meals, what joy!
On Tuesday we set off after breakfast under a cloudy sky. Please don't rain. There were two more locks before Banbury with those heavy single bottom gates and one of them demanded the use of our boat hook again.
Chas at Slat Mill Lock
We met Maffi in Banbury and he kindly lifted the bridge for us. He is the first boater we know to see our Moore to Life. Thanks to him for lending us a third mooring rope.
Continuing on to Cropredy was relatively uneventful. Once in the marina we got the diesel tank filled for the winter months. They had kept our original mooring empty for us and we moved the boat there and tied up.
Next day it took a while to shut all the boat systems down for winter. The water tank pumped out in ten minutes so it was just as well we had those jerry cans! I plugged in the land line and were thankful that the charger put energy back in the batteries! After packing the car, emptying the cassette, turning off the gas and electric we were on our way home.
Happy Christmas to all our readers.