After moving the car to Marston Doles Bridge, walking back and filling our water tank, we left Fenny Compton around 2pm with Luke as crew. This, as it turned out, was about an hour too late. The James Brindley designed Oxford is a contour hugging, meandering waterway; there are several horseshoe bends and one place where, as you go round a bend to your right, the bridge you are going to go under in half an hour is across a field to your left!
Brampton Community Band and free chips. Oh Yes, it’s all exciting stuff!
The central heating is back together and working better than it has ever done. Why it was put together like that God alone knows. Other good boat stuff: Dave’s got a new toy.
Log Grenade. That’s some well-seasoned oak that we picked up a while ago and nothing else would touch it. We went up to Whaley Bridge and got a new pair of fenders from Brian and Ann Marie who own and work NB Alton, trading as The Peak Forest Canal Carrying Company / Renaissance. We first met these guys through the 2CV club and they’ve been a very big step on our road to being boaters, they gave us loads of advice and even had us to stay for a couple of days on their coal run along the Trent and Mersey. We lock-wheeled Heartbreak Hill and sat on the coal through Harecastle Tunnel. Good times.
This is what the Napton Flight looks like without any water.
Note the new lock gate. It'll be nice when it's painted.
We had a day of mixed emotion last Monday; we attended the funeral of one of Ann-Marie’s former work colleagues. Helen was well known in the tight knit farming community in South Lincolnshire and the little church was overflowing with relatives, friends and co-workers. Afterwards, at the reception, was the first time we’d seen anyone from the farm since we sold the house, so although it was a sad occasion, it was lovely to catch up, however briefly, with people who were part of our lives when we lived there. We came away feeling ashamed that it took a funeral to get us back in touch. Such is the way of things; Dave used to say that his relatives only ever saw him when he was wearing a suit. Our main reason for taking our chosen path is to spend more time with the people who are important to us. We must make more of an effort.