Friday evening we arrived at Jannock carrying fish and chips collected from Smarts in Kidlington. We ate these and then loaded all our stuff onto the boat. I then parked that up before we started playing Soddit. We managed 4 games before calling it a night and retiring to the sound of heavy rain beating on the metal roof.
Brian got a nasty surprise at 08:00 as my phone, located at the rear of the boat, was still connected to the bluetooth handsfree kit in the lounge and he got a very loud wake-up ‘alls well’ text from the alarm system. A lazy start as it was still trying to rain but we were moving by 10am, up through the lift bridge and onto Thrupp Wharf for a water fill. Kate Saffin was moored next to the wharf and I also met Maffi for the first time as he came a calling on her whilst we were there.
<Ian> The resulting catch here was two (too?) small Perch. Much of this trip the canal and River Cherwell followed the same route. The river looked a much better option for fishing but being ‘out of season’ meant it was not allowed. </Ian>
On test from the Vale Brewery for this cruise was my firm favourite, Vale Pale Ale, and also their May monthly special ‘Brill Steam’. We managed to make quite a large hole in the stock during Friday evening and Saturday. We moored for the night just above Lower Heyford on the well kept visitor moorings there. A very nice peaceful setting for a slow roast beef dinner and more Soddit.
We had a lot more heavy rain during Saturday night but it cleared for Sunday morning. After breakfast we set off North and at Allens lock I put Jannock’s bows onto the lock landing to drop of the crew and then selected reverse to get back into the centre of the cut ready for the lock gate to open. I heard a metallic twang and discovered that the gearbox was now permanently in reverse due to the gear cable not functioning. I opened up the engine covers and stepped down onto the engine bearers from where I operated the gearbox by the selector arm and managed to steer back onto the lock landing again. We let another Northbound boat have the prepared lock, complete with willing crew to operate it, while I dismantled the Morse lever and re-fitted the gear selector cable to the operating lever. It was all done by the time the lock had been turned again and we continued on our way with only a 5-10 minute delay. Above Allens lock we past nb Virgo with Guy and Connie on board. They obviously noticed the name or Cutweb logo on the bows as they came rushing out for a chat. Shame I missed JPs birthday do at Napton last night ;^)
At Somerton deep lock, there was plenty of water leaking past the top gate and so I tried to hold Jannock back against the bottom gate to keep the front well dry. The eager crew of two Southbound dayboats whacked both paddles straight up so I didn’t stand a chance of keeping her there. A short whitewater ride later and the front fender was firmly planted against the top gate – thanks guys! We stopped for lunch, and another session of ‘non contact’ fishing, just above that lock where Ian prepared “I can’t believe it’s not Duck” to eat. After lunch, with a steadily increasing wind, we continued on until we reached our destination for the trip. I then fought that wind doing a car fetch on the Di Blasi.