Wednesday 12th September
Graham set off at bbrrrrr o’clock and was soon working up through Sutton Stop lock onto the North Oxford canal. When I felt I could get up without frostbite I warmed up chocolatines for breakfast and got dressed ready to pick blackberries. We found some suitable off-side bushes near Nettle Hill bridge and so we held the boat to the bank with the boat hook and picked about 1 kilo of fruit quite quickly. This year, although we were passed by two boats during this operation, no one complained about Jannock being slightly skewiff on the cut. An American hirer declared our exploits as ‘awesome’. Awesome Jam it is then. Bush to jar in less than 1 hour.
Storecupboard challenge #10 – the jam making sugar was best before July 2010. Additionally, the dried vegetables I put into tonight’s lamb casserole were best before May 2011. The jam was excellent. The veggies were – well – dried veggies.
As we approached All Oaks Wood we followed a kingfisher down the cut for about 15 minutes. We called into Lime Kiln marina for diesel but John said they had run out. He was expecting a delivery today and it usually came first thing in the morning so he’d ring the supplier to find out exactly when it was due. We waited for about 15-20 minutes during which time another boat, who wanted gas, went on past because we were blocking the entrance. We got fed up waiting as time is short and John hadn’t returned to tell us what the oil suppliers said so we left and continued south.
Comong through Newbold 14 day moorings we met a northbound hireboat on a bend who immediately went into reverse and lost control of his front end so we had to stop smartish too. Brenda commented about all of the cans of Strongbow the crew were consuming and so a new superhero, Ciderman, was born. His task is to ensure world peace by going round saying “ I bloody love you!” to everyone he meets.
We made a slow ascent of Hillmorton locks as only one lock of each pair was in operation. Round the corner we met Brain and Diana on nb Harnser closely being followed by Ian and Ann Street on nb Copperkins. They told us that Ken and Claudia on nb Helmsman were waiting for our arrival in Braunston.
And today we had rain, it was mostly light and on and off all the way from Hillmorton to Braunston until we stopped at the sani-station for water and a pumpout when the heavens opened for the whole time it took to pumpout. Graham got a good soaking. It stayed raining heavily like that until Graham had moored Jannock in the space immediately outside the marina that Ken had thoughtfully reserved for us by parking his boat in it until we arrived when he moved back into his berth. Once tied up it stopped immediately and we had a lovely red sunset.
Hello’s to Mike and Christina nbs Draco and Success and Andrew nb Toulouse who we passed in Braunston but saw no-one aboard.