... And now a series of short reports from our correspondents on the Oxford Canal.
Springwatch - by Humble Kate
Still very few signs of the breeding season. We have seen on clutch of tiny mallard chicks, two Aylesbury ducks sitting on nests, and earlier on the Thames, two families of Egyptian Geese with Ducklings (no, not goslings as I read somewhere that Egyptian Geese are ducks although I haven't a clue why). It's about time the coots got going. Somebody needs to have a word or they'll be late.
A fair few lambs gambol in the fields, although some farms seem to have set the old rams out a bit later than others. maybe the snow had something to do with it.
I'm a bit sketchy in the lepidoptery department, but I'm surprised to see so many butterflies about. Some that look they might be Brimstones, some Orange Tips, and this Peacock who kindly finally sat still for a millisecond while I snatched this picture.
Traffic report - by Fred Deadlock
Blimey, I'm not used to all this traffic. The canals are the opposite of the roads. Up here in the sticks there are boats everywhere and down near London, a moving boat was an event! Not only that, London boats are often pretty scruffy, so Herbie tended to look good in comparison. Now we're well down the pecking order with all these shiny ones about. As for hire boats, we've see more this week than in a year down south. Not all of them are dangerous, but one or two have had a good go at ramming us. Defensive driving strategies are the order of the day.
Weather report- by a lady in thosestrangely odd clothes that only weather reporters wear.
A ridge of low expectations, caused by the arrival of Rainman, has been pushed further north allowing remarkably fine weather over the Oxford canal this week.
Food and Drink - by our roving Camraman
Excellent reports are coming in about the Folly Inn at Napton bottom lock. Recently taken over by new people, this pub with a somewhat chequered history, now looks set to become a winner. At lunchtime yesterday we ate their beef rolls. Lots of lovely thick beef in ciabbata rolls with a dressed side salad and some very good chip, washed down by Old Rosie cider. Yum. The new landlord is a splendid fellow, sporting a fine handlebar moustache and appearing with out food wearing a buthchers stripey apron and a bowler hat.
In the interests of futher research we returned last night to sample their beer battered haloumi. The chips this time were little short of wonderful- quite the best I have ever eaten since we used to double fry our own back in the pre cholesteral days. The pub itself has a mildly eccentric selection of antique bric a brac to ponder over in lulls in th conversation, and although there is continuous music playing , it seems to be an eclectic selection and I thought, in the best of taste.
Lastly a caption competition
This scene on a hilltop somewhere in the Wormleighton wobbly bits, took our fancy. I can't help feling there's a good caption out there somewhere. Any ideas?