Saturday, March 17, 2018


What a difference a day makes.  Yesterday we were cruising back up form Banbury to Cropredy with the warm sun on our backs and then as we settled in for the evening we switched on the wireless to hear the 5 to 6 weather forecast on the Home Service.  It didn’t sound good for our necessary journey home next day – snow over the Chilterns, so we hastily changed plans and within an hour had re-winterised the boat, packed our bags and hit the road. Still we’ve had a lovely few days afloat to break our 2018 duck and Herbie seems in fine fettle so that’s good.

Since we’ve been stationed on the Oxford canal, I seem to have been more aware of the subtle changes in season, particularly as regards wild flowers and blossoms.  Maybe it’s because the canal largely keeps away from houses and gardens and the wildlife is allowed to do it’s own thing.  The majority of the canal passes through very old pasture land, unchanged for centuries probably like this meadow with it’s wonderful saw tooth edge where the rise and fall of ancient strip farming ridges and furrows meet the level water.


Emerging in the towpath grass yesterday we saw celandines, coltsfoot, speedwell, and by a lock paddle post a patch of teeny tiny white flowers which we later identified as probably shadflower or common whitlow grass, so small as to be easy to miss, but very pretty.  In a couple of weeks time, we’ll be seeing the blackthorn blossom I expect, and then the hawthorne and then . . and so on.

One thing that I’m pleased to say doesn’t seem to change so much is the old part of Banbury.  Yesterday as a rare treat, we strolled up to Wetherspoons for a cooked breakfast (probably the best thing ‘spoons does and it makes a change from my normal muesli and prunes – vegetarians look away now)


anyhow, next to us I noticed this photo from 1907 of Parsons Street in the town ( please excuse the reflections from the cover glass)


on the way back to the boat I took this next photo from the same spot.


Not much has changed in 110 years. Then on the other end of the old market square they’ve recently repainted this old building, faithfully reproducing the old advertising on the upper walls.  I fear there might have been an outcry had they not.


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