Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Ups and downs - Herbie transfer cruise days 1 and 2

Wednesday evening - Day 2 of the cruise.

No photos today - signal too weak

Flippin ‘eck, it’s all ups and downs so far on our marina transfer cruise from Cropredy to Kings Bromley. 
Ups and downs mainly in altitude of course having climbed up Claydon flight and down Napton flight but
the weather has been up and down too, albeit mainly dry. and surprisingly warm in the main  Morning
sunshine and balmy skies have given way to vicious snatches of wind in the afternoon, none worse than
when we arrived at Calcutt where we are having some engine work done tomorrow.  What a palaver

We arrived at Calcutt top lock with the wind strongly pushing up our backside and tied up ready for a
night of being buffeted about.  I strolled into the boatyard office to say we’d arrived and ask where they
wanted Herbie in the morning and I confess my heart sank a bit when they asked us to move down into
the marina pool ready for the morning.  It’s not the three big locks you have to go down, it’s the windy
interim pounds and worst of all the narrow entrance to the marina. We know it of old - in strong wind
you just have to point the boat at the entrance channel and gun it, then be ready to do a sharp hand-
brake turn the other side to avoid crashing into the moored boats inside.  A man on a moored boat just
inside the entrance had a look on his face like Edvard Munch's scream as we approached. We didn't
hit him.

The wind, apart from being strong, was in precisely the wrong direction, pinning us to the towpath wall
upstream of each of the locks and meaning we had to manhandle the boat into each lock, scraping our
blacking on the concrete wall of the pounds. Any body watching would be forgiven for thinking that
going boating was not such a nice idea after all. We were all shouting instructions to each other than no-one
could hear because of the wind
It’s not often I think a bow thruster might be handy, but I confess I would have reached for the girlie
button if we had had one today. To say it was all quite stressful would not be an exaggeration. 
Anyhow we’re here now having performed a remarkably elegant about turn to back gently into our
mooring position - some things have to go right occasionally.

Otherwise it’s all been very pleasant.  We had a fond farewell at Cropredy, plenty of space to moor at
Fenny Compton and a good meal at the Wharf Inn along with Rick who had joined us there for 24 hours.
Coming down Napton locks today reminded me what a joy well maintained locks can be- a far cry from
some of the stiff and heavy paddle gear in the Banbury area.  Then we couldn’t of course pass by the Folly pub without paying our respects and lunched there on portions so big it nearly bust us.

One thing I must mention is the sterling work put in by CRT volunteers cutting back offside vegetation, particularly in the Fenny Tunnel area. It has made a huge difference and really opened up the area. Well done them.

Despite it being a mild winter, Herbie hasn’t come through it as well as usual.  Along with the dodgy
engine mount to be fixed here tomorrow and the collapsing stove to be replaced at Braunston on
Monday and the demolished tonneau cover to be replaced one day, we discovered yesterday that the
side hatch had been leaking all over our sofa bed, so we have damp / soggy foam and feather cushions
to deal with now and until we get the stove fixed it’ll be hard to get them properly dry.  Oh and our front
mooring rope has sustained a cut and needs re-splicing. Things can only get better folks.

If we get away from here tomorrow, we’ll be back on route and our next stop will be Flecknoe where we
will be joining Rick and Marilyn in an attempt not to come last in the quiz at the Olive Bush.

Stay tuned.

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