The glorious weather remains wonderful and heart warming and since on Tuesday I had an appointment with the nurse at the Surgery at Cropredy for blood samples that, as part of my annual ‘MOT’, will indicate whether all my bits are working correctly, on Sunday I decided to take ‘Futurest’ there as well, to give her a run. I still have suspect oil and diesel leaks so needed to test everything whilst under pressure.
The Red Lion at Cropredy
The wonderful weather continued and the two and a half hour run north was most exhilarating. It became so warm that I was very soon stripped down to my tee shirt and straw hat (don’t be silly! With trousers on of course!) and Nature appeared to be luxuriating in the warmth as well.
A good year for Primroses; these on the bank by Cropredy Lock
Arriving later on Sunday afternoon gave me plenty of time until we left again earlier today to cheer us both up with a bit of painting. The scarred roof around the engine roof hatch had badly needed sorting out for a long time and now we had the weather to do it. It really needed stripping back to the steel work but without 240 volts this was impracticable, so a good touch up with the Oxide primer and then a couple of coats of red raddle paint on top of everything improved the look of the boat immediately. The old Merchant Navy saying that a good coat of gloss covers a multitude of sins was certainly relevant in this case. Luckily the paint was dry before the sharp frost settled on it overnight otherwise all my efforts could have been ruined.
The red roof before painting
While in the mood for painting (or touching up anyway) I also tarted up the Oxford Blue sheer strake, above the blacking, all the way along the starboard side which was against the towpath and it is amazing what one can accomplish with Poundland paintbrushes and small roller sets. It looks a treat down that side now so when we arrived in Banbury this afternoon, I made sure I was moored port side to, so that I can repeat the performance down this side.
Frost on the new paintwork
On my walkabout around the pretty village of Cropredy I went to see what remained of the beautifully ancient and thatched Red Lion, which I had heard had been forced to close about a month ago; in a way it was a kind of pilgrimage. I was disappointed that of the two pubs in Cropredy it had been this one that had become a victim of the current economic climate. To many boaters over the years the Red Lion has been almost a shrine, as the pub which Tom Rolt had visited on his honeymoon in 1939 on ‘Cressy’.
Also a good year for Magnolias
It was still there as beautiful as ever in the bright sunshine and to my utter joy and surprise it was open for business. I went inside and ordered a pint of ‘Hooky’ Bitter and met the new landlord Chris and his lady who have taken over the licence and have been there for the last three weeks only. This was splendid news and after only the one pint I returned to the ship but not before promising to return before I left for a meal. This I did on Tuesday night and enjoyed a superb beer battered fish and chips (not too many… just right) garnished with posh salad and peas. I finished up with apple pie and custard and in the end two pints of Hooky Bitter made me feel nice and relaxed.
A leafy footpath up to the church
The passage back to Banbury today was equally as sunny, warm and full of contentment. There was no breeze except that made by the ship’s gentle movement through the water and not a cloud interfered with the perfect light blue sky above. Off went my coat and shirt again, for it had been quite chilly earlier after another very evident frost during the night and on went my straw hat. I took my time with the three locks and of course ‘Futurest’ was at her impeccable best.
Taking on fresh water at Cropredy