And so at last the voyage has begun.
After yesterday’s glum weather, ‘Futurest’ and I set off from Banbury at around 1130 this morning in beautiful conditions. Though there was no sign of it now, the very recent rain during the night sparkled on the bright paintwork as we set off northwards.
A whole host of Lesser Celandine line the canal for us
The departure time was delayed until then because I needed to find some coal as I was down to my last few shovel-fulls; not enough to see us through another night, if it became cold.
Most suppliers, like me, had been caught out by the earlier fine warm weather and had not renewed stocks, thinking coal wouldn’t be needed any more till the end of the year. However at Morrison’s Garage, though there was none on display, they had a small stock of household coal in 10 kg bags in the lock up behind, so I bought four of them at enormous expense and trundled them through the town, back to the ship on my little fold up sack truck, which due to over excessive use, is looking a bit wear worn these days. But it has been such a good friend to me over the time I’ve been living aboard.
How the lambs have grown since I was last this way
On leaving the mooring I called in briefly at Sovereign Narrowboats to top up with diesel at 88 pence a litre. Then with excited hearts we chugged off towards Hardwick Lock in pure brilliant sunshine.
The short passage to Cropredy was soon accomplished and on arrival at the water point to top up the fresh water, there was Mark the coal, diesel and gas man on ‘Dusty’. I bought a Calor gas and two bags of smokeless coal to make sure I was okay until the temperature starts to creep up again.
My roof top box, which Tooley’s repaired still needs an undercoat and a gloss and normally I would stock this well up on seeing the coal boat. But all my coal is now temporarily in the cratch looking very untidy until I can re-stow it above after the box has been painted. The coal also restricts my movement in this area so I need to keep stocks to a minimum for the time being. Hopefully I shan’t need any more coal.
Raindrops on the water
Though fluffy white cumulus cloud began to increase during the day, the Sun continued to shine faultlessly but as we we tied up just above Cropredy Lock at three o’clock a large black mass of cumulonimbus began to build ominously from the south west. But in the end its bark was bigger than its bite and it passed over us with just a few drops of rain falling only.
And now that we are all battened down for the night, I think I’ll pay ‘The Red Lion’ one last visit for this year.