Tuesday 26th May 2015
Janis needed to return to Newark this week so I am looking after the boats once more and making the best of my time while she is away. When she is here I always feel awkward that, when quite happily she goes off for a walk on her own, leaving me to my writing, I feel guilty that I should be exercising too and that really I’m using this blog as nothing more than an excuse for idleness. But while she is away in some other town or city I feel okay; for neither she nor anyone else knows how I’m spending my time anyway; and the writing is important too.
Leaving Allens Lock at Upper Heyford
Grazing sheep near the 15th Century barn at Upper Heyford
It is beautiful here, deep in the Cherwell Valley, though this is not quite the right representation, since its lush green hills slope up too quietly and gently on both sides of us to qualify for this. Rather ….. because of the shallowness of the land otherwise implied in the explanation …. ‘buried’ is a more suitable notation to use I think. This verb is better than ‘submerged’, which I was tempted to use, but it suggests that we might be sunk in the canal, which we are most definitely not. However I’m seeking an appropriate meaning somewhere in between to indicate that we are warm and well loved, engulfed here on the South Oxford Canal that runs along the middle of the low valley, safe in the arms of Mother Nature.
The Meadow Buttercup
The Sunshine is beautiful, the warm air fragrant with the bouquet of wild flowers all around and the wildlife happily resume their Springtime family duties, while I sit here quietly watching and listening in rapturous wonderment at it all. In the simple repetition each year nothing is ever forgotten or is missed and Evolution carries on despite the frantic and so important comings and goings of Mankind to ensure his own separate and selfish, shallow existence and happiness.
A contented family of Mallards
Lower Heyford nestling in the trees in the shallow valley
Watering sheep (or praying maybe?)
After that small piece of philosophical meandering and perhaps guilt has overcome me after all, I needed to take a walk so I put the computer into hibernation and set off to make the most of the weather ….. just in case.
Running parallel to the canal here is a railway line and conveniently situated, adjacent to the towpath is Heyford Railway Station; ideal as one method for getting either way into Oxford or Banbury. Over the other side of the station is a busy country road that runs up the hill for about a mile till it reaches the A423 main road that runs parallel to the valley. At this junction I had been told there was a bus stop which could also be used for both destinations. I decided to investigate.
The Swan’s Nest
I have just returned. It was good exercise but otherwise the journey was completely fruitless since there was no sign of any bus stop in the near vicinity of the cross roads. An enquiry at the petrol station there and also at the ‘Hopcroft’s Holt’ Hotel were both ineffectual since the attendants were both foreign immigrants and unfamiliar with the area.
So I have returned happy with the walk if nothing else and full of self righteousness at having done the two miles and can now happily resume my writing.
Yesterday I took the fifteen minute ride on the train to Banbury to do some shopping and whilst there I met my friend Ann, who lives in town, for lunch at a delightful restaurant called ‘Pinto’s Bar’, where we were able to enjoy a good main course and a glass of Pinot white wine. Afterwards we returned to her flat for a cup of tea before I walked along the tow path to Morrison’s for well needed victuals. Then, prior to catching the train back to Heyford, I decided to live extravagantly and had my hair cut at the barber’s on the bridge for a fiver.
What another good day it all was.
Here at Lower Heyford we are tied up at the fourteen day moorings so when Janis returns aboard on Wednesday next we shall be well within our mooring limits before we move off on our adventure southwards.
Wednesday 27th May 2015
I am having trouble posting this blog.
Early in our stay here I discovered that there is very little phone and no internet connection whatsoever along the towpath and up in the village the situation is no better. I tried at the ‘Bell’ thinking I would probably find a good Wi-Fi connection there and though they did have one, I was unable to get on line. So this morning I went into ‘Kizzies’, the Bistro at the narrow boat hirers for coffee and actually managed to connect to the internet to receive my emails. However I was still unable to transmit the blog.
So we’ll continue to wait patiently and try Oxford tomorrow when I go there on the train. I should be able to get it away then I think.
Ah! You cannot imagine the troubles of a narrowboatman.