Thursday, 17 May 2007

“U” turns.

8 Locks, 91/ 2 miles, now moored at Cropredy.
Total of 292 locks and 3691/ 2 miles and 16 Tunnels since 5th Nov 2006

The weather had improved overnight and except for some light showers travelling conditions were greatly improved upon compared to yesterday.When James Brindley built this canal he must have had a thing about curves or he hated straight lines, I’m not sure which because this canal not only twists & turns but actually doubles back on itself in several places.

For instance at bridge 131 you cannot see if another boat is approaching from the opposite direction and after a hard pull around and under the bridge you are virtually facing back from where you have just come from albeit on the other side of the hill.

Not long after we set off we saw some BW workmen erecting a fence alongside a nice woodland or spinney as they call them over here. When we spoke to them we thought they were fencing off a private property because we had just seen an elaborate tree house in one of the trees. We were then informed that they were erecting the fence to try and stop people, presumably boaters from dumping their rubbish in there. Why are some people so hell bent on spoiling the country side with their litter. Laziness sums it up I suppose.
Along the way we have seen many old wooden hulled barges moored and most of them are really starting to show signs of age and fatigue but people are still managing to live on them. On the other hand we saw how wealthy some farmers around here must be with their big flash houses or a helicopter parked on the back lawn.
At least today we had more luck with the locks as there were as many boats coming up as going down so we only had 1 lock where we had to fill it before we could proceed.
As we have been travelling around we have seen a lot of rural properties which have been like going through a time machine backwards. Out buildings with toilets, a wash house with an old fashioned mangle outside the door or stables for the family horse with a hay loft above.
Some of them being so old that it makes you wonder what it has taken to upgrade them with running water, power, gas or sewage, things that we take for granted and yet may not have even been invented when the houses were built.
As we arrived in Cropredy we saw a canal side building development where 3 old sand stone barns were being converted into modern day apartments.
Today has been the first day for quite a while where we have arrived some where new and gone sight seeing after mooring up. The village is Olde English with a pub with a thatched roof along with a few other thatched houses. We visited the local church which is built of sand stone and probably 6/700 years old. Sadly it was in need of some serious repairs as there were signs that the roof was leaking, the tower clock had stopped and the bell tower had no bell pull ropes possibly because the tower was unsafe with heavy bells hanging up there.
The shopping centre, if you can call it one, has a Spar superette, a gift shop, a panel beater and car repair workshop and a car dealer where we found the immaculate Mini.

The paint work on it is what they call flip paint which changes colour, blue to green, according to the light. Apparently the car was stripped back to metal and completely re painted. Flip paint costs ₤100 per pint and the whole paint job cost ₤4000 so at the price tag the dealer had on it, the car was well worth the money.

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