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Another early start

We were up and away just after seven again this morning with the intention of getting through the narrow section that is all that remains of the old Fenny Compton tunnel before boat traffic started building up. We were successful and were on the approach to Claydon top lock an hour later. The air was cool as we travelled but the sun kept peeping through the clouds and bit by bit, the air warmed up for us. Our run down the five Claydon locks was swift and straightforward as they were all in our favour and there were no other boats around. We were assisted at one lock by a couple who were camping nearby and after that, we started to meet boats heading for the summit so our progress was improved. We had a vague notion to stop near the village of Cropredy for no other reason than it would leave us with a short-ish run into Banbury tomorrow but our plans had to be revised when a boater that we met, informed us that the annual Fairport Convention festival was starting and that there was mile after mile of moored boats in and around the village. She wasn’t wrong either so it was tickover all the way for about three miles or so. We decided to top up the water and by the time we reached the Cropredy service wharf, the Rose narrowboat that we had followed down through the village lock had winded and was taking on water too. We breasted up to it and while we waited, we chatted to the holiday makers on board. As they moved off, we moved in and started filling our own tank. In the meantime there was a steady stream of boaters with all sorts of water containers turning up to get water, all of them afraid to move their boats in case they lost their mooring. An hour had passed since  we had stopped but we were finally on our way again, passing the seemingly never ending line of narrowboats moored to the south of Cropredy. Along the way, we saw nb Derwent6 complete with crew, Del and Al. We used to read their blog when they wrote it and although we haven’t met them before, we had a brief conversation with them as we passed by. Suddenly, the line of boats ended and normality was restored, leaving us with just over an hour’s cruising to get to Banbury. We were a little concerned in case we wouldn’t be able to find a mooring but we needn’t have worried as Banbury was almost devoid of boats. We tied at the beginning of the visitor moorings adjacent to Spiceball park but we could have had the pick of spaces from here to the lift bridge at Castle Quay. We had a late lunch or maybe it was an early dinner but whatever it was, it wasn’t a pub meal! After we had eaten, we walked into Banbury and did a little bit of shopping before returning to Caxton’s mooring. We sat in the cratch for a while and relaxed as the aroma of bread and roasted coffee wafted on the breeze from the Fine Lady bakery and the Kenco factory respectively. We became aware of a strange noise coming from the trees on the other side of the canal and soon, Sue spotted where it was coming from – it was a squirrel! Now I can’t say that I’ve ever heard a squirrel make any sort of noise before but there was no doubt that this one was making itself heard. An internet search revealed that this could have been a young one calling for its mother, an adult calling for its mate or sometimes if they spot a predator, squirrels will make a noise to let the predator know that they have been spotted. After a while the squirrel moved off and the noise stopped, by that time the air had cooled down again so we retreated to the comfort of the lounge and settled in for the night.