Recent Posts


It’s now four weeks since we moved on board permanently and three weeks since my birthday, the day that we cast off on our six month adventure.

We decided to move on a bit further on Friday so after a lazy start to the day, we got underway around ten and continued our journey south. After passing through Kings Sutton lock and watching the spire of the village church disappear gradually behind us, we reached the M40 for the third and final time. I would have lost count of the number of times that I have passed over here on the M40, that’s if I’d ever been bothered to keep count in the first place. This point marks what should be the half way point between the Basingstoke office and our home in Hinckley. I say should be because that journey used to take anywhere between two and four hours. I almost always remembered to look down at the Oxford canal and sometimes there might just be a boat passing under Coles lift bridge. On this day, the boat passing through was called Caxton, crewed by two happy and carefree individuals.

The strong breeze was quite welcome as it helped to keep us cool on yet another hot day. We did the next two locks and managed to cross at both with northbound boats, surprising really because they were the only boats that we had seen on the move. After two hours travelling, we reached Aynho wharf where we took on diesel and water. We were undecided as to where we wanted to go next but after noticing that there were a couple of spaces beyond the road bridge, we moved there and tied up. It’s a 48 hour mooring and there are rings which are perfectly spaced for us.

It was almost one o’clock by the time we had tied up, the wind had dropped and the temperature seemed higher than the actual 25 degrees that it really was. The nearby Great Western Arms looked very inviting so off we went and took shelter in its cool interior. Of course they don’t just let you go in and sit down, they expect you to buy stuff from them and since they only sell food and drink, we had to buy some of that. We’ve eaten here three or four times over the years and never been disappointed; today was no exception.

We returned to Caxton and sat in the cratch for a while, partially shaded from the sun but still in the fresh air. The mooring here is a bit of a trainspotter’s paradise. Two main lines run parallel to the canal, the furthest away being at a higher level than the nearest so it has been possible to see passenger and freight trains heading north towards Birmingham and south towards Oxford on one line and London Marylebone on the other. A few boats passed in both directions and this one turned up.

One man and his boat.

The skipper, Peter Cole, pulled up next to us and told us that had had the boat for thirteen years and Had owned a narrowboat for eleven before that. He and his wife had covered most of the system before she passed away and it was at that point that he had swapped his narrowboat for this dinky little craft. We discovered, and later watched the process that I am about to describe, that Peter drags the boat in and out of the water every time he goes out. The boat has oars but is electrically propelled and is powered by three 12 volt batteries. The boat has a detachable bow which makes the craft short enough to fit in the back of Peter’s Volvo estate car. He has a short ramp to aid getting the boat in and out of the car and there is enough room to store the batteries at the sides. There are a couple of holes in the back of the boat which Peter pushes the oars through and this ingeniously allows him to use  the oars like the handles on a wheelbarrow making the transition between car and ground and then ground and water, relatively easy. Peter is clearly well practised in the process which is a sort of Heath Robinson meets Thunderbirds affair, not bad for a seventy nine year old!