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Ne’er cast a clout ’til May is out – too true

Last night’s mooring was great, very quiet and peaceful. When we awoke this morning it was raining again but according to the BBC the rain would give way to white cloud by eight o’clock and that would last until evening time. We decided to get up and go, destination Cropredy. We were on our way by 9:15am and heading for Claydon top lock. The rain drizzled down on us all of the way down the hill, it didn’t get too heavy but it didn’t go away either. The locks on this side of the summit leak badly so even when we had passed boats coming up, we usually had to fill each chamber. We were fortunate in meeting boats at a couple of locks which made life easier but generally we were on our own.

The Cropredy area was much easier to deal with by comparison to last August when we passed through and the music festival was on. The village moorings were mostly empty when we arrived and we easily found a space for Caxton. Sue quickly produced a couple of steaming bowls of home made vegetable soup – how does she manage this while we are travelling and locking???

After lunch, the rain eased off so we went for a walk around the village. We popped into the Red Lion and then the Brasenose Arms, both establishments passing muster. After calling into the canalside shop for a few essentials we walked back up the towpath and returned to Caxton.

Prior to leaving the boat I had lit the fire because there was just a feeling of dampness creeping in. On our return the cabin was lovely, warm and most importantly, dry feeling.

The soup had done its trick and kept us feeling full so we just had a sandwich each for dinner and called it a day.

Napton to Claydon

As expected it rained all day on Wednesday, well until 6:30pm anyway.  In contrast, we awoke to a bright sunlit morning this morning – oh how quickly the sunshine lifts the spirits. At 7am I walked to the village shop to buy some potatoes and butter and when I returned, there was already some activity around the bottom lock. NB Oakapple had just entered the chamber from above. We haven’t seen Richard & Sharon since we passed them near Hawkesbury in September 2014 . I had a brief chat with them both before once again, we went in opposite directions.

After returning to Caxton, we made our final preparations and set off. It was a glorious morning and ideal for locking, we just took our time and two hours later we had ascended the eight locks and tied up at Marson Doles for water. We had to tie on the lock landing because there was a CaRT boat tied on the water point but with so little traffic it wasn’t a problem.

As we were filling with water, nb Aileen Rose approached so I grabbed a windlass and helped them into the lock at Marston Doles. We were lock buddies in 2013 so it was good to see them again too.

Once we had filled with water, we were on our way across the lonely summit once again. We passed a few boats along the way but generally it was a quiet passage.

The sun continued to shine as we made our way towards Fenny Compton and we had hoped to find a mooring space there, however it was not to be and we had to pass through. An hour later and we found a place to tie up just above Claydon top lock. Sue had been preparing dinner along the way as well as baking oatcakes and making mackerel pate (how does she do that and still manage eight locks?) . So when we tied up, we ate and afterwards went for a walk into Claydon village. There’s nothing there except the church, the bygones museum closed a few years ago so it appears to be yet another “dormitory ” village in rural England.

We returned to Caxton after our circular walk of around three miles. Rain started falling about 7pm and it has continued ever since. Tomorrow’s forecast is for yet more rain so we’ll decide on our course of action ( or in-action) in the morning.