Saturday 16 July. 10 miles, 12 locks.
Moved off in time to moored up at the pump as they opened at 1000. 80 litres of diesel and a few knick knacks later we were on our way. pulled in at Cropredy for a late lunch on the boat. Walked into the village for an icecream, checked out the church and antique store. Cropredy is known for its music festival which is in about 3 weeks. Not sure if we want to participate as have heard stories of boats 3 to 4 deep leaving barely room for boats to transit over that weekend. Moving on we arrive at Banbury and Diana is sent ahead to see if there is a spot. She finds a mooring in the centre of town next to Castle Quay shopping centre. Had the potential to be a bit noise as we were partly under a pedestrian bridge. Turned out to be a very quiet night.
Sunday 17 July. 440yds, 1 lock.
Off in the morning to stock up with food. Found a Tesco local with limited choice and they told us where the Morrisons was. Did a good sized shop, including Vogels bread and lugged it all back to the boat. Back into town again for lunch and check out the buildings including " Banbury Cross". We needed to catch up on the washing and moved out of town to run the generator. Moored up in an industrial area. Nice and quiet till 7 in the morning. we were next to an Iron foundry.
Monday 18 July. 6 miles, 4 locks
Walked back the 440yds into town so Diana could buy some makeup at a very good price and I had a haircut at OAP rates. Lunch was a coffee and pastry before back on the boat and heading off. Turns out we had moored up almost in Morrisons car park so we could have avoided the heavy load yesterday. The temperature was in the mid 30's so stopped for a break at Twyford Wharf. Then we probably made a bad decision and walked over a mile into Kings Sutton. We were joined by a local lass, Naomi, who gave us good information about and what to visit. We followed her to her place where we were invited in for a drink. A pint or two of water later we were once again feeling like exploring. spent nearly an hour looking around at the Church, thatched cottages and stone buildings before buying an ice cream and taking the walk back to the boat. It is now early evening and a bit cooler so put in another 3 miles and 3 locks before stopping for the night.
Tuesday 19 July. 5 1/4 miles, 3 locks, 1 lift bridge.
Another hot day so away a bit earlier cruising down pleasant countryside until we reach the lift bridge. A good basic bridge, well balanced so all you need to do is pull on the chain and it will open. The chain was installed by someone of 6ft stature. Diana can't reach the chain. A bit of problem solving to be done. I nose the boat into the bridge and climb off the front with a throwing rope to pull it down. Don't need to use the rope as I can reach the chain and open the bridge with Diana sitting on the arm to keep it open. Lucky 2 other boats turn up so Diana gives up her sitting duties, gets back on the boat and off we go. We will see what happens on the way back. About 1300 we need a break and eventually find a small bit of shade that will get bigger as the sun moves around. A pleasant lunch and after 4 hours the area of shade is a lot bigger, we are a bit cooler so move on. Around the next corner is a lock and a lovely shady spot so that's it for the day. Walk into the village of Upper Heyford where there is, surprise, a nice church, thatched cottages , stone buildings of various ages etc. Talk to a local in his garden and told we need to visit the pub. Great idea as we need a drink. Stay for diner and back to the boat in the shade.
Wednesday 20 July. 8 miles, 5 locks.
Set off stopping at Lower Heyford for water. The canal is still much the same wandering around the contours with open farm land and hedge rows, occasional bushy sections to give us shade. Another hot day. We pull in beside a disused quarry as Rachel had sent us some information on face book about Jane's amazing tea gardens. It only opens 4 days a month and today is not one of those. After a bit of a trek we find the place. Talked to Jane's partner, although be wouldn't admit to it. Nothing special to us, more a hippy type set up and a very small garden. The trek back was a different route and we went through the old quarry which is now a nature park. Interesting mix of rugged rocks and re-generating flowers etc. Lunch on board then off again finishing the day on the approaches to Thrupp. Walk down the path and end up at the pub for a drink before back to the boat for dinner. Looking at going into Oxford tomorrow.
Thursday 21 July. 880yds, 1 lift bridge
Pretty hot overnight so didn't sleep that well and didn't get up early. Talked to the lady on the boat behind and she suggested we take in the Church at Shipton-on-Cherwell. Again a nice church but nothing spectacular. Had a noisey around what is a small village and found a couple of large houses. Later in the day we are told that is where Richard Branston used to live. Moved off around midday and stopped in Thrupp for water and a pump out. Went through the lift bridge and moored up for lunch. There is a well patronised tea rooms here so would have been rude not to go there for lunch. We have run out of internet at the moment so this was an opportunity to use there wifi and catch up. Later in the day we are told about the ruins of Hampton Gay Manor. They are in a farmers paddock with keep out signs all around but we know that they don't apply to Kiwi's. Can't be bothered moving again so a pint to cool off before diner on the boat seems like a good way to end the day. Oxford tomorrow?