Yesterday we had pressed on looking for a mooring. We were only half a mile short of the locks when we found somewhere to stop. We rarely moor up using mooring spikes these days. If the bank is hard, the noise and effort of knocking them in is unpleasant. If the bank is soft, they are liable to be pulled out by the movement caused by passing boats. One of our spikes had been pulled somewhat when we set off today.
We’ve never boated on the day of a state funeral before, so we didn’t know how many other boats to expect. The day started eerily quiet – not even any traffic noise. We could hear the sound of a church bell tolling repeatedly as we approached the first lock. I wondered if the picture window looking out on to the lock entrance was a holiday home.
At the flight of locks we discovered that there were many boats moving. We had to wait for boats coming the other way at most of them, and were also following at least two others through the flight. Clare was enjoying chatting with the folk coming the other way. At some locks she stayed behind me to help and continue the chat with the boat we had just met. Nobody seemed to be in much of a hurry, and it never held us up because we still had to wait for the boat ahead of us. I remembered that the plan is to maximise enjoyment rather than speed. I coasted and pulled the boat with the rope much more than usual.
Eventually we arrived at the marina where we again hoped to get the waste tank pumped out. Their website had been pretty vague about opening times on bank holidays, so we went to see. The sign on the pump out machine saying “Out of Order – Do NOT Use” wasn’t encouraging. Clare went to see if there was anyone in the office – no. She did spot recycling bins, so we took the chance to deposit weeks worth of glass and other recycling before we left. We’ll have to try another visit tomorrow.
I spotted what I thought was a strange bird. It turned out to be some swans that seemed intent on showing a pair of geese that they had the longer necks.
The village of Cropredy was not very far away. We moored up as soon as we found a decent spot (no spikes tonight!). We had just enough time to get to the cafe – the website said they were normally open until 2.30 and remain open today. The note on the door said they had closed at 11. The village itself is very pretty. There are many thatched roofs including one with a cat and a peacock.
On the way back we found that the village store was open, so we were able to expand our lunch options. Clare was unable to resist trying Banbury Cakes (nice – similar to Eccles Cakes). In the afternoon we had a slightly closer look at the village including a walk through the churchyard.