Dance Electric

We have been fortunate to have plenty of sunshine and having expected rain I had several lovely sunny walks up Wester Craiglockhart hill, into town and round Princes Street gardens and The Botanic Gardens as well as the epic walk back from the hospital along the Water of Leith (rather mixed weather there mind you!) Autumn is scattering her coloured skirts around and looking lovely.

Today though it was time to travel back down to the boat before it turns into a pumpkin (not a Halloween reference.. save that for later) or at least before we get an email saying we have stayed too long in Banbury. There was none of the lashing rain on the journey this time and only two trains in stead of four and even better I didn’t have toothache, so altogether a smoother journey. Though there was a bit of rain and shine out of the window as evidenced by the rainbow at Penrith, there were coats and clouds at Oxenholme station and mists on some fields. But it was all sunny by the time we reached Banbury.


Rainbow out of the train window

It was a shorter walk than I remembered to the canal and I was very pleased to see Bartimaeus again, not cobwebby this time. We got everything switched on and without further ado headed off for water. The engine roared into action, despite it having been idle for a fortnight. While Shane filled up I went to get some shopping in. He called directions to me as I was heading away across a bridge and a man on a bench must have overheard as he greeted me with a grin and ” Going for a Lidl explore?” Indeed!

I returned well stocked to see Shane had set the lock and opened the lock gates and was just about to cast off from the water point. By the time I had deposited the shopping, the ropes were off the bollards and he had a windlass in his hand. I thought I had better drive then though apparently he was offering it to me not claiming it. So far Shane had driven on diesel, but for locks we usually use electric. I was getting a flashing light about clutch slip. I tried shutting down and resetting but the bleeping and flashing continued and when I tried to switch to electric there was no power. There was still the light and sound display like a disco, as I sashayed in. Shane was concerned that there would be no reverse so I came in very slowly, but while electric didn’t work in either direction, diesel seemed to work fine, it just carries on flashing if you go dead slow.

Approaching lock from water point (the bollards by the bridge)

Reverse worked fine and while I had been driving in Shane went off to get a picture of a pirate sculpture. I didn’t know he had done that until later. I took a picture as the boat rose of one in a similar style. If I remember rightly they are part of a project with people with learning disabilities as we saw them before.

I hadn’t noticed him photographing pirates but I did see him taking pictures at the other end of the lock. We have been here before but going in the other direction. Once it was full Shane opened the gates but as I drove out he waved at me to take care. He had noticed a plate for Bartimaeus to rest his nose as we rose. As Shane opened the gate he saw a protrusion that looked perfect for scraping if you didn’t know it was there. He thought it was part of the plate but it seems to be just at the gate side. Perhaps he was even more concerned that the light and sound display from the controller might distract me. I got safely out and a passing man complimented my driving – perhaps he had seen others caught out! He advised that there was a boatyard nearby when I informed him I was having slight engine trouble.


There was a lift bridge straight after for Shane to work and I managed to get the alerts to stop while I drove under it, through a few moored boats to a space that Shane indicated. We hadn’t come far but already it felt like we had fitted in a few adventures. Even mooring at an easy spot had a slight delay when I realised the back rope had been cast off the water bollard but not untied so it was still knotted and attached to the wrong side. If I had spotted that earlier I might have sorted that out in the lock. Anyway we are happily moored and we have had a little look in the engine compartment. Power is reaching the electric motor but it isn’t turning the propeller. Shane thinks it is the belt to blame but further investigation will be required and he has had the manual out this evening. At any rate we enjoyed the unusual background noise of a game of table tennis while the sun set.

Banbury centre sunset.